On Sunday, Feb. 28th, James Madison University will play host to four other East Coast Region schools in the fifth annual BEAST Tournament. BEAST V was scheduled for earlier this year, but due to gym renovations at JMU, the tourney was rescheduled for the 28th. Despite this sudden change, JMU managed to get a 5-team event planned, and it should be a very telling weekend for East Coast dodgeball. Here is a brief game-by-game preview of BEAST V with brief analysis and predictions from Sean Smith (TU) and myself:
James Madison vs. Towson
Kevin Bailey- JMU def TU 2-0
The first game of the day may be one of the most tense. JMU will take on TU for the second time this year. The first match ended 3-0 in favor of the Dukes. Due to Towson’s lack of game experience so far this year, I think it will be another victory for JMU in the lopsided rivalry. Towson will gain some valuable experience in this game against one of the top teams in the league.
Sean Smith- JMU def TU 3-0
Had we had more practice I think we can take a point but JMU has talent and practice time to their advantage.
Virginia vs. Virginia Commonwealth
KB- UVA def VCU 4-2
Maybe the most anticipated match of the day is this one. Virginia will have their inaugural match against VCU. I don’t know much about either of these teams, but I am going to go with my gut and say UVA has some athletes! Give me the Cavaliers by two!
SS- VCU def UVA 3-2
While I’d have fun predicting what would be an actual upset, despite what our ranking systems claim, I can’t. I do see a lot of points though, because with new teams and lower tier teams like VCU I can see a lot of mistakes being made and a lot of points being scored.
Maryland vs. Towson
KB- TU def UMD 3-2 (OT)
Oh boy. This game never disappoints. The rivalry between UMD and TU will be renewed on Sunday at the BEAST. I can’t wait to see how this one ends up. Despite TU having a bit of a disadvantage with their limited practice schedule over the past few months, I think they will come away with a clutch victory that may springboard them into a successful second half to the season.
SS- TU def UMD 3-2 (OT)
We might as well go straight to overtime with UMD because I feel like it’s gonna happen every match now. UMD has one more tournament under the belt, but Towson is more talented. Talent wins out.
James Madison vs. Virginia
KB- JMU def UVA 7-0
This game will feature the most established EC team against the least experienced. Allow me to dream for a second and consider the scenario that goes down if Virginia goes in there and beats the best team in the East. Wow, that would be wild. Bit back to reality, I think JMU runs away with this one as they continue their undefeated 2015-16 season.
SS- JMU def UVA 7-0
JMU is too good. The other teams are either too new, or just not ready to take a jump yet.
James Madison vs. Maryland
KB- JMU def UMD 3-0
JMU will take on UMD in the third round of this one. I am not sure what to expect from UMD, but it would be a huge surprise if they can pull an upset on the home team.
SS- JMU def UMD 3-1
I’d be surprised to see 4 points scored, but I think UMD won’t lose by any less than two. I see UMD picking up one point at least, so that’s the spread I’m going with.
Virginia Commonwealth vs. Towson
KB- TU def VCU 5-0
VCU against Towson is another lopsided matchup on the east coast. I don’t expect that to change this weekend. Look for TU to gain some momentum with a big win.
SS- TU def VCU 3-1
We’ll be pretty beat after two tough matches in a row. We’ll want to get some younger guys a lot of run and give our top guys a break. VCU steals a point and maybe gets numbers lower, but if need be the older guys will step in and lock it down.
James Madison vs. Virginia Commonwealth
KB- JMU def VCU 5-0
JMU vs. VCU will be a good opportunity for both teams. JMU can continue to improve and gain experience for their younger players, while VCU will get a chance to play a top level team in the NCDA. JMU should win this one with very little drama.
SS- JMU def. VCU 6-0
Same as JMU vs. UVA: JMU is too good. These teams are either too new, or just not ready to take a jump yet.
Maryland vs. Virginia
KB- UMD def UVA 4-0
UMD against UVA could be an interesting game depending on how talented the new squad from Virginia is. UMD has too much talent at the top of their roster for this to go to a new, inexperienced team.
SS- UMD def UVA 5-0
I just want to see UMD play fast enough to get to 5.
Towson vs. Virginia
KB- TU def UVA 4-1
The last round of games includes this first match ever between UVA and TU. Towson, just like Maryland, has too much talent on the top end of their roster for this game to fall out of their hands. Towson will take a win streak into March with a win in this one to finish the day.
SS- TU def UVA 4-0
Under no circumstances will I give my brother’s alma mater a chance at getting a point. Yes that is my real reasoning: bragging rights.
Virginia Commonwealth vs. Maryland
KB- UMD def VCU 5-1
Last match of the day will be between UMD and VCU. Maryland is one of those teams that I expect to be in a rhythm come Nationals, and I think this game will be a chance for them to kick-start their offense a bit. I know that VCU is immensely improved from a year ago, but I’ll take the Terps in a blowout.
SS- UMD def VCU 5-0
Same as UMD vs. UVA: I just want to see UMD play fast enough to get to 5.