McGill opens the CIS tournament as the fifth seed. The Redmen won the RESQ for the second time in a row after beating the Bishop Gaiters last Sunday by 26 points. They will be playing their first game against a familiar foe in the Victoria Vikes. They faced the Vikes in the consolation final at last year’s tournament and won. The Redmen have challenges ahead of them as they are trying to be the first RESQ team to win the CIS championship since the Bishop Gaiters did it in 1998, Concordia also won it in 1990. A RESQ team has not won their first game since Concordia did it in 2005. This is the Redmen’s 7th appearance in the tournament.
In many people minds, The RESQ is the weak conference in the CIS as they do not play as many games and have only five teams. The other conferences in the CIS have eight teams which allow for more competition between all the teams and not an easy path to be named a champion of their conference.
The Redmen were not talked about winning the RESQ championship again at the beginning of the season. The reasoning was because they had ten freshmen on the squad which was the most among the other universities in the conference. The Redmen season started with two losses to NCAA schools Sacred Heart and Syracuse. The Syracuse game they lost by 40 points. The two losses did provide one thing for the Redmen which was a starting lineup that featured three freshmen, François Bourque, Dele Ogundokun and Michael Peterkin. Before conference play started in the RESQ, the Redmen played Ottawa (1 Seed in final 8) and Alberta (3 seed in final 8). The Redmen lost both games however they did force OT with the Gee-Gees. In that game vs. Ottawa, Francois Bourque had 25 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. In their loss to the Golden Bears, François Bourque was also the best player on the court except for this time he only had 17 points with five rebounds. The Redmen in conference play was deadly as they rolled to 14-2 record however they did have some hiccups as they have lost back to back to Concordia and Laval. In the Laval game, they committed 21 turnovers and also bad shooting percentages. They had an FG% of 39.4%, 3FG% of 17.4 and FT of 57.1. The Concordia loss was the difference as they blew the lead in the fourth quarter and had bad shooting FG% in the fourth quarter (30%).
The Redmen have won 11 straight games. They hope to change that to that 14 as they can win their quarter-finals match up and then semi-finals and final which would mean they are CIS champions. The Redmen path will be a hard one as they will have to play the number one seed, Ottawa Gee-Gees in the Semi-Finals if they beat UVic on Friday. If the Redmen pull the upset over the Gee-Gees. In the finals, they will have to play the likes of the Carlton Ravens who will be looking for their tenth title and third in a row or Alberta Golden Bears again.
I believe the Redmen have a chance to win their quarter-finals matchup on Friday. I believe in order for them to beat the Gee-Gees, Ravens or Golden Bears they will have to have great games from freshmen phenomenon duo of Francois Bourque and Dele Ogundokun and RESQ MVP, Vincent Dufort. Bourque who averaged 10 PPG and 7.8rebs PPG while Ogundokun averaged 10PPG and 2.5 steals PPG. Bourque finished second in the RESQ rebounding and was named to the RESQ all-rookie team. Ogundokun lead the RESQ steals and 3FG% for his efforts, he was named RESQ rookie of the year and was named to CIS all-rookie team. The Redmen’s best player has been third-year man, Vincent Dufort who was named second time All Canadian next to be named RESQ MVP after averaging 13 PPG and 6.7RBS PPG. Their success in this year tournament will depend on how on amount of Turnovers they committed and how many rebounds they can collect. My prediction is that Redmen do become the first RESQ team to win their first game since 2005, but will lose to the Gee-Gees in the Semi-finals.