This week's not-to-miss match: Thunderbirds basketball both set to host Huskies in Courtside home-opener

What do you call an unbelievable story about a basketball team? A tall tale.

All jokes aside, we hope the men’s and women’s basketball teams have storybook starts to their 2018/19 campaigns at Courtside on Friday night — their home openers. We’ve already highlighted some of UBC’s top talent going into the season in our ones to watch series, so let’s break down what both teams are set to face in the form of the Saskatchewan Huskies men’s and women’s teams.

On the women’s side, the Huskies won four of five in pre-season, with their only loss coming at the hands of McMaster University in Ryerson’s tournament — they lost by just one point. Summer Masikewich and Sabine Dukate have been the offensive forces for Saskatchewan, as both sat in the top three scorers for the team in each pre-season game. Dukate notched an impressive 28 points against Regina — the highest total for any Huskies player pre-Canada West play. Both will be ones for UBC’s defense to keep an eye on.

On the whole, though, most of the Huskies match-ups have been incredibly close, with Saskatchewan taking the lead in the latter half of the game. If UBC can either take the lead out the gate, or hold the Huskies off any late surge, they should be able to secure their first win of the season.

For the men’s side, the Huskies have recorded just two losses in seven pre-season match-ups. Lawrence Moore is the top gun for UBC to shut down, as he has posted strong numbers for Saskatchewan.That said, new T-Bird Jadon Cohee has been equally as impressive — he has been at or near the top of UBC’s stats sheet in all of their pre-season contests. It will be a showdown of offensive powerhouses on the court on Friday, that’s for sure.

UBC scrambles for the ball in the paint.
UBC scrambles for the ball in the paint. Elizabeth Wang

As a whole, the Thunderbirds will have to be on the lookout for the offensive break. The Huskies have been capitalizing on turnovers well, much more so than the T-Birds. UBC has only managed a pre-season high of 18 points on turnovers in a game, while the Huskies are sitting on a pre-season high of 38. When the Huskies win, they win big as well — in four games, they posted at least 30 more points then their opponent.

It will be up to UBC to keep the Huskies contained, especially since they play a consistent game across all quarters.

Deb Huband’s women’s team gets Courtside started at 6 p.m. on Friday at War Memorial Gym, with Kevin Hanson’s men’s squad rounding out the night at 8 p.m. Evidently, both will face Huskies teams that have impressed so far in preseason.

~ With files from Scott Young