This week's schedules and results for the top 10 teams (RPI here, all numbers through Saturday's games).
1. Carleton (17-0 OUA, 23-0 CIS, RPI #5, SRS +23.7) — W 90-48 vs. York, W 109-74 vs. Laurentian
Laurentian's Alex Ratte has developed a habit of saving some big games for his toughest opponents. He's scored 28 points against both Lakehead and Laurier, and then posted a career-high 32 on 13/25 shooting against Carleton on Saturday. That's a pretty good game, and just enough to keep the Voyageurs within 40 points of the Carletons, who should be re-named the flying three-point death machine. The FTPDMs shot 16/29 from beyond the arc in their win over Laurentian, a night after making a meagre nine of them in a 90-48 win over York.
Only three teams take more threes per game than Carleton, and nobody makes them at a better rate. Once again, FTPDMs.
2. Lakehead (12-2 OUA, 20-2 CIS, RPI #3, SRS +13.0) — W 87-83 vs. Windsor, W 85-79 vs. Windsor
Two great wins for Lakehead this weekend at Windsor. There might not be a worse matchup for the Thunderwolves (Okay, non-Carleton division) with Windsor being perhaps the only team that can match (or maybe surpass) Lakehead's athleticism.
Ben Johnson, who's gone from off-the-bench shooter to a go-to option in Thunder Bay, made 9/12 threes in Saturday's 95-79. Nine! He knocked down more threes than a lumberjack with a lisp, saw more triples than third base, dropped more treys than a clumsy waiter etc. etc.
3. UBC (10-2 CW, 16-3 CIS, RPI #8, SRS +12.6) — W 77-43 vs. UBC-Okanagan W 78-48 vs. UBC-Okanagan
Two games against UBC-Okanagan means two games to get the bench involved, and more importantly, to give the starters some rest for the Thunderbirds. Only one of UBC's regular bench players (Malcolm Williams) plays more than 16 minutes a game, and only one starter (Tommy Nixon) played more than 30 minutes in either game vs. UBC-O, both 30+ point blowouts.
That's eight wins in a row for UBC, who are looking more and more like the efficient teams we've seen in blue and white over the past few years.
4. StFX (7-3 AUS, 17-3 CIS, RPI #1, SRS +7.4) — L 79-68 vs. Dal
Let the RPI haters have at it: the no. 1 team by that metric is now just 4-3 in 2012, the latest loss coming today at Dalhousie. Even though they held their opponents below 40 per cent shooting, X let the Tigers grab 25 offensive rebounds. That kind of glass control is going to surrender too many easy shots for the opponents, and too many (more) shots at Rob's besieged statistic.
5. Saskatchewan (10-4 CW, 14-5 CIS, RPI #2, SRS +13.5) — W 92-70 vs. Brandon, W 89-70 vs. Brandon
Whoever drafted Michael Lieffers in the MUBL (I think it's Mr. Andrew Bucholtz) is a happy dude after the Huskies' big man went 10/12 for 23 points with 13 rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in Saturday night's 89-70 win over Brandon.
Lieffers' big play is going to be crucial as the Dogs move on without the injured Nolan Brudehl. He's now shooting 57 per cent on the year and Saskatchewan has won five in a row.
6. Laurier (12-2 OUA, 18-6 CIS, RPI #10, SRS +11.7) — W 89-55 vs. Brock, W 89-73 vs. Western
Laurier's efficient offence and stout defence kept them chugging along this weekend as they handled Brock and Western with ease. They're keeping turnovers down, crashing the offensive boards and getting to the free throw line regularly. Those are all marks of a good, physically strong basketball team, something Laurier is beginning to make its calling card.
7. Alberta (10-4 CW, 11-6 CIS, RPI #3, SRS +8.3) — L 67-66 vs. Calgary, L 79-64 vs. Calgary
Speaking of highly-ranked RPI teams about to take a hit… Well, at least the Golden Bears got a chance to witness history, as Boris Bakovic became (unofficially) the all-time leading CIS scorer in a 67-66 Dinos win.
In that first game, Alberta lost despite getting what it needed from Jordan Baker and Daniel Ferguson - 48 points on 18/39 shooting. In their 79-64 loss the following night? Just 24 points on 10/28. The fact that they lost despite getting a lot out of their big bruins is bad. The fact that they can both have a brutal night when they need a win might be worse.
8. Concordia (8-1 QUBL, 15-5 CIS, RPI #7, SRS +4.9) — W 75-67 vs. Bishop's, L 73-67 vs. McGill
Hey! A notable game in Concordia's regular season schedule! A 73-67 loss to McGill was thanks to stinker from Kyle Desmarais, Decee Krah and Evens Laroche. The three-headed, basketball-playing hornet type thing went a combined 13/42, while Concordia shot just 32 per cent overall.
Now, this was on the second night of a back-to-back, so they get a bit of a pass there. But one more loss, and we might have a conference.
9. Victoria (11-3 CW, 12-5 CIS, RPI #9, SRS +10.6) —
Week off to enjoy the mild weather (and hopefully norovirus-free) Victoria winter. They'll pick it up against UBC-Okanagan again next weekend.
10. UFV (10-5 CW, 14-5 CIS, RPI #12, SRS +6.3) — W 88-72 vs. TWU
Got a nice win over a surging TWU team thanks to 13/13 free-throw shooting night from Joel Friesen. Winners of three in a row, the Cascades will get a chance to prove their mettle as they host UBC for two this coming weekend.
In other news..
Chris Oliver has a new challenger for best Twitter account, OUA basketball coaching legend and McMaster alumnus division. Joe Raso has taken to the Twitterverse, and his mix of basketball coaching advice and insider terminology is worth a follow.