CIS Final 8 Team Preview – Saskatchewan Huskies
Overall Record: 23-9
CIS Championships: 1 (2010)
Final 8 Appearances: 8 – 1982, 1985, 1986, 1988, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2014
- Victoria (80-55)
- Victoria (82-70)
- Victoria (95-70)
- Ryerson (84-74)
- Victoria (70-67)
Coach: Barry Rawlyk
Just like their conference mates the University of Victoria Vikes, the Huskies success starts with their head coach Barry Rawlyk. Unlike the Vikes, the Huskies coach is a relatively unknown commodity in the Canada West only getting the job officially in May of 2012. He has coached the Huskies to the top of the division every year since he took over as head coach but has still struggled to get the recognition that a top tier coach deserves. Like all winning teams, success comes from their head coach and in order for the Huskies to be taken as a legitimate threat in the tournament, the team needs to put their faith in coach Rawlyk.
Style: Well Balanced
In my opinion, the Huskies are one of the most well balanced teams in the Canada West this past year. Of all the teams, the Huskies have a starting lineup where anyone of them could be the leading scorer making them a threat night in and night out.
One of the most impressive things about the Huskies is after starting the season slowly losing four of their first eight, they have lost only two games including the conference final against the Vikes.
While their seeding may not be the friendliest (they play Carelton in their first game) the Huskies are a better matchup against the Ravens than most other teams in the final eight. They are the tenth highest scoring team in the country averaging a whopping 83.3 points a game (fifth among the final eight teams) – trailing only the four teams from Ontario. Defensively when compared to the rest of the field they aren’t great, they give up 76.6 points per game – seventh among the eight ahead of only Dalhousie. Their offense however is up there with the big powers of Carelton and Ottawa with those teams being two of the three teams in the final eight that shoot a higher percentage than the Huskies (the other being Ryerson).
The Huskies are fifth in the country in that department with 46.6% from the field. The Huskies are a good team but need a miracle in order to still be in the running for the national title on Friday after their game with Carelton.
Standout Player: Ben Baker
After most outstanding player, defensive player of the year is one of the most highly coveted awards because it recognizes hard work. This year for the second time in his career the Canada West award went to the Huskies Ben Baker. Not only was Baker the team’s leading rebounder during the regular season and the playoffs, but also the leading scorer during the playoffs. Baker will need to play at a high level for the Huskies to have a successful national’s campaign.
Game One: Carleton Ravens
Just like their conference mate (the UVic Vikes who will most likely play the Ravens in the second round) the Huskies just got put into a bad place with the seeding and are matched up with the Ravens in their first game. I’m sorry Huskies fans but your team won’t win this game.
70-55 – Ravens
Game Two: Dalhousie Tigers (Predicted)
Dalhousie will be the only team in the tournament to face both the teams from one conference and it will not go well for them. I’m sure the Tigers are a good team and could have a chance under regular circumstances but these aren’t those. The Huskies will be coming off their second consecutive loss and won’t end their season on a three game losing streak.
77-66 – Huskies
Game Three: Windsor Lancers (Predicted)
After getting “upset” by Ryerson in the first round, according to me, the Lancers will rip through the consolation side of the bracket on their way to a fifth place finish. Unfortunately enough for the Huskies that route goes through them.
70-60 – Lancers