2015 Mid Season Opinions: Bailey

ncda_logoWe have hit the NCDA’s mid-season, and it has certainly been a great first half.  Over the next couple days, we’ll be seeing a couple opinions from the Content Team. To start things off, my opinion on the Top 10.

Chief of Content Kevin Bailey’s Top 10

1. Grand Valley State: 20-0
Grand Valley State entered the season as the favorite to be the top team in college dodgeball, and through one semester they have earned that distinction. With a 20-0 record at midseason, GVSU is once again positioned to be the #1 seed at Nationals. GVSU is currently on a 32 game winning streak dating back to February 2014, but they have had a few close calls this season already. Michigan State has scored a point on the Lakers in their last four matchups, Saginaw Valley nearly took a 2-0 lead into halftime at Battle of the Valleys, while CMU ended up forcing overtime against the heavily favored defending champs at GVSU Invite #2. The Lakers haven’t been as dominant to this point in the season as they were last year, but the 20-0 record is hard to argue with. GVSU is a clear #1 in the NCDA right now.

2. James Madison: 8-0
James Madison has not yet had the luxury of playing a team outside of the East Coast, but the Dukes have not failed to impress with an undefeated record over the other schools in their region. JMU is positioned to make a run at a national title this season with the amount of talented returners they have on hand. Add on to the dangerous amount of experience the fact that their rookie class is one of the best in the NCDA; I don’t imagine this team will lose too many games this year.

3. Central Michigan: 18-6
The Chippewas are arguably the biggest surprise of the first half of the season. I expected them to be a much improved team from last year, but not to the extent that we have seen this fall. CMU is 18-6 on the year, but over the last month they have played better than their record indicates. CMU has lost close games to MSU (twice), SVSU, and most notably: GVSU (three times). While it has been a very long time since CMU has beaten either GVSU or SVSU, the second half of the season will give them many opportunities to do so. At this point in the season CMU is more than deserving of the #3 ranking in the NCDA.

4. Saginaw Valley State: 2-2
I might seem out of place for me to rank a team like SVSU fourth in the nation even though they have only compiled two wins on the year but hear me out. Sure SVSU has not played many games this season, but their resume is still pretty strong. Saginaw has not lost to any team in the NCDA except Grand Valley (twice). In fact, Saginaw has wins over both Michigan State and Central Michigan. CMU did not have their best roster on hand for that game against SVSU, but the bottom line is that Saginaw has made the best of their limited opportunities this year, and they are primed for a big second half of the season.

5. Michigan State: 12-9
Don’t let that record fool you, MSU is for real this year. The Spartans have been impressive during the first half of the season, with arguably their best team top to bottom in the history of their program. The one thing MSU lacks right now is a big time victory. They beat CMU early in the season, but since then have not been able to manufacture the type of huge win that this team needs. MSU has kept it clo0se with GVSU in almost every match between the two teams, but they are yet to gain their first ever victory over the Lakers. Keep an eye on MSU next semester because this team is easily one of the best in college dodgeball.

6. Maryland: 6-3
I have not been able to see any UMD matches this year, but they come in at 6th on my list because of all the high praise I have heard about them so far this year. UMD is turning into a strong catchiong team, and if they continue to play well together as a team, I think they will be a very dangerous squad next semester. Here’s a scary fact for you: UMD has not lost a game to any team outside of GVSU and JMU (the top two teams in the NCDA in my opinion) since the BEAST tournament at James Madison last winter! Let that sink in for a minute…

7. Kent State: 5-10
Kent State jumped Ohio State in my rankings a few weekends ago when I heard they pulled off an overtime victory against the Buckeyes. This was the first matchup between the two schools, and it determined who owns bragging rights in the state of Ohio. Though Kent State started the season slow, they have earned the right to be ranked ahead of OSU with that victory, which proved to the rest of the NCDA that they still own the Ohio region for the time being.

8. Ohio State: 6-5
Coming in right behind Kent State is a team that has impressed me quite a bit this season: Ohio State. I was able to see this team play at several tournaments during the fall semester, and they looked like a good team every time. Something that hasn’t been talked about much is the fact that Ohio State is not strictly a catching team, which had been their reputation in years past; these guys have the arms to compete with just about anyone in the NCDA. The top half of the OSU roster is very strong, and they have better depth overall than they did a year ago. This team is poised for a strong showing during the second half of the season. P.S. I think they will overtake Kent is the top Ohio team by season’s end.

9. Towson: 3-5
Towson comes in at #9 on my list, three spots below their rival school: UMD. TU is yet to beat the Terrapins this season, but they have made it close several times. Towson didn’t have any key victories this fall, but don’t be surprised if they have a breakout second half of the season. The pieces are in place for Towson to come on strong second semester, with a talented and experienced group of leaders, complemented by much more depth than TU has ever had in the history of their program.

10. Wisconsin Platteville: 2-0
UWP sneaks into my top 10 thanks to a strong performance in their only tournament of the fall at Nebraska. UWP is undefeated on the year, and if they retained most of their top arm from a year ago, I don’t see why this team won’t finish as a top 10 team in college dodgeball. There is no question that UWP can compete with some of the better teams in the league (they consistently kept games close with MSU, CMU, and SVSU a year ago). It will be interesting to see how UWP plays during the second half of the year, especially if they are exposed to stiffer competition.

Author: Kevin Bailey

Current NCDA Chief of Content. Former Captain for Grand Valley State University (#4).

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