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What U Need to Know: USports Men's BBall (Jan. 23-Feb. 6)

It has been yet another amazing week of hoops throughout the USports circuit with everything from upset wins to blowout losses and everything in between! Let's break down the week that was January 23rd-29th 2024 and the week ahead of January 30th-February 5th 2024 in USports Men’s Basketball!

#1 in the Nation: University of Ottawa Gee-Gees

The UOttawa Gee-Gees have spent most of the 2023-2024 season at #1 in the country and they will stay atop the country in the #1 spot following back-to-back home wins over the Waterloo Warriors (63-46) and the #4 ranked Laurier Golden Hawks (75-67). The Gee-Gees now have a 6 game-winning streak going into the Capital Hoops Classic in Ottawa on Friday where cross-town rivals the Carleton Ravens are fighting to find something consistent before playoffs and looking to avenge a 79-78 loss to the Gee-Gees earlier this year and should make for a fantastic game this Friday at 8 PM EST.

#2 in the Nation: UVictoria Vikes

USports leading scorer Diego Maffia and the UVic Vikes stay firmly in 2nd place in the country following a home-court doubleheader versus the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, beating the Huskies 87-42 this past Friday and claiming victory the very next day by a score of 79-58. Maffia combined for 56 points over the two games further adding to his 27.6 PPG average on the season. The Vikes next face the Brandon University Bobcats in another home doubleheader for the Vikes and look to climb closer to that coveted #1 ranking.

#3 in the Nation: Queen’s Gaels

The Queen’s University Gaels maintain their spot as 3rd in the country after 2 quality road wins this past weekend. The Gaels defeated the at the time #8 ranked Western Mustangs in London 92-80 behind a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds from Cole Syllas. The Gaels then went down to Windsor and defeated the Lancers 87-74 behind 24 points and 4 steals from Luka Syllas. The Gaels will now have a massive game this Friday at home when they take on the #4 ranked Laurier Golden Hawks this Friday at 8 PM EST in a game that very well will see the winner have this #3 spot at the least next week. The Gaels will follow that game up with a battle at home against the struggling Waterloo Warriors who have lost 5 of their last 6 going into this weekend.

#4 in the Nation: Laurier Golden Hawks

The Golden Hawks stay at 4th in the country following a road trip to Ottawa last weekend. The Hawks started the weekend off Friday night at the Ravens Nest taking on the Carleton Ravens who have had a down season so far this year based on typical Carleton Basketball standards. The Hawks came back with a vengeance after watching their season end last year on this very floor in the OUA Quarterfinals, defeating the Ravens by a score of 86-74, giving the Hawks their first win against the Ravens since 1995! The following day did not favor the Hawks as much as they battled closely with #1 UOttawa but fell to the Gee-Gees by a score of 75-67. Standout guard Taye Donald who is currently 3rd in USports PPG had a combined 47 on the weekend and will look to build on that this weekend as the Golden Hawks head to Kingston to take on the #3 Queen’s Gaels on Friday at 8 PM EST in what should be a must watch game. On Saturday the Hawks will head to Ontario Tech to face the surprise of the season Ridgebacks who went from 4-22 last year to 13-4 this year and look like a potential threat come OUA Playoff time.

#5 in the Nation: University of British Columbia Thunderbirds

The UBC Thunderbirds maintain their ranking of 5th in the nation following a road doubleheader against the UBC-Okanagan Heat. The Birds managed to go 2-0 against UBCO with a 97-77 win on Friday followed up with a 92-88 win on Saturday. Brian Wallack scored a team-high 23 points for the Thunderbirds in both games and looks to lead them into some big games next weekend. The UBC TBirds will have a huge home doubleheader to finish off their season next weekend (Feb. 9th and 10th) when they take on the surging Calgary Dinos who found themselves in the Top 10 in the country for the first time last week getting the 10th spot and now being bumped up to #7 this week just 2 spots behind the Thunderbirds. These games will be must-watch as well considering the result will no doubt have an impact not only in the USports top 10 but also in the Canada West Conference playoffs which will be less than 2 weeks away at the times of these games.

#6 in the Nation: University of Manitoba Bisons

The UM Bisons had last week off following their split doubleheader against the UVic Vikes. The Bisons will be back in action Thursday and Saturday where they’ll have a home and home (Thursday at the Wesmen, Saturday Home for Bisons) with the Winnipeg Wesmen where they look to raise their seeding before the CanWest playoffs begin in late February.

#7 in the Nation: University of Calgary Dinos

The UCalgary Dinos have been on a tear recently. They found themselves in the top 10 for the first time last week after a 7-game winning streak including a perfect 6-0 in 2024. The Dinos took on Lethbridge in a home doubleheader and beat them on Friday 99-77 as well as Saturday 90-84 to increase their winning streak to 9 and record a perfect 8-0 in 2024. The Dinos will finish off their season next weekend (Feb. 9th & 10th) in a huge doubleheader at #5 UBC for a likely 5th spot in the country as well as potential CanWest playoff seeding implications making these games a must-watch.

#8 in the Nation: STFX X-Men

The X-Men find themselves dropping from 7th last week to 8th this week after 2 straight losses this past week. The X-Men lost to St. Mary’s 72-62 last Wednesday and followed that up with an 85-77 loss to Cape Breton. The X-Men will try to get back on track this week when they take on Acadia on Wednesday at 7 PM EST and then on Saturday when they take on Cape Breton again looking for a chance at redemption.

#9 in the Nation: UQAM Citadins

UQAM Finds itself ranked 9th in the nation after being unranked the week prior. UQAM extended their win streak to 5 games this past week after back-to-back wins against McGill, winning 99-62 at home on Thursday and 93-59 at McGill on Saturday. UQAM will look to extend their win streak even further this week when they host Laval on Thursday, February 1st at 8 PM EST and when they travel to Laval on Saturday, February 3rd at 8 PM EST.

#10 in the Nation: University of Western Ontario Mustangs

After being ranked 8th in the nation last week, Western finds themselves falling to the final spot in the top 10. Western lost back-to-back games for the first time all season, losing to #3 Queen’s on Friday at home by a score of 92-80. Western then found themselves on their home court to play Ontario Tech the next day (Saturday) and proceeded to lose that game as well by the same 92-80 score. Western will look to put an end to their mini slide when they host the University of Guelph Gryphons on Wednesday January 31st at 8 PM EST and then head up to St. Catharine’s on Saturday February 3rd to take on the Brock Badgers at 8 PM EST.

Missing from the last top 10: TMU Bold

TMU was ranked 9th in the nation last week and finds themselves on the outsides looking in this week after playing one game this past week vs 1-13 Algoma University who had never beaten TMU since they joined the OUA in 2017. That was until this past Friday, January 26th when the Algoma Thunderbirds beat TMU for the first time 71-70 to give the Thunderbirds just their 2nd win of the year. TMU held a 70-69 lead with 14 seconds left and missed both free throws failing to make it a 3-point game Algoma took advantage and hit Jaylen White on a cutting layup plus the foul to put Algoma up 1 with 4 seconds left. White would miss the free throw and time would expire as Algoma pulled off the upset and knocked TMU right out of the Top 10 rankings. TMU will look to bounce back this weekend and climb back into the top 10 when they host Nipissing Friday, February 2nd at 8 PM EST and Saturday, February 3rd when they host Laurentian at 8 PM EST.

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