The Humber Hawks of Ontario are the defending national champions for men's basketball.

Preview: 2015-16 CCAA basketball season

Humber Hawks, of the OCAA, are the defending champions

College basketball is just around the corner Canada.

Although fans will have to wait for the official pre-season Canadian College Athletic Association (CCAA) rankings, there’s no harm in taking an early season look on the key teams/players as league play is less than a month away.

Ontario College Athletic Association (OCAA) – Ontario 

Last year’s representative: Humber Hawks (first place), Mohawk Mountaineers (host – fourth place)

A review of the CCAA has to begin with the reigning national champs, the Humber Hawks (Toronto).

The team has had an inconsistent pre-season thus far. It defeated Seton Hill – a NCAA D2 team – in late August only to be stomped by trio of CIS programs in McMaster (Sept. 30, 89-60), Ryerson (Aug.1, 79-65) and Western University (Oct.2, 95-45).

Despite some noticeable players leaving (Chad Bewley, RJ Ramirez, Junior Davis, Tyrone Dickson), I think Humber repeats as Ontario champions, but don’t come close on the national stage.

The OCAA gets two representatives into this year’s tournament via the wild card – based off the league’s performance in the last three national tournaments – with this year again being wide open.

Every season in this league it takes teams everything they have to get out of – in particular the West, where many of the best clubs hold court.

It really is a shame that the OCAA can’t send two from the West as a number of squads (e.g. Sheridan, Mohawk, Fanshawe) have routinely outplayed the East’s best in years past.

With all that being said, I say Durham College advances on the other side.

Projected national representatives: Humber Hawks (conference champions), Durham College (wildcard)

Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) – British Columbia

Last year’s representatives: Langara Falcons (sixth place), Vancouver Island University (second place)

Out west – in the PACWEST that is – one of its teams has appeared in the last three national finals, twice claiming the ultimate prize in that span.

Traditionally very top-heavy, meaning there are a few perennial contenders (Vancouver Island University (VIU) and Langara College aside), weaker teams tend to get beat up in this league each year.

This season provides an interesting narrative, however.

The PACWEST gets two teams through to nationals via the second wild card and you can bank on VIU returning and even challenging for the national title again.

But after that it’s murky.

Langara is younger than it has been in recent memory with nine, first-year players, and Quest – while talented – has repeatedly shown its inability to get over the hump when it matters most.

I see the Douglas Royals surprising everyone and meeting VIU in the finals.

Projected national representatives: VIU (conference champions), Douglas Royals (wildcard)

Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) – Alberta

Last year’s representatives: Lethbridge Kodiaks (third place), Medicine Hat Rattlers (seventh place)

The Albertan conference has been gaining steam of late on the national stage.

Medicine Hat and Lethbridge qualified last year with the latter claiming bronze  – this despite the fact that it was actually the Red Deer Kings, who finished first in the south conference, with 19 wins and the best overall record.

The Kings were upset in the first round but have reloaded with a talented bunch and are confident in their chances this time around, and I’m inclined to agree with them. They should medal.

The Albertan teams also have home-court advantage as Keyano College – located in the heart of the oil sands – are the 2016 host.

Projected national representatives: Red Deer College (conference champions), Keyano College (host)

Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) – Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia

Last year’s representatives: Holland Hurricanes (fifth place)

The Holland Hurricanes reign supreme over in the Atlantic conference coming off three consecutive appearances in the big dance.

The team already is trending in the right direction as it’s off to a quick 3-0 start despite losing decorated big man, Chase Bowden, in the off-season.

The ACAA has historically been the weakest division in Canada however with the league’s representative struggling to get results against Canada’s best.

In the past 35 years the ACAA has the recorded just five medals – the lowest total of all the leagues and has yet to capture gold. Its best-ever, silver medal finish came in a 2013 Cinderella run by Holland.

With powerful teams reloading in the OCAA, PACWEST and ACAC, it doesn’t look hopeful that the ACAC will reach the podium this year.

Projected national representatives: Holland Hurricanes (conference champions)

Reseau du sport etudiant du Quebec (RSEQ – Quebec

Last year’s representative: Champlain St. Lambert Cavaliers (eighth place)

The RSEQ has struggled to find results on the national stage of late.

This division hasn’t reached the podium in the last four tournaments with its lone representative, Champlain College, finishing dead last in 2015.

The RSEQ is a three-team race between Champlain, John Abbott College and Vanier College.

Justin Owen-Renwick looks poised to have a big year across the board for the John Abbott Islanders after his showing at the 21st annual Vikings Invitational.

I look for him to be a big reason his team punches its berth to Fort McMurray come March.

Projected national representative: John Abbott College (conference champions)

Have a different opinion? Follow Jose on Twitter @coloradourb and have your say.

2 comments:

  1. In the PacWest there seemingly will be a lot of ‘PARITY’ this season. Every team outside of Kwantlen (who is unjustly having their varsity program terminated after 2015-16 calendar season under the guise of Athletic Budget/Health & Wellness lies) should be able to beat their opponent in any given game. VIU has reloaded with 2 new US imports and is the tallest team frontcourt wise in the PacWest. Both Quest & Douglas are looking strong early on as they each bring back a nice core of veterans along with some talented newcomers. Capilano has a really interesting team that plays extra hard thus it wouldn’t surprise me to see them near the top of the PacWest standings as their season progresses. Langara has a really young team- barring any mid season additions, and seemingly will not be as dominate as in the recent past as their youngsters get up to speed but never sleep on an Ebe coached team. Camosun has a nice roster mix that should benefit them over the course of the regular season led by a CIS transfer point guard from TRU. Columbia Bible has an East coast connection going on with 1 returning player from New York and 2 new recruits coming in from Baltimore- think Alvin Parker (Holland/NAIT), depending on if they can both ball out plus if the rest of their roster is solid they could sneak up on teams this season. Kwantlen has lost some good talent due to their unexpected termination of varsity athletics announcement this past summer but the players they do have making up their team hopefully will play to the best of their abilities no matter the dark cloud hanging over their program. #ATribeCalledQuestRunsThePacWest

    Unofficial 2015-16 CCAA MBB Rankings:

    1. Holland (ACAA)
    2. Vancouver Island (PACWEST)
    3. Mohawk (OCAA)
    4. Red Deer (ACAC)
    5. Humber (OCAA)
    6. John Abbott (RSEQ)
    7. NAIT (ACAC)
    8. Quest (PACWEST)
    9. Crandall (ACAA)
    10. Medicine Hat (ACAC)
    11. Douglas (PACWEST)
    12. Lethbridge (ACAC)
    13. Durham (OCAA)
    14. Champlain (RSEQ)
    15. Georgian (OCAA)

    Honorable Mention: Vanier (RSEQ), Capilano (PACWEST), Concordia (ACAC), Mt St Vincent (ACAA) & Lambton (OCAA).

    Teams That Could Surprise In League Play: La Cite (OCAA), Columbia Bible (PACWEST), Augustana (ACAC), Dawson (RSEQ) & Mount Allison (ACAA).

    1. Revised Preseason Rankings:

      1. Holland (ACAA)
      2. Vancouver Island (PACWEST)
      3. Mohawk (OCAA)
      4. Red Deer (ACAC)
      5. Humber (OCAA)
      6. John Abbott (RSEQ)
      7. NAIT (ACAC)
      8. Quest (PACWEST)
      9. Crandall (ACAA)
      10. Medicine Hat (ACAC)
      11. Sheridan (OCAA)
      12. Douglas (PACWEST)
      13. Keyano (ACAC)
      14. Champlain (RSEQ)
      15. Mt St Vincent (ACAA)

      Honorable Mention: Vanier (RSEQ), Capilano (PACWEST), Lethbridge (ACAC), St Thomas (ACAA) & Lambton (OCAA)

      Teams That Could Surprise In League Play: Georgian (OCAA), Columbia Bible (PACWEST), Concordia (ACAC), Dawson (RSEQ) & Mount Allison (ACAA)

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