Five to Ponder: Good weekend to be a Bears fan

Our third weekly look at the best upcoming games.

See the first post for the details. (* denotes an if-necessary third game in a best-of-3.)

5. Men's basketball: UBC at Alberta
Game score: 77.8
Fri 7:00pm MT / Sat 7:00pm MT / Sun 3:00pm MT*

With how the playoffs are set up, one of these very good teams can't make the Final 8 now. But with five Canada West teams among the top 8 nationwide in SRS, at least one of them had to be eliminated before the CW Final Four. (Can we put the loser of this game in the QUBL semifinals?)

The only game these teams have played this year went to overtime, and given how close these teams are, that wouldn't be a surprise if it happened again.

Trying to find a statistical edge for either team is right difficult. About the only things setting them apart, overall, are that the T-Birds have actually outfouled their opponents, and they're generally less reliant on one or two big scorers. But really, it's very close. Should be an excellent series.

4. Men's hockey: Lakehead at Windsor (Game 1)
Game score: 79.5
Wed 7:30pm ET

Lakehead's home-ice advantage brings this down to a 73.5 for the game(s) in Thunder Bay, but the Lancers, winners of eight straight, have a fighting chance in Game 1. This is also the most evenly-matched game on the schedule this week (ignoring team quality, though neither team here is bad).

3. Men's volleyball: Manitoba vs. Alberta
Game score: 79.7
Fri 6:00pm PT

It's kind of a shame that the Canada West Final Four is a non-elimination tournament. Oh, sure, each team wants to win the conference title (and presumably receive a higher seed next week in Kingston) but as we saw with men's basketball last year, losing a conference championship doesn't really hurt you much at all.

In any case, this is the best volleyball game that we're guaranteed to see this weekend. (You can probably guess what the best potential game is.)

2. Men's hockey: Carleton at UQTR (Games 1 and 3)
Game score: 79.8
Wed 7:00pm ET / Sun 8:00pm ET*

Again, the games at Carleton are scored lower (but not by much, at 74) since the Ravens rank as the better team.

These teams sort of split their season series (two Carleton wins, one UQTR win, one UQTR shootout win) but Carleton outscored UQTR by about goal and a half per game (20-13 in four games).

1. Men's volleyball: Manitoba at Trinity Western (should both advance)
Game score: 80.2
Sat 7:00pm PT

Technically we don't know this game will happen. But the other options are Alberta / TWU or a TWU upset on Friday night, which both imply a very watchable game anyway. If these teams play on Saturday, it could be a game for the #1 seed at nationals as well as the CW championship. And, of course, less than a month ago they traded three-set wins in Winnipeg.
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