Previewing AUS basketball’s opening night

HALIFAX, NS – With the AUS basketball season starting tonight, here are my predictions on how Friday night’s games will swing.

The women’s games start at 6 p.m. AST, so let’s start there.

St. Francis Xavier University vs. University of New Brunswick

St. Francis Xavier University should find themselves coming out on top tonight. Ranking seventh in my preseason predictions, the University of New Brunswick lost their top scorer, Mikaela Dodig.

Look for Kimberly Kingsbury to return to her 2018-19 form as she will be tested against the second-ranked defence in the 2019-20 season.

While UNB had the second-ranked defence, it may not be enough to overcome the X-Women. 

Final score prediction: StFX 64-58 UNB

Saint Mary’s University vs. Acadia University

Although Saint Mary’s University ranks just under Acadia University in my season predictions, predicting a loss on Acadia’s opening night would be foolish. 

With Jayda Veinot returning, look for her to be the best scorer in the game.

As for players to keep your eye on, Samantha Russell and Elizabeth Beals-Iseyemi both looked awesome in the preseason.

SMU could steal this game with their 3-point shooting and the playmaking of Alaina McMillan, but Acadia should have this one on lock.

Player to watch: Jayda Veinot

Final score prediction: Acadia 83-68 SMU

Dalhousie University vs. Cape Breton University

Although I called Cape Breton University a wild card, they should be able to be victorious over Dalhousie University.

As Dalhousie continues to find their team identity with an extremely young roster and a new coach, it will take time for this team to begin to make noise.

Watch out for MacKenzee Ryan, who becomes the definite number one option on the team.

Player to watch: MacKenzee Ryan

Final score prediction: Cape Breton 75-58 Dalhousie

With the men’s games set to start at 8 p.m. AST tonight, let’s see how I believe it will kick off.

Dalhousie University vs. Cape Breton University

With the 2019-20 MVP, Keevan Veinot, returning for his final season, there is no doubt he is a must-watch. Whether it is the energizing dunks or tough shots he makes, make sure you pay close attention to Veinot.

In Dalhousie University’s preseason game against Cape Breton University, the Tigers won 85-62. While it was a convincing win, Cape Breton convincingly won their two other preseason games, as you cannot take Cape Breton lightly. 

Expect the Tigers to take the victory; however, do not be surprised if CBU makes it a challenge in their home opener.

Player to watch: Keevan Veinot

Final score prediction: Dalhousie 93-78 Cape Breton

Saint Mary’s University vs. Acadia University

This is a game where Saint Mary’s University will have the opportunity to get off to the right start. 

Acadia University is not the strongest team, as they lost all preseason games by an average point differential of 20.8.

SMU will have the chance to replicate their 90-71 preseason win over Acadia and send a message to the league. 

Player to watch: Qyemah Gibson

Final score prediction: SMU 98-74 Acadia

St. Francis Xavier University vs. University of New Brunswick

This will be the most exciting matchup of opening night—the number two ranked team against the number four ranked team (according to my predictions). 

St. Francis Xavier University, my second-ranked team, had an impressive win over Dalhousie, which perhaps could spark a lot of momentum. David Muenkat dropped 28 points and 20 rebounds in this game; expect him to be a force once again.

StFX won 70-58 in their preseason clash, and I would expect a similar score in this one.

Watch out for the University of New Brunswick star, Chris Spurrell, to keep UNB in the game and for Avan Nava to shine.

Player to watch: David Muenkat

Final score prediction: StFX 72-61 UNB

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