Basketball: Week in Review, Jan. 28–Feb. 2

Next in a series of the kenpom-inspired Week in Review. A lighter post this week ...

Biggest upsets

None! The closest we got was Lakehead WBB over McMaster, but as Scott alluded to last week, wins by Lakehead might start looking less like upsets as the season wears on. After all, with every new game, the pre-Jylisa Williams Thunderwolves become less relevant to their overall ranking.

Crazy comebacks

1. MBB: Queen's (1.3%) over Laurentian, Saturday (play-by-play). Only one this week, and the play-by-play for the end of the fourth quarter should tell the story fairly well here. The high point for Laurentian was with 1:22 left, when they had a nine-point lead and still had possession.

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: Acadia MBB (+3, 15 to 12) and Laurier WBB (+3, 14 to 11). There was a multi-way tie for this so we just took the highest-ranked team in each league. Laurier kept it relatively close vs. Windsor and beat Brock by 20, a solid week. Acadia swept UNB, 93-83 and 83-64, in Fredericton. Both were on the fringes of the top 10 vote and will likely get more votes after this week.

Down: Ottawa WBB (12 to 15). Again, another tie so the highest-ranked team gets the mini-writeup here. Ottawa beat Ryerson by 2 and lost to Toronto by 4, neither one of which was in line with their previous ranking so the Gee-Gees are adjusted down to account for the under-performance.

Slowest game of the week: MBB UQAM at Laval, Saturday (61 possessions).
Welcome to RSEQ basketball. All five men's teams are among the slowest 13 in the country, and the women have four of the slowest 12. When it's two below-.500 teams, it is doubtful to be exciting basketball. This one was seven possessions slower than any other men's game this week. Seven! The slowest women's game was, no joke, also UQAM/Laval on the same day, at 63 possessions. A perfect four hours for those in la Vieille Capitale who don't want to stay home on a Saturday night but also don't want to get too excited.

Fastest game of the week: MBB Laurentian at York, Friday (94 possessions)
Well, when the teams combine for 51 points in the third and 50 in the fourth...

Maddie Stephen Watch
The kenpom version focuses on Alan Williams, UCSB's "undersized center [who] piles up stats like nobody else" and is "ignored by scouts and media alike." Our version rotates among a select few of the authors' favourites.

Owner of the 12th-best PER in Ontario this year and a 56th-place spot in our nationwide player rankings last year, Stephen is another of those underrated players who play on slow-paced teams and don't have gaudy scoring stats as a result. (She was also a rookie with a 25 PER playing behind Hannah Sunley-Paisley on the first Ottawa team to medal at nationals.)

This week Stephen had 9 points and 9 rebounds against Ryerson and 8 and 12 against Toronto. Not the best pair of games, with twice as many turnovers in the U of T game as made baskets, especially given that she has such a low turnover rate to begin with. The Gee-Gees have a big weekend coming up with a road trip to Queen's, whom they must beat by 10 to hold the point-differential tiebreaker, and York.

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...

WBB: Brock at McMaster (Wednesday 6:00pm). Gee, you think this might be a relevant story for this game? Aside from that, it's No. 9 vs No. 13, in a battle to climb out of fourth place in the OUA West. Laurier came on strong in the second half to complicate things in that division.

WBB: Ottawa at Queen's (Friday 6:00pm). 12-6 vs. 12-6 and, as mentioned, an important game for the division. Queen's will play 13-5 Carleton the next night, too, of course.

WBB: Saskatchewan at Winnipeg (Friday 7:00pm, Saturday 7:00pm). One of two road series for the Huskies to finish the season; next week's is Alberta, and they may both be 18-2 heading into that.

MBB: McMaster at Windsor (Saturday 2:00pm). Mac can clinch first in the division here if they win. That No. 1 seed in the West would give them the chance to qualify for the Final 8 before playing Carleton again.

WBB: McGill at UQAM (Saturday 5:00pm). The Quebec league is starting to get bunched up at the top after Concordia took two from McGill. This is No. 8 at No. 16 and could be a great under-the-radar matchup. Friend of the blog and regular MUBL champion Alexandre Tourigny will be calling this game for TVGO.

MBB: Ryerson at Laurentian (Saturday 8:00pm). It's the Rams' turn for the dreaded-by-Ontario-teams, business-as-usual-for-Canada-West-teams road trip to Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. Both teams here went 0-2 this past week, though Ryerson kept Carleton closer than anyone has all year.
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