A lot to catch up on, here we go…
1. Cascades Reach Historic levels in Watered Down Division
It has been a long time since the Cascades have lost a basketball game, a really long time. Their now historic winning streak has extended to 24 straight conference regular season games–their last loss coming on November 15th, 2013 against the Mount Royal University Cougars. It is a school record for consecutive wins for the Cascades and could extend to thirty, maybe even forty plus wins before they drop a regular season game. Their remaining schedule, like I have said before is the easiest of all the top teams in the Canada West due to their allocation in the explorers division.
They have 12 games left before the playoffs and if they win them all will have 36 straight regular season wins before the playoffs. The best part of them breaking the school record this past weekend was they were able to avenge their last loss against the MRU Cougars on a back-to-back in Abbotsford.
2. Manitoba Gets Knocked off its Perch
Prior to the holiday break the Bisons were my top ranked team in the Canada West and were, at the time, poised for a deep playoff run. The only problem was that they had yet to be tested by any real threats. Their 2015 started with a weekend against the University of Victoria Vikes (Number three on my pre-Christmas rankings). They were obliterated.
Friday night saw the Bisons lose by thirteen points. Their so called balanced attack that I raved about prior to the break was taken apart with three starters registering less than ten points. And none of their starters shooting over fifty percent from the field. On Saturday night, it got worse, they lost by thirty, their worst loss of the season and the starters performed even worse. The highest scorer from their starting five was Stephan Walton who registered just 7 points, 4 assists, 4 steals, and 4 turnovers.
3. Victoria, I was wrong
I got a lot of hate when I said that Victoria was only the third best team in the Canada West in my pre-Christmas rankings of the teams. And I was wrong.
Their weekend dismantling of Manitoba was proof that Craig Beaucamp hasn’t lost a step and still has the ability to take his team deep no matter the circumstances.
Not only did Beaucamp coach his team to a perhaps season defying win, the man in the middle shined bright. Chris McLaughlin registered 19 in the first game and 23 in the second. To go along with his great point production he registered 24 boards over the weekend, 15 in game one and nine in two.
4. TWU Hires New Head Coach for Next Season
The Christmas period saw the Spartans hire their replacement for Coach Scott Allen who will be leaving his post at the end of this season. His name, Aaron Muhic. His resume, 173 wins in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). He coached in Rocklin, California for the past 13 seasons at William Jessup University. Muhic is a top 25 coach all-time in wins among NAIA coaches and has over 21 years of experience coaching at a collegiate or university level.
Muhic will have a tough job upon arrival at Trinity next season who lost their tenth and eleventh games of the season this past weekend against the University of Regina Cougars. Rumors are also circulating that a lot of the players are upset and contemplating leaving the program at the end of this season.
5. UBC’s Tommy Nixon – Player of the Week
Tommy Nixon is not the most widely known name in the Canada West, until this past weekend when he blew the University of Lethbridge Proghorns apart.
In the first game of the weekend, a 92-77 win, he scored 36 points in 33 minutes and got to the free throw line fourteen times for eleven makes. He also grabbed 11 boards and five assists, he dominated from the floor shooting just a clip under 85 percent for the game.
The second game, a 91-69 win this time, didn’t see Nixon dominate like he did in the first game but came away with a pretty solid line – 21 points, 9 boards, and 3 steals. He also hit five of his six shots and knocked down 9 of his ten from the charity strip.