It would have been fitting if Craig Beaucamp and Dani Sinclair had the Bachman Turner Overdrive classic Takin’ Care of Business piped into McKinnon gym during the University of Victoria Vikes basketball practices this week.
With just four games left in the regular season — including a home-and-home series with arch rival UBC next weekend — it’s all about playoff positioning for both Vikes teams now as they head to Calgary for key games against the Mount Royal Cougars tonight and Saturday.
Beaucamp’s UVic men hold down second spot in the Canada West standings with a 13-5 record. The top two teams will host best-of-three first-round playoff series against the third- and fourth-place teams from the Prairie Division. The UBC Thunderbirds, winners of their last 10 games, lead the Pacific Division standings with a 16-2 record. But even with an outside shot at finishing first, Beaucamp says his team can’t look past a gritty Mount Royal team that has struggled in its first CIS season, currently sitting second-to-last with a 3-15 record.
“Sure, those last two games against UBC could be big, but only if we do our job this weekend,” said Beaucamp, whose club is on a six-game winning streak.
“And it won’t be easy. Mount Royal’s record is a little deceiving in that they’ve played a lot of close matches, especially at home. They are an athletic team, which poses a lot of challenges for us.”
And no matter what third-place Fraser Valley does this weekend, a pair of wins at Mount Royal would lock up at least second spot for the Vikes.
“Our two goals have always been to make the playoffs and then host a first-round series, so this weekend we can accomplish that,” Beaucamp said. “Obviously, first place would be nice and you would then have a chance to host the Canada West Final Four, but really, with the cross-over playoffs, top two is what you aim for, and we get that by coming out [today] and playing a real strong game.”
Terrell Davis continues to lead the way for the Vikes. The fourth-year forward from Las Vegas is ninth in Canada West scoring, averaging 17.6 points per game. The Cougars top scorer is Awet Abraha who is 17th in Canada West scoring with a 14.9 average.
Sinclair’s women’s Vikes locked up a playoff spot last weekend. They sit in fourth place with a 13-5 record, but the playoff-bound teams are bunched up with Fraser Valley leading the way at 15-3, followed by UBC at 14-4 and Trinity Western at 14-5.
A pair of games against the 5-13 Cougars could be just what the Vikes need to jump into one of the top two spots.
“We know we control our own fate [in terms of finishing in the top two], and that’s always what you want,” Sinclair said. “But if we don’t do what we’re supposed to do this weekend, we lose that and then have to rely on getting help, and that’s not something we want to do.
“So we’re taking this weekend very seriously.”
The Vikes bring the conference’s fifth best offence into Mount Royal, led by Debbie Yeboah’s 18.2 points per game. And even though the Cougars are one of the lowest scoring teams in Canada West (60 points per game), Sinclair knows when you’re on the road, nothing comes easy.
“Any time you play on the road, especially back-to-back, it’s very tough,” she said. “And Mount Royal is a very big and physical team so we’ll have our work cut out for us.”