The #9 nationally ranked Manitoba Bisons (regular season: 15-5; playoffs: 2-0) have advanced to the Canada West men’s basketball Final Four, for the first time in program’s history, being held at #1 seed and CIS ranked #4 Calgary Dinos on March 11-12 weekend.

Manitoba finished third in Pioneer Division while Calgary was first in the Pioneer Division; the two teams split the season series and a Manitoba win against Calgary earns a berth into the 2016 CIS championship

The Bisons will play the Dinos (regular season: 17-3; playoffs: 2-0) in the semifinal game on Friday, March 11 at 9 p.m. CT in Calgary. The playoff game can be seen live on the website. A Manitoba win against Calgary earns a berth into the 2016 CIS championship.

At the Final Four, the first game will be #2 seed and CIS ranked #6 UBC against #3 seed Thompson Rivers on Friday at 7 p.m. CT. The winners of both first matches will play in the championship final on Saturday, March 12 at 9 p.m. CT while the teams defeated in the semifinal games will play in the bronze medal match on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT.

If Manitoba loses against Calgary, the Bisons might have a second chance for a CIS berth if UBC wins the other semifinal contest. There are two Canada West berths plus the host UBC gaining entry into the 2016 CIS men’s basketball championship.

During this season, Manitoba and Calgary met twice in conference action. They battle during the second weekend of the 2015-16 season at Manitoba and split the two game series (Bisons won 96-90 in OT on Nov. 13/15; Bisons lost 90-87 in OT on Nov. 14/15).

The Bisons are on a roll as they have not lost in nine consecutive games (seven in regular season and two in playoffs) and were last defeated at Lethbridge on Jan. 22/16.

Manitoba is seeking to play in a CIS men’s basketball championship for the first time since 1985.

Bison men’s basketball - 2016 Canada West Final Four schedule

Fri., March 11
Semifinal: #9 Manitoba vs. #4 Calgary at 9 p.m. CT in Calgary

Sat., March 12
Bronze/Gold medal games at 7/9 p.m. CT

Bison Notes: Manitoba has beaten several CIS ranked men’s basketball teams so far this season (at Saskatchewan; Calgary and UBC).

(#4 seed) Manitoba Bisons – Men’s Basketball: 2016 Final Four Preview

  • 2015-16 CW regular season record: (15-5)
  • 2015-16 CW regular season finish:  3rd, Pioneer Division 
  • 2015-16 CW regular season head-to-head record vs. Final Four Teams: (2-2) Calgary: 1-1; UBC: 1-1; Thompson Rivers 0-0

Last CW Championship & Total CW Championships: None, 0

Last CIS Championship & Total CIS Championships: 1975-76, 1

2015-16 leaders:

  • Points per game: 17.9 – AJ Basi, guard
  • Assists per game: 3.8 – Ilarion Bonhomme, guard and Keith Omoerah, guard/forward
  • Steals per game: 2.1 – Keith Omoerah, guard/forward
  • Rebounds per game: 9.8 – Wyatt Anders, forward and Keith Omoerah, guard/forward
  • Blocks per game: 0.6 – Wyatt Anders, forward
  • Shooting percentage: 55.6% – Jonathan Alexander, forward

Key performer: 

  • Keith Omoerah
  • Guard/Forward
  • 3rd year
  • Winnipeg, MB

Omoerah, 24, played in his third season with the Bisons and had an outstanding season in Canada West as he was selected 2015-16 Canada West Second Team All-Star. Omoerah’s season is all the more remarkable as he returned to Manitoba after a three-year absence and last played at the U of Manitoba campus in the 2011-12 season. The Winnipeg native was one of many factors in the Bisons finishing with a 15-5 conference regular season record and hosting conference playoffs for the first time since the 2003-04 season. He almost finished the season averaging a double-double with 13.2 points per game (32nd in the Canada West) and 9.8 rebounds (fourth in conference) while starting and playing in all 20 conference regular season games.

The 6’5”, 205 lbs. guard/forward showed his versatility as he also added 3.8 assists per game, good for a tie for fourth in Canada West and 2.1 steals per game, tied for fifth in the conference. In addition, Omoerah was fourth in conference minutes played per game at 34.1, was 18th in field goal shooting percentage at 49.1% plus his offensive rebounds per game at 2.4 was tied for seventh in Canada West while defensive rebounds per game total of 7.4 was first in the conference.

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