Men's Basketball 2013 Outlook: UFV Cascades

Our next 2013 outlook examines the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades, who bring lofty expectations into the new year.

Record: 7-3 conference (2nd, Canada West Pacific), 10-3 overall, +10.3 SRS (6th in CIS)

Offensive/Defensive Efficiency (CIS Rank): 102.3 ORtg (15th), 91.5 DRtg (11th)

First half highlights:
  • A 13-point road win over UBC that snapped a three-game losing streak.
  • A five-game winning streak to close the semester.
  • The strong play of Kevon Parchment and Sam Freeman.
First half recap: Despite losing their head coach and two star players to the University of Alberta, the Cascades have managed to stay competitive under new bench boss Adam Friesen. After losing coach Barnaby Craddock and standouts Joel Friesen and Jasper Moedt, it looked as though all the momentum from last season's banner campaign for the program would be lost. But Freeman has adapted well to a bigger role, Parchment, a transfer guard from Lakeland College, has been a potential All-Canadian, and fifth year forward Kyle Grewal has been a solid glue guy to keep the men in green in contention. UFV has responded well to a mid-season slide (where they lost two home games to Victoria and a road game to UBC), reeling off five straight wins including a signature victory over the Thunderbirds on the road. They've done it with very stingy defence, holding teams to a combined 35.7% shooting in those five wins.

What makes them good: Parchment and Freeman are two of the best scorers in the league, and have been the key to UFV's offence. Parchment's 29.7 PER and 64 TS% rank among the elite nationwide, while Freeman's 41.3% mark on nearly eight threes per game has made him very dangerous (his 62 TS% despite shooting 59.4% on free throws is kind of incredible). Grewal, despite a 39.4 FG%, has helped spread the floor as a three-point threat (48.8% on more than four attempts per game) while posting 15 points, eight rebounds and nearly four assists per game. As a team, UFV has kept turnovers to a minimum (just an 18% turnover rate) and doesn't foul much, making teams work to score against them. That's translated into good defence, especially in their stingy defensive run to end the first semester.

What they need to improve on: In their three losses so far, the Cascades have struggled to rebound. Their two losses to UVic saw them get beaten 66-52 over two games on the glass, and UBC beat them 54-35 in their win (UFV's bounceback win the next night saw them win the board battle 36-32). Perhaps it's a small sample size, but it looks like there's some value in UFV rebounding as a key to win.

Goals/Outlooks/Scenarios: With Parchment and Freeman leading the way, there are high expectations on the Cascades for the second semester. They deserve them, too, and the showdown between UFV and UBC (who's had a slightly easier schedule in their 8-2 record) should be a dandy. A medal at nationals is certainly not out of the question.
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