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UVic Vikes set for Canada West hoops battles in Kamloops against Thompson Rivers

UVic visits Kamloops on Friday and Saturday
Mimi Sigue and the Vikes are ready for a pair against the WolfPack. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

The University of Victoria Vikes had an eventful bye week in the U Sports national top-10 men’s basketball rankings without dribbling a ball or taking a shot in game action.

The Vikes went from No.1 last week to No. 2 this week without playing a game. It all comes down to computerized algorithms that weigh different factors and spit out a ranking of teams.

The University of Ottawa Gee Gees (13-2 in conference) jumped from No. 3 to No. 1. UVic (12-2 in Canada West) dropped to No. 2 and the Carleton Ravens (11-4), the other half of the Ottawa power duo with the Gee Gees, went down one spot to No. 3. Ontario teams dominate the top-five with the Queen’s Golden Gaels No. 4 and Brock Badgers No. 5. Four Canada West squads are cited along with UVic with the Alberta Golden Bears (9-5) at No. 6, Manitoba Bisons (13-1) at No. 8 and UBC Thunderbirds (9-5) at No. 9.

“It’s a mathematical formula. While the recognition is nice we don’t think about the rankings too much. We keep our minds in the present,” said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp.

The present is a Canada West set Friday and Saturday in Kamloops against the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack (5-9). Thompson Rivers was 5-5 in conference before losing their last four games. But Beaucamp is wary, if only because of the WolfPack’s near-unique-in-Canada style of play based on the Princeton offence of cohesive five-player units in perpetual motion with on- and off-ball picks and back-door cuts.

“[The WolfPack] play so much differently than almost any other team in U Sports with a pure Princeton-style offence,” said Beaucamp.

“You don’t see that too often and it’s unique in U Sports. So it was good to have a week off to prepare for TRU and their style of play. They have always played us tough. And being on the road can be a slippery slope.”

The electric third-year UVic shooting guard Diego Maffia headed into the bye week after being named U Sports men’s basketball player of the week for his combined 56 points and 13 assists in the Vikes sweep of the University of Northern B.C. Timberwolves two weeks ago in CARSA gymnasium.

Meanwhile, the UVic Vikes women’s team is 5-9 in Canada West as it looks to its games at TRU this weekend against the 1-13 WolfPack. Defending Canada West scoring champion Ashlyn Day, with her uncanny internal gyro around the basket whether driving or shooting, is tied for first in the league this season with Kyanna Giles of the University of Winnipeg with a 20.4 points-per-game average.

Following the games in ­Kamloops, the Vikes will return home before heading to Kelowna Feb. 3-4 for games against the UBC-Okanagan Heat.