A common expression in sports, when referring to a massive underdog team in a key game or series is, “they have nothing to lose.”
This is often in reference to a team that has already achieved one of its goals, and on paper would appear to have little chance of creating a gigantic upset.
The UNBC Timberwolves are the ones who should be loosey-goosey when they visit the top-ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears in a best of three Canada West men’s basketball quarter-final series this weekend in Edmonton.
After losing their last 12 and going 4-16 in the 2016-17 season, the UNBC men wanted redemption in 2017-18 by landing one of 12 playoff spots in the 17-team league.
Mission accomplished, after posting a 10-10 record, winning six of eight after the Christmas break.
The next objective for Todd Jordan’s Timberwolves was to become the first UNBC team to win a Canada West playoff game.
Mission accomplished, after a come from behind 71-68 road victory against the Wesmen at the University of Winnipeg.
While UNBC doesn’t want to stop winning at this point, they are in “bonus” territory.
The Timberwolves have already had a successful season, but now the challenge becomes enormous when they take to the court against the heavily favoured Golden Bears.
The two teams haven’t met this season, however, Alberta has won 10 straight to sit 19-1 as the top seed in the conference.
The Golden Bears outscored their opponents by 374 points (1,707 to 1,333).
The Timberwolves were a minus-59 (1,614 points for, 1,673 against).
“We have all the respect in the world for Alberta. They’re a good team, and they’re the defending champs. We know that to have success in this league, eventually you have to go in to Alberta’s barn and get a win,” said UNBC third-year guard Saje Gosal in a news release.
“We are optimistic, we are confident, and we are going to come in and fight. We have been able to watch film on Alberta all year. They have the big guy down low, Brody Clarke, and he is very physical so we have to play strongly against him. They have shooters around him who are able to step up and make big shots,” added the six-foot-four Gosal, who is from Golden.
UNBC has been in Canada West since 2012; this is the first year the Timberwolves have made the playoffs in the same season in men’s and women’s soccer plus men’s and women’s basketball.
The men’s basketball team has shown significant progress and shouldn’t feel any pressure.
They don’t have to worry about putting on “a show” and can use these games against Alberta as a learning experience.
Playing the Golden Bears will be a test to see how far they are from seriously challenging one of the larger universities in the country.
The U-of-A has over 37,000 students compared to 4,000 at UNBC.
Yes, the Timberwolves indeed have nothing to lose.
MBB PREVIEW: Coming off a historic win, @UNBCBasketball faces the top-ranked team in @CanadaWest, the @BearsandPandas this weekend! Hear from @UNBC guard @sajegosalBC7 and get the preview here: https://t.co/H8ePGFMzxD
— UNBC Athletics (@UNBCATHLETICS) February 14, 2018
Here is the tale of the tape between the two teams courtesy of UNBC Sports Information Officer Rich Abney.
- February 16th, 17th, & 18th
- Canada West Men’s Basketball Playoffs
- UNBC @ Alberta
- Friday @ 2PM PT
- Saturday @ 1PM PT
- Sunday @ 12PM PT (If necessary)
- 10th in Canada West Standings
- 80.2 Points Scored Per Game
- 82.9 Points Allowed Per Game
- SCORING LEADER = Jovan Leamy (15.1 Per Game)
- REBOUNDING LEADER = Vaggelis Loukas (7.3 Per Game)
- ASSISTS LEADER = James Agyeman (3.3 Per Game)
- STEALS LEADER = Jovan Leamy (1.4 Per Game)
- BLOCKS LEADER = Vaggelis Loukas (0.5 Per Game)
PLAYER TO WATCH:
- Marcus McKay
- 5th year
- 12.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 37.5 3PT%
ALBERTA GOLDEN BEARS:
- 1st in Canada West Standings
- 85.3 Points Scored Per Game
- 66.7 Points Allowed Per Game
- SCORING LEADER = Austin Waddoups (15.0 Per Game)
- REBOUNDING LEADER = Brody Clarke (8.3 Per Game)
- ASSISTS LEADER = Austin Waddoups (3.9 Per Game)
- STEALS LEADER = Austin Waddoups (1.4 Per Game)
- BLOCKS LEADER = Brody Clarke (1.6 Per Game)
PLAYER TO WATCH:
- Brody Clarke
- 14.9 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 1.4 APG
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
It’s been reported that they’ll be handing out over 100,000 condoms in the Olympic Village. After hearing about it, Americans everywhere said, “Now that’s the show we want to watch.”
*Conan O’Brien of TBS
A fake Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un were thrown out of the Olympic opening ceremonies. But only because organizers thought they were both real.
*Comedy writer Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va., http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/
Norwegians switched red for blue uniforms in speed skating this Olympics after Norwegian scientists claimed “blue is faster than other colors.” And they say baseball players are superstitious.
*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com
Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta had to evacuate his home after it became infested with scorpions. Guess they thought he plays for the (OHL’s) Sarnia Sting.
*Marc Ragovin of New York
New York Strippers are on strike. They planned on working Philadelphia, but did not when they were told that poles there were coated with Crisco and hydraulic fluid.
*Comedy writer TC Chong of Vancouver
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
A man frolicked buck naked for over two minutes on a fairway during the Phoenix pro-am. And where better than the Waste Management Open to show off your junk?
*Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com
Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT.
He also is the 94.3 radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to firstname.lastname@example.org
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