SARNIA, Ontario — Every conference will have begun their season when Thursday night rolls around.
The five teams that make up the university side of the RSEQ officially begin conference play on Thursday night, and what a slate they have put together for their opening night. On the women’s side of the ball, there is a battle between two of the top four teams in the U Sports rankings. On the men’s side, the 10th-ranked team in the country will look to make a statement with a home win against a team that is regularly overlooked in the conference. Anything can happen when the regular season gets under way, and the RSEQ is bringing excitement from the outset of the season.
Out on the West Coast, only two teams are in action as the Columbia Bible College Bearcats host the Langara Falcons in PacWest BC play.
In Ontario, two teams off to hot starts will be looking to keep their unbeaten seasons alive for at least one more game. The 12th-ranked team on the men’s side will be looking to move to 4-0 with a road win. On the women’s side, the last team without a loss to their name will look to move to 5-0 on the year with a road win of their own.
With potential story lines all over the place, here’s what you need to know ahead of Thursday night’s action in today’s Morning Shootaround.
RSEQ Begins 2018-19 Season
The last conference across Canada gets their 2018-19 season going, as the five schools that make up the RSEQ begin their quest towards the U Sports National Championships on Thursday night.
For fans of basketball in Quebec, opening night won’t get much better than this, as two of the top four teams in Canada square off on the women’s side to kick off the season. The top-ranked Laval Rouge et Or head on the road for a date with the Concordia Stingers, who are ranked fourth in the country to begin the year. It will be a major test for both programs to begin the season, and it will provide each team with a good measuring stick to see where they stand early in the year.
Last season, Laval advanced to the U Sports National Championships where they finished sixth in the event. A win over the Acadia Axewomen sent them to the Consolation Final against the Calgary Dinos. The Rouge et Or dropped a close contest to the Dinos to finish in sixth spot, 71-68. This year, a veteran Laval enters the season as the top-ranked team in U Sports, and they have their sights set on the national championship. The Stingers will pose a stern test for the Rouge et Or on their home court, and Concordia would love to knock off the top team in the country to open the year.
On the men’s side of the ball, the lone nationally ranked team from the RSEQ is in action on their home floor. The 10th-ranked McGill Redmen host the UQAM Citadins on Thursday night in what will be an interesting game to keep an eye on. The Redmen made headlines during the summer when they took on RJ Barrett and the Duke Blue Devils as a part of Duke’s Canada Tour. In that game, a 103-58 loss for the Redmen, guard Alex Paquin went for 29 points on 12-for-19 shooting.
The Redmen have their share of talent on their roster this season, but they can’t afford to overlook the Citadins. In the preseason, the Citadins picked up wins over the likes of the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Ryerson Rams. The win over Ryerson was during a preseason tournament hosted by the Brock Badgers, and UQAM went 3-0 over the three-day event. On the road to open the season, the Citadins would love to play spoiler and knock off the nationally ranked Redmen in front of their home crowd.
Centennial Colts Look to Continue Their Winning Ways
The Centennial Colts enter Thursday night as the #12 team in the latest CCAA Men’s Basketball rankings, and they want to continue to climb as the season moves along. A last-second win over the defending champion Seneca Sting two weeks ago propelled the Colts into the rankings, and they have since climbed to the 12th spot with their 3-0 record.
First year guards Isaiah Cromwell-Wright and Kyrin Henlin have the Colts playing with a ton of confidence to this point in the season, and they will be looking to extend their winning streak on Thursday night when they head to Barrie, ON for a date with the Georgian Grizzlies.
U of T Mississauga Eagles Look to Remain Unbeaten in 2018-19
The lone unbeaten team in women’s basketball in the OCAA is now the U of T Mississauga Eagles. The Fanshawe Falcons dropped their first game of the season on Tuesday night, leaving the Eagles as the only team in the conference without a loss to this point in the season. At 4-0, the Eagles are playing some impressive basketball, and they will be looking to push their record to 5-0 on Thursday when they head on the road to take on the Niagara Knights.
On the heels of an impressive week, one that saw her named an OCAA Star of the Week as a result, Jade Addai has been a focal point of the offense for the Eagles. The native of London, England will look to help the Eagles remain unbeaten with a strong two-way performance against the Knights.
RSEQ: #1 Laval Rouge et Or at #4 Concordia Stingers (6:00pm EST; Montreal, QC)
RSEQ: UQAM Citadins at McGill Martlets (6:00pm EST; Montreal, QC)
PacWest: Langara Falcons at Columbia Bible College Bearcats (6:00pm EST; Abbotsford, BC)
OCAA: U of T Mississauga Eagles at Niagara Knights (6:00pm EST; Welland, ON)
OCAA; Centennial Colts at Georgian Grizzlies (6:00pm EST; Barrie, ON)
RSEQ: Laval Rouge et Or at Concordia Stingers (8:00pm EST; Montreal, QC)
RSEQ: UQAM Ciradins at McGill Redmen (8:00pm EST; Montreal, QC)
PacWest: Langara Falcons at Columbia Bible College Bearcats (8:00pm EST; Abbotsford, BC)
OCAA: U of T Mississauga Eagles at Niagara Knights (8:00pm EST: Welland, ON)
OCAA: #12 Centennial Colts at Georgian Grizzlies (8:00pm EST: Barrie, ON)
– T. Bennett