#3 Providence University College vs #2 Canadian Mennonite University Blazers Saturday, February 11th – 4:00 PM Duckworth Centre
Oct 21: CMU 114 – PUC 94
Nov 9: CMU 114 – PUC 90
Nov 25: PUC 94 – CMU 78
Jan 17: PUC 102 – CMU 94
In what could very likely be the game of the day on Saturday at Duckworth Centre, the 7-5 Blazers will see a 6-6 Pilots squad who bounced back against the Blazers in their last two meetings to tie the season series at 2 games apiece. Twice, CMU scored the most points of any men’s basketball game this season against Providence, so the possibility of a shootout between these two teams is on the table.
PUC 4th year point guard and last season’s Regular Season MVP, Romeo KC, led his team in scoring this season with 21.8 per game and showed once again why he has been such a valuable asset during his time spent in the MCAC. KC’s speed and relentless pursuit of the ball make him extremely difficult to contain but his selfless play among a well-rounded roster is perhaps even more impressive than his ability to put the ball in the hoop. Australian forward, Richard Rodgers, has also been a force for the Pilots this season, especially when it comes to collecting rebounds. Averaging 9.45 boards a game, Rodgers has the physical makeup and scoring touch to hurt opponents from both inside and outside of the paint, as well as on the offensive or defensive side of the ball.
For the Blazers, it’s safe to say that Sam Kinsley will have a major part in determining the outcome of their season this weekend. Kinsley led the Blazers this season in all three major statistical categories averaging 20.3 points, 4.13 assists and 11.9 rebounds per game. Averaging a double-double is impressive in its own right, but doing so on the second best team in the conference really puts into perspective just how big Kinsley has been this season. 6’8” 2nd year Centre Jacob Penner is also a treat to watch for the Blazers, as he is perhaps one of the best big men in the conference when it comes to footwork. How PUC deals with Penner could play a big part in the outcome of this semifinal matchup.
#4 University Of Winnipeg Wesmen Athletics vs #1 Red River College Rebels 6:00pm
November 25: RRC 69 – UW 43
December 4: RRC 77 – UW 62
February 4: RRC 97 – UW 69
February 5: RRC 90 – UW 35
The University of Winnipeg Wesmen men’s basketball team has perhaps the unluckiest record in the conference this season. Unable to snag a win throughout their 12 game regular season, the Wesmen lost a number of games that were very much within reach. At the beginning of February, the Wesmen lost an 84-81 overtime decision to the #2 ranked Mennonite University College when UWC Guard Tyler Linklater led all scorers with 25 points but the Wesmen as a whole shot just 25% from the field. In the Wesmen’s closest loss to the Rebels this season on December 4th, UWC got to within 15 points of RRC using their entire 8-man roster including Forward Davis Kos-Whicher logging a full 40 minutes in the loss. The short bench of University of Winnipeg College will be a challenge in facing Red River’s deep and talented roster, but what a story it would be if the Wesmen could find the win column in their season’s most meaningful game to date. A winless record is never pretty but don’t expect UWC to roll over; the Wesmen’s leading scorer, Dhruv Barman (12.7 /game), along with Linklater and Kos-Whicher, all showed that they can score at the college level and could give the Rebels a headache if any of them are to catch fire.
The Rebels on the other hand, with their 11-1 record and dominance throughout the last two months of the season, have put together a body of work this season that reminded the rest of the conference why their program has won the last 8 MCAC Championships. Their wealth of scoring talent and overall depth is unmatched throughout the field and league leading scorer, point guard Jonathan Wilner, showed the ability to go on scoring tears unlike any player in the conference. With an average point differential of 19.3 this season, the Rebels averaged 90 points scored per game and will undoubtedly force UWC to play some outstanding defence if the Wesmen hope to keep the score reasonable.
Alongside Wilner, 2015-16 MCAC Championship MVP and 5th year perimeter player Taylor Brown will be another player for RRC that fans should keep an eye on. Speedy 6’ point guard Matt Dyck is also a fun player to watch orchestrate the offense while showing a great deal of hustle on both sides of the ball. For the Wesmen, no other player has attempted more field goals than Tyler Linklater this season, so expect to see the ball fly when he is granted an open look.