Part two of the previews, just in time for Dal-Vic!
VICTORIA v. DALHOUSIE
1. Who is Dalhousie's answer for Chris McLaughlin?
Fifth-year Chris McLaughlin is an inside-outside threat that can clean the glass and start fast breaks. At 6-10, he towers over the Dalhousie roster because of an injury that ended 6-8 Devon Steadman's season. Dal isn't good defensively -- they have the worst DRtg in the tournament -- and their best rebounder is Kashrell Lawrence, listed at 6-2. I think Dal will resort to a zone defence to prevent McLaughlin from getting easy touches.
2. How will Marcus Tibbs respond to AUS defensive MVP Ritchie Kanza Mata?
I'm going to guess that Mata guards Tibbs in this one. Tibbs is the second-leading scorer for the Vikes and averages five assists per game. He's the engine of this offence so slowing him down could force others to make decisions. I doubt the Vikes would want this, as Tibbs is pretty good at breaking down a defence and finding open players if he can't finish the play himself. Mata has been disruptive on defence and when watching those AUS championships, you could see how difficult he makes life for opposing guards. Playing in his hometown, I wouldn't be surprised to see Mata get into the jersey of Tibbs and unsettle him a bit with high-energy play.
3. Dalhousie will have to score a good amount, but can they?
The Tigers went 3-3 in non-conference play and put on a great run to win the AUS championship. But the Vikes are the best team they have played in months. I'm skeptical of Dal's ability to score against the Vikes, especially after watching the Tigers stall out for periods and take bad shots in the playoffs. If Dal executes, they can hang around.
Prediction: Victoria 74, Dalhousie 58
OTTAWA v. BISHOP’S
1. Is Bishop's defence as good as their DRtg?
Simple answer: no. The average offensive rating in RSEQ is in the mid-to-low 80s, so of course Bishop's defensive rating will be lower. It's nearly impossible for me to make an accurate assessment of their defence because I do not watch Quebec basketball. But I feel comfortable saying their defence is not as good as the number suggests, but based on non-conference numbers, it is still pretty good.
In pre-season action, Bishop's held Ottawa to 80 points. That is a great number, considering it's well-below their season average. The problem will be offence. Ottawa is a good, not great, defensive group but the Gaiters aren't a great offensive outfit.
2. Where will Bishop's get their points?
Yeah. An 85.2 ORtg isn't really going to get you that far in this tournament. The Gaiters don't shoot a ton from the arc which is actually a curious trait of RSEQ basketball. I did some research at the holiday break and found 3-point-attempts per game were trending upwards, but the Q doesn't shoot much (yet). So, I figure the Gaiters will attack off the dribble, but Ottawa has the athletes to contain perimeter penetration.
3. Is there anyway Ottawa loses this game?
If they don't respect Bishop's like they should, it could be close. I doubt that will happen because Ottawa had a bad weekend in the OUA Final Four and this is the last tournament for major parts of their roster. They will want to prove themselves here, especially after media day was spent answering questions about being second fiddle to Carleton. Also, Bishop's went 0-6 in non-conference play.
Prediction: Ottawa 91, Bishop's 51.