Basketball: Week in Review, Jan. 21–26

Next in a series of the kenpom-inspired Week in Review ...

Biggest upsets

2. WBB: Lakehead (23%) over Brock, Saturday (box). There are so many storylines involved with this game. Starting with the positive: Jylisa Williams has been phenomenal in her short Thunderwolf career. Through six games, Williams is averaging 21.8 points per game on 45 per cent shooting, both better than expected. She had 20 points in this 63-36 blowout, and grabbed 16 (!!!) rebounds. Williams is listed as a 5-8 guard, yet still outrebounded the Brock starters 16-10 on the game. As for the negatives, the Badgers are collapsing. They are 2-4 in 2014, have fallen out of the CIS top 10 and sit fifth in the OUA West. Topping it off is a recent feud between star Nicole Rosenkranz and head coach Si Khounviseth, after Rosenkranz was benched in a loss to her former team. While this Lakehead win seems like an upset now, it may not at the end of the season if they can finish above Brock.

1. MBB: Concordia (22%) over McGill, Thursday (box). The Redmen suffer another loss, again by the same formula. They conceded 33 free throws to Laval in their first loss and only shot 61.5 per cent themselves. Against Concordia, McGill gave the Stingers 20 attempts and they made 18 of them; McGill was just 18-for-28. Vincent Dufort and Dele Ogundokun combined for 4-15 on the night, which is probably not what you want from your leading scorers.

Crazy comebacks

WBB: Cape Breton 62 at Dalhousie 67 (Jan. 25, 2014)
3. WBB: Laval (3.1%) over Bishop's, Saturday (play-by-play). Bishop's had a 21-3 lead with 2:56 left in the first quarter, but Laval would not lay down. They used defence to claw their way back in, holding Bishop's to four points in the second quarter and six points in the fourth quarter. The Gaiters only made nine baskets after the first quarter and with 1:50 left in the third quarter, Laval took over and did not look back. Bishop's is 0-8 this season, so the comeback is really just sad more than anything.

2. MBB: Guelph (2.7%) over Laurier, Saturday (play-by-play). Max Allin knocked down a free throw with 1:46 left in the third and Laurier took a 71-55 lead. It was the low point of the game for the rebuilding Guelph Gryphons, but they would rally back in a committee effort to get the three-point victory. Trevor Thompson, a third-year forward, nailed four free throws in the final 68 seconds to put Guelph up 84-81. It was a wasted effort from the Australia-bound Allin, who scored 33 points, including 6-9 from beyond the arc.

1. WBB: Dalhousie (2.3%) over Cape Breton, Saturday (play-by-play). In a crucial game, Cape Breton seemed to have it in hand at the half, holding a 35-19 advantage. But Dalhousie shot 18/28 in the second half, and that combined with a dry spell in the last 4:22 of the game for Cape Breton to give Dal the W. The Tigers would rally from 62-55 to win 67-62. The graph at right does a better job of showing how improbable the comeback was, on multiple occasions.

Biggest changes in SRS
SRS, or Simple Ranking System, is the basis for our basketball team rankings. These teams moved the most in the rankings vs. last week.

Up: UBC MBB, +11 (27th to 16th). UBC is on the upswing, with a 4-2 record in 2014, but they will still need a great playoff run if they want to make it to nationals.

Down: UNB MBB, +14 (12th to 26th). UNB dropping two games to UPEI is what sees the Varsity Reds plummet. Not a good time for that, with each their final five games being worth four points.

Slowest game of the week: MBB Concordia at McGill, Saturday (65 possessions).
This was not the comeback game, which was two days earlier. Instead, it was a 70-49 blowout for McGill. This is what you expect from the slowest and fourth-slowest teams in the country.

Fastest game of the week: MBB Lakehead at Brock, Saturday (90 possessions)
Two rebuilding — or "reloading" if you ask Lakehead coach Scott Morrison — teams playing at a wicked pace is not surprising. It's a good strategy: hope to catch a team on an off-night, then you shoot the lights out. And maybe, following the women's upset of the Badgers on the same night, Lakehead just wanted to get out of town before anyone noticed.

Ta'Quan Zimmerman Watch

Ta'Quan Zimmerman is your favourite CIS player; you just don't know it yet. He shoots at a ridiculous clip: 50.5 per cent overall, and 48.6 per cent from three. He is a junior college transfer and is simply playing out of his mind. He only shot 17-37 over the weekend, but had just had three turnovers total. The games over Trinity Western were critical too, because the squads were knotted at 7-7 before Thompson Rivers put together a sweep.

Best games of the upcoming week (all times Eastern)
Games to watch for playoff implications, the closeness of the two teams competing, or the standout individual performances...

MBB: Acadia at UNB (Friday 7:00pm, Saturday 2:00pm). UNB could really flip the AUS on its head if they can beat Acadia twice, but even splitting the games would be a positive.

MBB: Ottawa at Ryerson (Friday 8:00pm). This is the marquee match-up of the weekend, really. Ryerson could be an opponent for Ottawa in the playoffs, but the Rams have not looked the same this year and a home victory over Ottawa would be massive.

MBB: Carleton at Ryerson (Saturday 8:00pm). Ryerson got tagged with a 118-65 loss last time around, though they did not have a full roster that game. There is potential for a revenge game, but it is unlikely, given that the Ravens have Phil Scrubb and a cast of thousands.

MBB: McGill at Bishop's (Saturday 8:00pm). It's the second of a double-header and both teams are 6-2. The second game is listed because McGill's favoured in both so the home-court advantage for the Gaiters makes this one slightly more equal. It has the potential to be the most important conference game of the year.

MBB: Victoria at Lethbridge (Saturday 9:00pm). If Lethbridge could add a win over Victoria, it would be their third regular season win over a top-ten ranked team. They have defeated Alberta and Saskatchewan before, but a third win over No. 3 UVic bodes well for their potential chances at a wild card berth.

MBB: Winnipeg at TRU (Saturday 10:00pm). Ta'Quan Zimmerman takes on an average defence in the Winnipeg Wesmen. What's dangerous (or fun, depending on who you cheer for) is that Winnipeg gives up a three-point percentage of 37.7 per cent, tied for highest in the conference. Ta'Quan should be fun to watch.
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  1. Carleton's SRS is more than double that of #2 Ottawa. What is the record margin since you started the ranking?

    1. We're probably seeing a new record set every day. Last year we ended at +25.3 for Carleton and +13.5 for Ottawa, but that 11.8-point gap is nothing compared to this year's 17.3.