Who is in the hunt?

Adam Williams, Sports Editor Ω

With just more than two weeks left in the Canada West regular season the playoff picture is taking shape. Which of TRU’s teams is headed for the post-season and who’s going home empty handed? Below is The Omega’s analysis of TRU’s playoff chances.

Men’s Basketball

Record: 6-11
Games remaining: 5

Canada West Pacific Division Standings:

UBC – 28 points (1st)
Victoria – 22 points (2nd)
UFV – 18 points (3rd)
TWU – 14 points (4th)
——-
TRU – 12 points (5th)

Analysis:

With back-to-back losses against the University of Victoria, the men’s basketball team is in tough in the Pacific Division of Canada West. They sit two points out of the fourth and final playoff spot, with just five games to go in the season. Unfortunately they have played one more game than most of the league, so their competition has a leg up.

It’s very possible that TRU’s season will be decided this week, as they play Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 against Trinity Western University (TWU). TWU currently holds the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division, so for TRU to have a shot at the playoffs they’ll need to win one, if not both games. The situation is further complicated by the fact that TWU has two games remaining against the 2-15 UBCO Heat.

The basketball team is going to need some help from their opponents to see the playoffs this year. The Omega predicts they will have to win four of their five remaining games to guarantee a playoff spot.

The Omega’s prediction:

The men fall just short of the playoffs, splitting action against TWU, losing both games against the University of Fraser Valley (UFV) and winning their final game against UBCO. TWU will win both games against UBCO and put the playoffs out of reach.

Women’s Basketball

Record: 12-5
Games remaining: 5

Canada West Pacific Division Standings:

UFV – 26 points (1st)
UBC – 24 points (2nd)
TRU – 24 points (3rd)
Victoria – 22 points (4th)
——-
UNBC – 12 points (5th)

Analysis:

The women have booked a ticket to the playoffs, all that stands to be decided is whether they will host a first round matchup in Kamloops. Right now, UBC holds the tiebreaker over TRU, with games remaining against Victoria, Mount Royal and UNBC. TRU has a much tougher schedule, with games against UFV, Mount Royal and UBCO remaining.

TRU has already won two games against Mount Royal and destroyed UBCO 91-54 in their only game against them this season. The University of Fraser Valley is another story however, they’ve lost just three games this season, all of which came against top-four teams in the Prairie Division. Not only that, but all three losses came on the road after significant travel.

The Omega’s prediction:

UBC wins five of their final six games putting them at 34 points. TRU wins four of five, beating Mount Royal twice, UFV once and finishing the season off with a win against UBCO. TRU will wrap up the season with 32 points and fall just short of playing at home in the first round.

TRU will face either Calgary or Regina in the first round of the playoffs, as the visiting team.

Men’s Volleyball

Record: 6-12
Games remaining: 4

Canada West Standings:

Alberta – 36 points (1st)
TWU – 26 points (2nd)
Manitoba – 24 points (3rd)
Saskatchewan – 24 points (4th)
UBC – 24 points (5th)
Brandon – 20 points (6th)
Winnipeg – 16 points (7th)
——-
Mount Royal – 14 points (8th)
Calgary – 12 points (9th)
TRU – 12 points (10th)

Analysis:

Back-to-back losses in Calgary has put the men’s basketball team’s chances of a playoff berth on life-support. Their final two games of the season come against Mount Royal and Winnipeg, two teams ahead of them in the standings, so they will have some semblance of control over their fate. Unfortunately, if their games against Calgary are any indication, the high-pressure situation might be a stumbling block for TRU.

If TRU runs the table and wins their final four games it would almost certainly guarantee they would see the playoffs. Mount Royal has gone 3-3 since Christmas and Winnipeg has gone 2-4, so TRU’s main competition hasn’t been perfect either. Winnipeg still has two games to play against last place UBCO. Mount Royal and Calgary will both be facing off against top-five teams in the coming weeks.

The Omega’s prediction:

The men have lost five of six since the Christmas break, getting swept 3-0 in four of those games. Brandon and Winnipeg both have two games against UBCO remaining and can put the playoffs close to out of reach for TRU with victories in those games (Winnipeg and TRU would go to a tiebreak if TRU wins the remainder of their games and Winnipeg wins both games against UBCO).

The Omega predicts it’s too little, too late for the ‘Pack, who will win two of four and finish on the outside looking in of the playoffs.

Women’s Volleyball

Record: 0-18
Games remaining: 4

Canada West Standings

UBC – 34 points (1st)
TWU – 32 points (2nd)
Alberta – 26 points (3rd)
Mount Royal – 24 points (4th)
UBCO – 22 points (5th)
Calgary – 18 points (6th)
Manitoba – 18 points (7th)
——-
TRU – 0 points (12th)

Analysis:

The women’s volleyball team is in the midst of a rebuild – seven of their 10 players are first-year students and are getting their first taste of university-level volleyball. The team should remain largely intact next season, with no senior players being lost to graduation and the WolfPack will reap the benefits of that. The WolfPack should also be welcoming back Brianne Rauch and Morgan Kolasa who have missed significant time this year with injuries.

The women’s volleyball team will need to put this season behind them as quickly as possible; there is plenty to be learned from a season like this, but hanging on to those lessons for too long will impact them negatively. Recruitment and retention will be key for head coach Keith Lundgren and the WolfPack moving forward – rebuilding depends on it.