CIS Top 10 Performers – The CBG Bunch: We’re talking about playoffs???

cbg bunchWelcome to the third season of The CBG Bunch, a specialized column dedicated to the CIS season. Every week, CBG parses through the CIS box scores over Sunday brunch while looking for #TheCBGBunch, a group of the top performers of the weekend’s action.

This week in #badpuns, we look to come up with a system that’s fair for everyone. What do we mean specifically? Well you see, the 2016 CIS playoffs do not unfold on the same week across the country: the Canada West Conference started its own a week earlier than anyone else while the RSEQ starts its Final Four next weekend. So today, rather than include two weeks of CanWest playoff games, we’ll just ignore their first playoff weekend. We’ll make it up to them next week, when we elect our CIS playoffs all-star team and draw from every playoff game played.

Okay? Okay.

Apologies to the entire RSEQ conference—because I’ve decided to overlook your remaining three regular season games to focus on these playoffs. But don’t worry, you’ll make the cut next week after your Final Four.

Alex Campbell, Windsor Lancers VS Laurentian Voyageurs: 37 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, 1 block Campbell_Alex

Remember the beginning of this 2015-16 season a mere four months ago? Remember when we explained that things were as undetermined in Windsor as they had been in quite some time after an offseason of unparalleled changes? Well we’re through almost the end of the CIS playoffs and, sure enough, the Lancers are one of the remaining four teams standing in OUA. Interim head coach Ryan Steer has taken over during Chris Oliver’s sabbatical, Alex Campbell has emerged and… okay sure, let’s mention a few words about the fifth-year player.

Campbell stuffed the stat sheet all season long for Windsor, finishing seventh in the country in scoring while adding over six rebounds and three assists per game and playing the 12th most minutes. The 2015-16 season could have been a lost one for the Lancers, but it wasn’t. “We always have pretty lofty goals,” Steer told NPH. “Until we have to reevaluate those, I think we always will have the same (ones).”

Expect to win because you always have. Also: because you can count on Campbell.

Dani Elgadi, Brock Badgers VS Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks: 29 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks player_MBB-DaniElgadi

The old soul pro wised up quite a lot this 2015-16 season. Heralded by many, including us and the CIS itself, as possibly the most dangerous team in the OUA, the Brock Badgers opened as the fourth best team in the CIS. They had Johneil Simpson, Ryan Bennett, Tyler Brown and, most importantly, the old soul pro himself Dani Elgadi.

We’ll remember this season as the one where the third-year player managed to showcase his wide and vast array of skills on the grandest of stages: Elgadi finished first in the CIS in rebounds per game, third in total blocks and 10th in scoring per game. He’s a stud, in short.

We’ve dubbed him the Wilt of the CIS for his old school hairdo to go along with his old school number, not to mention his capacity of doing any- and everything on a basketball court. While Chamberlain certainly had his detractors in his time in the NBA, he did get his two championships. Elgadi’s own is coming, just watch.

Marquis Clayton, Saint Mary’s Huskies at UNB Varsity Reds: 25 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals clayton

The Saint Mary’s Huskies, meanwhile, peaked at the right time, heading into these playoffs on a relatively high note after a disappointing start and coming up one point short against the eventual AUS champions Dalhousie Tigers. Before this heartbreak in the semifinals came thrilling joy in overtaking the UNB Varsity Reds and their all-mighty Young Icarus. The fourth-year Marquis Clayton was just about the driving force for the Huskies in the game, coming up one rebound and two assists short of a triple-double for, our favourite, the homeless man’s triple-double.

Dare we say that it was reminiscent of a young Speedy Claxton.

Dut Dut, UPEI Panthers VS Acadia Axemen: 21 points, 19 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal mbb

In these AUS playoffs, the UPEI Panthers followed the same script as they have during the 2015-16 regular season: before eventually settling for a relatively disappointing second place finish, they started on an impossibly high note in dispatching the Acadia Axemen. In other words: before the other shoe dropped, these Panthers had quite the run.

UPEI knocked Acadia out early and held on for an easy win, which is to say that they followed Dut Dut’s lead: the forward started with a 10/5 first quarter, then closed the game with a 6/8 final frame. His 21/19 stat line was enough for this week’s “man game” distinction.

Kashrell Lawrence, Dalhousie Tigers VS Saint Mary’s Huskies: 31 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals lawrence

If I can put on my Charles Barkley hat for a minute there—here’s where I should include the #hottake—it appears that our game has grown to be overly complicated  in 2016. We’ve always had assists, points, rebounds, but we’ve now come up with seemingly a number for every single thing that a basketball player can do on a court.

That’s the #hottake, the one I don’t believe in because I believe the more data we have about a basketball game, then the more we know about said game. I even believe in the fact that there is a little something to the notion that not all wins are created equal: that the mark of a good team will be a good point differential more than a good win-loss record.

But you know what a wise man once said, right? That all that matters is winning, regardless of the final margin? Well that wise man might have played for the Dalhousie Tigers, who finished 8-3 in games where the final margin was less than 10 and who are CIS Final 8-bound after beating Saint Mary’s and UPEI by a combined three points.

That’s the motto: even if by just one point, #justwin.

Jonathan Tull, Regina Cougars at Thompson Rivers WolfPack: 29 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block jonathan tull dp

Out in Canada West, the Regina Cougars and Thompson Rivers WolfPack had perhaps the best series of the week, needing a third and deciding game—we wouldn’t have expected anything but a fight until their last breath coming from cougars and wolves, right? In the series opener, Regina emerged victorious by relying on their fifth-year guard Jonathan Tull, the man with all the tools.

In baseball, pundits have come up with the “five-tool” moniker to describe a player who can seemingly do it all on a basketball court. Maybe we can borrow the term for Regina’s Tull? I’m not (only) saying this because of the man’s name.

Volodymyr Iegorov, Thompson Rivers WolfPack VS Regina Cougars: 32 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block iegorov

But in the end, the Regina Cougars lost this quarterfinal series, which is to say that the WolfPack emerged victorious with wins in games 2 and 3 to take it. We’ve liked newcomer Volodymyr Iegorov quite a bit since his arrival at Thompson Rivers, with us ranking him quite high in our CIS Top 50 player list, proclaiming him the newcomer of the year and choosing him for our Five-Alive midseason all-star team.

Despite all these accolades, it’s a first nod for Iegorov, a player who scores effectively from all over the court and who defends and rebounds just as well as anyone. With him out there, the WolfPack are as dangerous as any other team left standing.

Connor Wood, Carleton Ravens VS Brock Badgers: 37 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal wood

You know what you should do once you’ve given the people your mea culpa and righted a wrong? Continue going down that well; there’s more of this where it came from.

Although Connor Wood needs absolutely no favours from us in making the #Bunch this week. In fact, the only reason why we don’t end the post with him this week, considering he’s definitely the «bad man of the week,» is that there’s a level above bad because this is the playoffs.

But still, the bad man it is for Wood: the bad man sees you walk in the gym and already knows you’ve lost. «You’re done in this town,» the bad man says to himself. Then, he goes and drops 24 on your head in the first half, effectively turning this personal rumination into a prophecy: because the game has barely started that you’re, yep, done in this town.

Michael L’Africain, Ottawa Gee-Gees VS Queen’s Gaels: 27 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal 

2015-2016 University of Ottawa Gee-Gees men's basketball headshots at Montpetit Hall in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 13 October, 2015. Photo by Richard A. Whittaker. ( [5C7A9245.CR2]

In a just world, the guy Mike L’Africain would win the #GodMode game of the week, but not this week: he postponed CIS retirement by at least one week by scoring 27 points, including 12 in the final quarter, to lead his Gee-Gees to a 73-72 win and a spot in the OUA Final Four. L’Africain deserves it, but deserves has nothing to do with it.

I’ll let the #Tweeps carry the conversation.

Wait wait, don’t spoil things. And anyway, we know this already. Give us more!!

Okay the #flamesemoji are a nice touch, but we need something from non-uOttawa accounts.

Yes, much better. But more! We need more fire, more!

Ben Miller, Acadia Axemen VS Cape Breton Capers: 19 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block miller

Let’s keep this one short, because we don’t have all day; and for this one, let’s go back to one of the first games of the AUS super weekend, and the very first of the parade of one-point games. Let’s go back to Acadia and Cape Breton, two teams that had played a tight four-game tilt in the regular season. Let’s go back to Mr. Ben Miller, the kind of man who waits until the very end to heat up, the kind of man who steps up with 16 of his 19 points in the final quarter for his team to eke out a win.

Not everyone can put their team on their back, but Miller can. There’s no heat check when every shot goes in. #MillerTime

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG & NPH @Northpolehoops

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