Here's this week's CIS top 10; and the RPI, SRS and other relevant metrics.
- Carleton Ravens (20-0 OUA, 26-0 CIS, no. 5 RPI, SRS +22.5) - NO CHANGE
As far as I'm concerned, the Carletons had first place in the OUA East locked up in November. It will be interesting to see, however, how this team plays as the postseason gets deeper and the games they're expected to win — as always — begin to matter more and more.
- Lakehead Thunderwolves (18-2 OUA, 27-2 CIS, no. 6 RPI, SRS +12.0) - NO CHANGE
The 'Wolves did exactly what they had to do to take the wild OUA West: lose only once to Laurier, Windsor and McMaster. Their three-point loss to the Golden Hawks on Jan. 14 is their only defeat in 2012, setting up the West's best record and a first-round bye even if they somehow lose twice to Guelph this weekend.
- Saskatchewan Huskies (15-4 CW, 20-5 CIS, no. 2 RPI, SRS +14.6) - NO CHANGE
The Huskies can lock up the best record west of Ontario — and potentially the right to host the Canada West Final Four — with a home win over the Regina Rams this Saturday. If they somehow lose that game, well, I'll just let the Star Phoenix's Darren Zary try to explain the scenarios.
- UFV Cascades (13-5 CW, 17-5 CIS, no. 4 RPI, +8.1 SRS) - UP FROM NO. 5
Another week, another program high for the UFV Cascades, who finished their regular season with a big road win at Trinity Western. We now know that the Cascades will at least host a playoff best-of-three series. A win there would be a program first, something the Cascades have made a habit of accomplishing this season.
- UBC Thunderbirds (13-4 CW, 19-5 CIS, no. 7 RPI, +11.8 SRS) - UP FROM NO. 7
Kamar Burke's 17-point, 17-rebound game — something he apparently didn't know how to accomplish — couldn't have come at a better time, as the T-Birds managed to keep their first-place hopes alive with a 68-52 win over Victoria. That sets up a huge match this weekend in Victoria for all the marbles (if your definition of 'all the marbles' is winning a regular season division title)
- Victoria Vikes (13-4 CW, 14-6 CIS, no. 9 RPI, +9.8 SRS) - DOWN FROM NO. 4
Interesting that the Vikes sat their starters from nearly the start of the fourth quarter in their loss to UBC. Sure, they were down by 20 and had only scored 37 points, but that's not an insurmountable deficit. Perhaps it was to send a message the starters that they're going to need more than Ryan MacKinnon's scoring to win what will their biggest regular season game in years when they face UBC for the Pacific title this weekend.
- Laurier Golden Hawks (16-4 OUA, 22-8 CIS, no. 13 RPI, +10.8 SRS) - DOWN FROM NO. 6
It's probably too early to say the wheels are coming off, but two home losses to their closest pursuers (McMaster and Windsor) have certainly tightened the Hawks' collars. They've looked a little disinterested and passive on offence at times, with Kale Harrison and Max Allin not looking to attack the basket as much as in previous wins. That's of course partly due to the very physical defences of the Marauders and Lancers, but it's not an excuse. If the Hawks want to thrill their home fans with some manner of success when they host the OUA Final Four, they'll need to figure out how to bring their 'A' game against tougher competition.
In injury news, it looks as though versatile big man Pat Donnelly suffered a concussion and is out for a little while.
- St. FX X-Men (12-4 AUS, 22-4 CIS, no. 1 RPI, +6.4 SRS) - NO CHANGE
They'll probably gain some momentum from beating UPEI thanks to Tyrell Vernon's late-game heroics, but I still wonder about a team that goes 7-for-41 from downtown in a game. I mean, it's bad enough that a team can't break a zone and needs to jack up threes. But when they go 7-for-41, there's some obvious signs of trouble.
The win ties X and UPEI atop the AUS standings with 32 points, with X having a game in hand over the Panthers. There's still plenty of hoops to be played out East, however, and with their wacky points system the playoff picture's still only as clear as a rainy morning in Antigonish.
- Alberta Golden Bears (14-6 CW, 16-7 CIS, no. 3 RPI, +9.7 SRS) - UP FROM NO. 10
The Bears will enjoy a weekend off and watch as the Saskatchewan Huskies play Regina to determine the winner of the Prairie division (and the host of the CW Final Four). In other news, friend of the blog Wayne Thomas thinks Jordan Baker is the conference's Player of the Year. So, there's that. [Ed. note: Our player rankings, when they are revealed in approximately two weeks, may suggest he's the CIS player of the year. Stay tuned. -RP]
- (tied) Concordia Stingers (10-2 RSEQ, 17-6 CIS, no. 8 RPI, +5.0 SRS) - DOWN FROM NO. 9
A home loss to Bishop's cuts down Concordia's division lead to 2.5 games over McGill with plenty of hoops left to be played, but it still seems unlikely that the Stingers will give up their regular season division title.
(tied) McMaster Marauders (15-5 OUA, 17-7 CIS, no. 16 RPI, +8.1 SRS) - NOT PREVIOUSLY RANKED
For the first time in the post-Joe Raso era, the Marauders have cracked the top-10 (well, top-11). That's because the Marauders, on the strength of a young lineup, have won six straight games in the OUA West to take control of their playoff destiny. A win over Western on Wednesday and Laurier on Saturday would give them a first-round bye and a home playoff date for the second round.
One problem standing in the way of that plan: team captain Victor Raso, whose dependable outside shooting and rebounding have been a big part of Mac's surge, is out after getting his bell rung in a win over Western last week. It's 'likely,' according to the previous article he'll be able to return against Laurier, but no one can really be sure when it comes to concussions and head injuries.
THE "UPPER DECK" TOP-10
1. Carleton: Do I really need to explain?
2. Saskatchewan: Michael Lieffers will dunk on your family.
3. Lakehead: Have kept lesser opponents around a little too long in some games.
4. UFV: They might be the best team in Canada West. That's wild!
5. UBC: One big game will say it all.
6. Victoria: See above.
7. Alberta: A week of rest could be huge while UBC and UVic duke it out.
8. St. FX: I guess.
9. McMaster: Wait, what? Yep, they're playing well right now.
10. Laurier: Now would be a good time to wake up again.
THE "SORRY, BARBEAU" LINE OF THE WEEK: Jimmy Dorsey looked at Ryan Barbeau's 46 points and said "yeah, that's okay, I guess." Then he scored 49 points and added 14 assists and 8 rebounds.
THE "GOOD TIME TO SHOW UP, GUYS" BAD LINE OF THE WEEK: The entire Victoria Vikes team deserve this award for shooting 26.2 per cent in only their most important game of the season so far.