On February 4th, Grand Valley State Univeristy will be hosting the Grand Valley Gauntlet IX. The following teams in atttendance will be: Grand Valley State University (GVSU), Michigan State University (MSU), and University of Wisconsin Platteville (UWP). Below is the schedule for the day and a breakdown of each of the teams.
|Time||Team 1||Team 2|
Grand Valley State University (GVSU)-GVSU started out the 2nd half of the season at James Madison at the Beast tournament where they went 1-2 on the day. As a team, it can be tough to do back to back tournaments, but GVSU is ready for the challenge. The Lakers are the home team which should give them an advantage as they will have their best squad on the court. Last semeseter at the Dr. Peter Broe Classic, they experienced their worst loss (6-0) in program history to none other than the Spartans and it was the first time they experienced a running clock. The Lakers are not as fundamentally sound or discplined as they have been in past years and that is why they are struggling. It is the first time in a long time they are not the favorites going into nationals. If they are going to have success this weekend, they will need to play more as a unit and have better ball control. Transition game is their friend and they need to get back to doing more of it.
Michigan State University (MSU)– This will be the first tournament of the semester for the Spartans and they are ready to back up their performance from first semester and continue to prove why they are the favorite for nationals. MSU has not lost a game this year and do not have any plans to make that change. This is an experinced team that learned a lot from last year’s disappointments and are on a mission to not repeat them. They have several weapons that they can rely on to get the job done, which makes them extremely difficult to play against. Don’t be surprised if they follow up with another dominate preformance and easily handle their opponents.
University of Wisconsin Platteville (UWP)– The Pioneers have a big challenge ahead of them as they are going up against two teams that were in the national champsionship game last year and have a history of winning. It will be interesting to see how Platteville will handle this as they will be coming off only two weeks of practice. They also are replacing two of their starters from graduation and will be without their captain. UWP will be bringing mostly a young squad so it will be interesting to see what they can put together. For these players, they just need to play like they have been taught, no reason to get overwhelmed or do anything over the top. Platteville knows that they have nothing to lose so they will make sure they leave everything they have on the court and give GVSU and MSU some tough matches.
Outside Perspective– The following are thoughts from content team members Matt Barnett (WMU) and Ryan Ginsberg (OSU) on the tournament and what they are expecting.
Matt Barnett– Personally, I would love to see UWP upset GVSU or MSU (mainly MSU). I think GVSU’s best chance at beating MSU will be at their tournament on their home court. For GVSU, they need to keep MSU on the edge and not let them take advantage of their athletic ability. Pressuring the Spartan’s corners will be key. In the case of UWP, they will need to proctect their key talents in order to keep up, if the Pioneers can keep Tomas Zander, Eli Huntley and Austin Kurey alive, they will have a fighting chance.
Ryan Ginsberg– Of the three teams at the Gauntlet, I believe MSU is the best one and will be able to handle GVSU and UWP with relative ease. Even though MSU has only played 6 games, they have shown they are a dominant team with an abundance of strong throwers accompanied by clutch catchers. Their communication and team chemistry makes this team so hard to compete with. These factors will lead to multiple point wins for the Spartans. GVSU comes off a very rare 2 loss performance and I believe this will motivate them to have a good showing on their home court. Look for the Lakers to make adjustments and correct mistakes they made last weekend to have a better performance this weekend. I wouldn’t plan for GVSU having back-to-back 2 loss weekends. UWP travels to Grand Valley to gain some valuable experience against some of the top teams in the league. Although they might struggle in these matchups, they will learn what they need to focus on to improve their strategy to make a run at Nationals.
Final Thoughts– We are in for some exciting games this weekend. The question for GVSU is will they be able to regroup and be able to compete with MSU to build some confidence heading into the MDC. For MSU, can they continue to keep up their dominate performance and continue to show why they are the favorite to win the title. Platteville, it becomes are they able to get valuable game time experience for their younger players to build up confidence. In the future, this will allow them to compete with the best teams in the league and give themselves a fighting chance. The games will be streamed on the NCDA Youtube Channel at the link below. Make sure you subscribe to the channel and help us reach 1,000 subscribers!