KELOWNA, BC – The 20-game Canada West men's basketball schedule has the UBC Okanagan Heat opening on the road at the end of October in Victoria. The two-game set on the Island starts the season on October 27-28.
The Heat's home opener will be against another traditional BC rival in the Thompson Rivers WolfPack, however the opener will be far from traditional.
The Heat open their home schedule with a pair of matinees against TRU at the beginning of November with a 2 p.m. tip-off on Saturday, Nov. 4 and then a 3 p.m. tip on Sunday, Nov. 3.
Staying at home in November the gym on the Okanagan campus will host the Alberta Golden Bears on a regular Friday Saturday set with the two games on November 10-11.
Another BC road trip will close out the month with a trip to Abbotsford for a pair against the UFV Cascades, the last road trip of the semester on November 24-25.
The final action in the Kelowna gym in 2017 will open December with Dec. 1-2 welcoming the Manitoba Bisons. The first time the Winnipeg squad will play UBCO in a pair of games.
2018 the Heat will open the New Year on the road in Prince George with a pair of games against long-time rival the UNBC Timberwolves.
The first of the two home weekends for Pete Guarasci and his squad in January will be on Jan. 12-13 when the Heat host the Saskatchewan Huskies.
After hosting the sled dogs from Saskatoon UBC Okanagan will spend their first nights out of province when they travel to Calgary to play the Dinos, last year's host of the Canada West Final Four.
The end of the month will be a weekend on many calendars in Kelowna when UBC plays at UBC Okanagan on Jan. 26-27. The inter-campus rivalry, always an outstanding event for fans, will be accentuated this season as the Thunderbirds boast three Kelowna Owls on their projected roster.
With the new playoff structure starting this year in Canada West the regular season will come to a close earlier than ever before, for UBC Okanagan this means that conference play ends in Winnipeg against the Wesmen on February 2-3.
For the second consecutive season, ratings performance index (RPI) will be used to seed playoff teams, while win/loss records will again be used to determine playoff qualification. The CW RPI was implemented last season to account for varying strengths of schedules, resulting from the conference's unbalanced schedule.
While RPI remains, the formula used to calculate it doesn't. Alterations have been made to the RPI formula, following review by Canada West's sport committee. The new formula, listed below, has been amended to both increase the value of a team's win/loss record, while reducing the value assigned for away wins and increasing the value for home wins.
In addition to the altered RPI formula, a new playoff format is also coming to CW basketball this season, as the conference eliminated the CW Final Four tournament in favour of a one-game championship hosted by the highest remaining seed.
The number of playoff teams (12) has not changed from last season. The first round of conference playoffs will see the top four seeds earn byes, while the remaining eight teams will play single-elimination games (12 @ 5, 11 @ 6, 10 @ 7, and 9 @ 8) between February 8 and 11.
The conference quarter-finals (best-of-threes) are set for February 15-18, the CW semis (best-of-three) February 22-25, and finally the CW Finals (and bronze medal games if necessary to determine national tournament berths) March 2 or 3.
U SPORTS nationals are slated for March 8-11, with the men's event returns to Halifax again for a second consecutive year.
Fans will have access to every conference game on the road to nationals this season on Canada West TV – the conference's official streaming platform – as every men's and women's conference regular season and playoff game will be streamed in 2017-18.