Here are some of my questions as we head into the 10th season of NCDA Dodgeball!
Is this the beginning of a new Laker Dynasty?
The Lakers lose Jeremy Stempky from their roster at Nationals 2013, but they return such a huge part of their unit that they could be even better next year. I think that the days of a perfect season are long gone, but there’s no reason to think that GVSU can’t win a second title in a row.
Can Kent play even MORE games in 2013-2014?
Kent State played 28 games in 2012, and 34 in 2013. In 2013 their schedule was very loaded in the Fall, but they had most of the Spring off, so it’s not inconceivable to think that they could up the ante in 2013-2014 and hit 40 (!!!) games.
Who will be NCDA MVP in 2014?
The two previous NCDA MVPs (Spencer Jardine of SVSU and Mark Trippiedi of GVSU) were not only the captains of the NCDA Champion, but also legitimate star players for the league. Combining those two tidbits, I’d say your favorite for the 2014 MVP is Kevin Bailey of GVSU. He’s a superstar and is the captain of the probable title favorites going into 2013-2014, so if I had to put money down on one player, it’d be him.
Which team is set to make the biggest leap in 2013-2014?
Wisconsin-Platteville would be my guess. They went from a below average team to a good team in a year, and they don’t lose much. The Illinois region desperately needs a team that can compete with the other regions, and UWP might fit the bill. Tons of power arms, decent catching, starting to get some strategies down, UWP is definitely going to be a top team in the future. Their only thing is they need to get some games in.
Will a non-Michigan team win the title?
This will be the tenth year of the NCDA, and in the previous nine years, Michigan schools have accounted for seven titles. Unfortunately for non-Michigan schools, they’ve been the last seven. They’ve even had five of the nine NCDA Runner Ups. Michigan is turning into the SEC of dodgeball, and eventually someone needs to step up and end their dominance. If someone’s going to do it this year, I think it’s going to be James Madison, who has shown that they can beat Grand Valley.
Will DePaul go undefeated?
How will St. Ambrose and any other new school do in their first season?
We’ve seen some schools (JMU, WIU) play well in their first season. We’ve seen some schools go winless their first season. I’m hoping that these new schools bring it their first season, or at the very least learn from their experiences so they can develop into solid teams by year three of their membership of the NCDA.
What new tournaments will spring up?
In the past couple years, we’ve seen the BEAST, the Maryland Round Robin, and the DePaul University Invite (among others) appear. This year, the league is expecting a Big Ten Tourney, a Grand Valley Invite, and potentially more come into the league.
How will new Captains embrace their roles?
Just fine. DePaul, GVSU, MSU, UMD, Miami, and VCU will all be welcoming in new leaders, but in many of the cases the previous captain will still be around, whether they’re still on the team or just being in the area. But in my opinion the new Captains aren’t going to need the help as much as you’d think, as they were all vocal leaders already.
What team could come out of seemingly nowhere to be champions?
Gimme CMU for that one. With ten men, they were already a dynamic catching team, and they have some good young throwers. If they can get another 10 players, they could make a huge leap from the #7 seed. Remember- they’ve done that before as they went from bad to good to a top two team in two years.
Who will win the Michigan Dodgeball Cup?
A few notes about the MDC- there hasn’t been a repeat winner since 2008 and 2009. The winner of the MDC has won the last two National Championships, and four of nine total titles. Every tournament has had one team go undefeated, which amazes me because it typically features four of the best teams in the league (CMU replaced Delta in that regards.) Michigan State hasn’t won it since the first MDC, and they haven’t won an MDC in IM West ever. With all those facts in place, I’m going to say GVSU, with SVSU being a close second. I know there hasn’t been a repeat winner 4 years, but that just means it’s due.
What will be the classic matches of the season?
Last season we had GVSU vs SVSU (twice!), MSU at GVSU, WKU vs SVSU at the BEAST II, OSU vs UK at Nationals, and GVSU vs JMU at Nationals as the marquee games of the season. While I can’t predict what teams will go where, I’m going to guess that GVSU will have another epic game against SVSU as well as a big game against JMU. I think that OSU/Kent could also be a huge game.
Who will be the top dog in Ohio this season?
Going off of that last question, I think it comes down to Ohio State and Kent. Kent is loaded again with power arms, and they’ll have plenty of experience. But we saw OSU really come into their own against UK at Nationals, and with such a young squad they could definitely make some noise. I think that this will be one of those rivalries that each team will pick up a win or two.
How many teams will we see at Nationals this season?
18. I think with it being in Columbus it may help and hurt teams coming to Nationals evenly, but with the league expansion there’s no reason to think we can’t get 18 teams at Nationals.
Who will be in the Final Four?
I’m going to say Grand Valley, James Madison, Kent, and Ohio State. Yes, only one Michigan team!
National Runner Up?
James Madison. I think they’re going to enter the season great and get even better, and we all know how hungry they are for a title. I just think they’re going to come up just a bit short.
Grand Valley. Too strong on paper, too much experience, and too much leadership to be denied.
All information in this post is purely speculative, and going off of what I’ve been told the rosters will look like going into the season.