The 2011-12 CIS Men’s basketball regular season is set to kick off its 50th regular season in a matter of hours. And with over 200-plus games already played, BasketballBuzz is proud to release our inaugural Weekly CIS Men’s Basketball Top 25 Power Rankings.
#1 Carleton Ravens – OUA East – (CIS 6-0, Overall 11-4) (LW: NR)
Did you really expect anybody else? Let’s put it this way, they have two All-Canadians in their starting line-up in Hinz and Scrubb. The Ravens are the favourites to repeat and capture their eighth men’s basketball title in the last ten years. Carleton will play two more NCAA preseason games against Lasalle Explorers and Pennsylvania Quakers before opening the OUA regular season next week at home with two Top 25 preseason opponents, #24 McMaster Marauders and #15 Brock Badgers.
Top players: Tyson Hinz, Phillip Scrubb, Elliott Thompson, Cole Hobin
Key preseason victories: Illinois State Rebirds, St.Louis Billekins, UC Santa Barbara, Victoria Vikes, Bishop Gaiters, St. Mary’s Huskies
#2 Saskatchewan Huskies – CW East – (CIS 5-1, Overall 7-1) (LW: NR)
The Huskies are primed for another strong title run. They have played much of the preseason without top scorer Jamelle Barrett and only stumbled once. Saskatchewan hosts the Regina Cougars at home as Canada West league play opens up.
Top players: Jamelle Barrett, Peter Lomuro, Duncan Jones, Nolan Brudehl, Michael Lieffers
Key preseason victories: Montana State-Northern (NCAA), Acadia Axemen, Alberta Golden Bears, Laurentian Voyageurs, Brock Badgers
#3 Trinity Western Spartans – CW West – (CIS 1-0, Overall 5-2-1) (LW: NR)
That’s not a typo on the Spartans record, not that you actually noticed, but the Spartans played to a 78-78 tie against Remmin University of China. Trinity Western will look to make a second straight championship game appearance at the big dance in Halifax. Tough opening games at home against an ununranked and dangerous Victoria Vikes team to start the regular season.
Top players: Kyle Coston, Calvin Westbrook, Tristan Smith, Sean Peter, Eli Mara
Key preseason victories: Santa Clara Broncos (NCAA D1)
#4 St. Francis Xavier X-Men – AUS – (CIS 8-0, Overall 8-0) (LW: NR)
Could this be the year that X marks the spot? With Halifax set to host the Final 8 this year and with the 2015-16 hosting rights still not finalized, this could very well be the X-Men’s opportunity to win the big prize at the Metro Centre. No Bol Kong in the preseason, No problem. Long-time rivals Cape Breton come to the Oland Centre to kick off AUS conference play.
Top players: Jeremy Dunn, Terry Thomas, Bol Kong, Tyrell Vernon, Shane Coupland
Key preseason victories: Toronto Blues, Mcgill Redmen, Cape Breton Capers
#5 Lakehead Thunderwolves – OUA West – (CIS 6-0, Overall 6-0) (LW: NR)
The Thunderwolves were the only Canadian team to defeat the Carleton Ravens last year at the Wilson Cup. Despite a pretty weak preseason schedule, Lakehead has all the ingredients to make back-to-back appearances at the Final 8. They hit the road for two more non-conference games against Hamline University (Saint Paul, MN) and Winscosin-Stout (Menomonie, WI).
Top players: Ryan Thompson, Venzal Russell, Yoosrie Salhia, Ben Johnson
Key preseason victories:Regina Cougars
#6 UBC Thunderbirds – CW West (CIS 6-1, Overall 7-4) (LW: NR)
Just how good the Thunderbirds really are nobody knows. UBC has a solid mix of veteran players with championship game experience and new blood to make a deep Canada West run. A return appearance at the Final 8 is once again expected with hopes of improving on their third-place finish last season. UBC plays one more exhibition game against the Seattle Mountaineers, a semi-pro team in ABA (American Basketball League).
Top players: Nathan Yu, Doug Plumb, Kamar Burke, Graham Bath
Key preseason victories: Santa Clara Broncos (NCAA D1), Concordia Stingers, Ryerson Rams
#7 Windsor Lancers – OUA West – (CIS 1-3, Overall 5-9) (LW: NR)
The Lancers will have played a total of 17 non-conference games (tied for most in the country) before the OUA regular season gets started next week. Head coach Chris Olivier has his troops prepared for another deep OUA run with hopes of booking that elusive flight to Halifax. Windsor plays three more exhibition games including a second preseason game against Oakland University Grizzlies (NCAA).
Top players: Josh Collins, Enrico Diloreto, Lien Phillip, Ryan Christie, Jahmal McQueen
Key preseason victories: Oakland University (NCAA), Humber College Hawks (CCAA), Saskatchewan Huskies
#8 Alberta Bears – CW East – (CIS 2-1, Overall 5-4) (LW: NR)
The Golden Bears can officially be considered one of the top dogs in Canada West. They boast a talented coach with international experience in Greg Francis and have a high-powered offense with a dynamic duo that can easily hang 50 points on opposing teams. Alberta opens up on the road against Manitoba Bisons which has played well so far.
Top players: Daniel Ferguson, Jordan Baker, Todd Bergen-Henengouwen
Key preseason victories: Windsor Lancers, Acadia Axemen
#9 Fraser Valley Cascades – CW West – (CIS 4-0, Overall 8-4) (LW: NR)
One of the more exciting teams to watch this year. Just missed out on a Nationals berth the previous campaign and have looked strong in preseason games. The Cascades open the regular season with a home series against a sneaky Thompson Rivers squad eager to make a point this year.
Top players: Joel Friesen, Sam Freeman, Kyle Grewal
Key preseason victories: Laurier Golden Hawks, Concordia Stingers
#10 Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks – OUA West – (CIS 6-4, Overall 9-4) (LW: NR)
The Golden Hawks are loaded with depth and versatile talent at almost every position, making Wilfred Laurier one of the most dangerous teams in the country. They’ve stumbled as of late dropping three of their last five games. The real season kicks off on the road with a tough trip to Toronto for games against the Ryerson Rams & Toronto Blues.
Top players: Kale Harrison, Maxwell Allin, Matthew Buckley, Kyle Enright
Key preseason victories: Concordia Stingers, Cape Breton Capers, UBC Thunderbirds, Mcgill Redmen
#11 Concordia Stingers – RSEQ – (CIS 5-3, Overall 5-5) (LW: NR)
The Concordia Stingers full-court pressure defense will once again cause havoc on opposing teams. They return majority of their starters and are the favourites to win the RSEQ and earn consecutive trips to Nationals.
Top players: Decee Krah, Kyle Desmarais, James Clark, Evens Laroche
Key preseason victories:Laurentian Voyageurs, Ottawa Gee-Gees
#12 Ottawa Gee-Gees – OUA East – (CIS 2-3, 6-6 Overall) (LW: NR)
For the most part, the Gee-Gees have been one of the most competitive teams in the country over the last decade. The trend should continue in 2011-12 with a more experienced team that was seconds away from a nationals appearance.
Top players: Warren Ward, Johnny Berhanemeskel, Shamus Ferguson
Key preseason victories: Mcgill Redmen, Laurier Golden Hawks
#13 Laurentian Voyageurs – OUA West – (CIS 6-2, 8-4 Overall) (LW: NR)
The Voyageurs are primed to make some noise this year. Laurentian is a rising team with the potential of being a Cinderella story. A berth at the 2012 Wilson Cup is not far-fetched.
Top players: Isiah Pasquale, Manny Pasquale, Mike Hull, George Serresse
Key preseason victories: Cape Breton Capers, Acadia Axemen
#14 Acadia Axemen – AUS – (CIS 3-5, 5-5 Overall) (LW: NR)
A major question floating around water coolers these days – Are the Acadia Axemen the favourites to win the AUS? The Axemen are a talented and loaded roster with slashers, three-pointer shooters and an improved back-court.
Top players: Owen Klassen, Jonathan Tull, Anthony Sears, Anthony Ashe, Justin Boutilier
Key preseason victories: Mcgill Redmen, Windsor Lancers
#15 Brock Badgers – OUA West – (CIS 4-2, 7-7 Overall) (LW: NR)
The Brock Badgers are healthy again and if things remain the same, opposing OUA West teams should be warned. We’ll get an early indication of what the Badgers are about as they open up the regular season with games on the road against the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Carleton Ravens.
Top players: Theo Davis, Didi Mukendi, Mark Gibson, Jameson Tipping, Andrew Kraus
Key preseason victories: North Florida Ospreys (NCAA DI), Acadia Axemen
#16 Calgary Dinos – CW East – (CIS 4-0, 5-4 Overall) (LW: NR)
One the biggest teams in the country. We were really high on the Dinos until Boris Bakovic went down with a potential season ending injury.
Top players: Tyler Fidler, Boris Bakovic, Matt Letkeman, Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson
Key preseason victories: Windsor Lancers
#17 Bishop Gaiters – RSEQ – (CIS 5-2, 5-3 Overall) (LW: NR)
The Gaiters are desperately looking to get out of the basement of the RSEQ conference and could challenge for the third-spot in the standings.
Top players: Onnex Blackwood, Sean Monplaisir, Tim Hunter
Key preseason victories: Victoria Vikes, Cape Breton Capers
#18 Manitoba Bisons – CW East – (CIS 3-1, 5-2 Overall) (LW: NR)
Surprising non-conference victories over both Toronto squads earned them the right to be nationally ranked. The Bisons welcome the high scoring Alberta Golden Bears in their Canada West basketball opener.
Top players: Keith Omoerah, Kevin Olivier, Jonar Huertas, Marko Milosevic
Key preseason victories: Ryerson Rams, Toronto Blues
#19 Toronto Blues – OUA East – (CIS 3-2, 4-4 Overall) (LW: NR)
The Tdot may be producing NBA calibre players, but when it comes to CIS Men’s Basketball championships Toronto biggest university simply hasn’t delivered.
Top players: Alex Hill, Andrew Wasik, Drazen Glisic, Justin Holmes
Key preseason victories: Mcgill Redmen, McMaster Mauraders
#20 Cape Breton Capers – AUS – (CIS 2-4, 4-4 Overall) (LW: NR)
It’s never good when your head coach decides to resign before the regular season opener. The rebuilding Capers are in tough to open the AUS against favourites St. FX.
Top players: Jimmy Dorsey, Al Alilovic, Jamie Glasgow
Key preseason victories: St.Mary’s Huskies
#21 Mcgill Redmen – RSEQ – (CIS 3-6, Overall 5-11) (LW: NR)
The Mcgill Redmen and bench boss David DeAveiro are hoping that a competitive non-conference schedule earns them a RSEQ banner.
Top players: Tristan Renaud-Tremblay, Nicolas Langley, Simon Bibeau, David Clark
Key preseason victories: New Hampshire (NCAA DI), Niagara Purple Eagles, St. Marys Huskies
#22 Ryerson Rams – OUA East – (CIS 3-2, 5-4 Overall) (LW: NR)
Very athletic and guard heavy squad. The Rams and head coach Roy Rana are looking to build on last year’s playoff success and have large ambitions of becoming the top-tier CIS Men’s Basketball team in town.
Top players: Jahmal Jones, Ola Adegboruwa, Nem Stankovic, Aaron Best
Key preseason victories: Queens Gaels
#23 UPEI Panthers – AUS – (CIS 3-2, 4-2 Overall) (LW: NR)
The Panthers have been competitive so far, athletic team which looks to push the tempo and create turnovers.
Top players: Manock Lual, Terrence Brown, Jonathan Cooper
Key preseason victories: Laval Rouge Et Or, St.Mary’s Huskies
#24 McMaster Marauders – OUA East – (CIS 2-2, 5-3 Overall)(LW: NR)
Young and dangerous team with one of the better recruiting classes in the nation. They should push for a playoff spot.
Top players: Cam Michaud, Victor Raso, Aaron Redpath, Nathan Pelech
Key preseason victories: Mcgill Redmen
#25 Waterloo Warriors – OUA East – (CIS 3-2, 4-3 Overall) (LW: NR)
Above .500% record in the non-conference schedule with narrow defeats against quality opponents.
Top players: Cam McIntyre, Wayne Bridge
Key preseason victories: Ryerson Rams