The recently announced DePaul University Invite will feature a unique mix of teams: #14 DePaul, #13 Moody Bible Institute, #2 Kentucky, and Wisconsin-Platteville, who hasn’t played a game yet this season. While its clear that UK is the favorite for the tournament, and should likely pick up three wins, the other three schools definitely have what it takes to pick up at least two wins.
Host school DePaul is 2-6 on the season, but if they can pick up two or even three wins they will propel themselves into at least 8th place (three wins would put them in seventh). They certainly have the ability to pick up the two wins they need- UWP is a mystery as far as talent goes and DePaul has already beaten Moody once this season. With a strong group of players, the Blue Demons can hang around with any team in the country, and will not be afraid of Kentucky’s power arms. If DePaul comes to play, they’ll move up in the standings.
Moody is in the same boat as DePaul when it comes to their ranking, as they are 2-3 this season. Moody however has one of the two or three best players in the tournament with Ryan Pattison, who can throw and catch with the best of them. They also have a strong core group of players, and unlike at the CDO when most of their team was away on winter break, they should be able to field near their best roster. Moody has wins this season over Nebraska and DePaul, so wins over UWP and DePaul are definitely possible.
If Kentucky brings it’s “A” roster, this tournament will be a walk in the park. If they bring their “B” roster, they should still win it, it will just be a little tougher. UK had their “B” team in for the Maryland Invite, and still nearly won the tournament (their lone loss this season was to the hands of JMU at that tournament.) UK needs these three wins, not to better their own standings (they’re not going to catch Kent State for #1) but instead to hold off JMU and SVSU for their #2 ranking.
Wisconsin-Platteville is playing in a rare tournament outside of Nationals, which usually hurts their seed on Sunday. They only played 5 games total outside of Nationals in the 2011 and 2012 campaigns, and in those seasons they were the 16 seed and the 13 seed. The thirteen seed came virtue of beating Miami on Saturday of Nationals. Just playing in the tournament on Saturday will better their ranking, as some teams like WIU, North Texas, Northwestern State, and Kansas State (all potential Nationals teams) haven’t played yet. It will also give them experience for tournament play, with two games they certainly can win and a game against a tough opponent.