Mardi Gras Madness Tournament Preview

This Saturday, Northwestern State University of Louisiana will host the Mardi Gras Madness tournament.  Georgia Southern and North Georgia will make the trip for this three-team clash in the NCDA’s young and exciting South Region.  There is quite a bit of unknown when it comes to the south region.  These three teams will certainly answer some of our questions this weekend when we see how each of them fare on the court.  Below is a quick preview for this tournament held at Northwestern State University:

First off, here is the schedule for this Saturday’s event:

9:00 a.m. – UNG vs GSU

10:15 a.m. – GSU vs. NSULA

11:30 a.m. – UNG vs. NSULA

2:00 p.m. – GSU vs. NSULA

3:15 p.m. – UNG vs. NSULA

Many players around the league may not know much about these three teams from down south, so I briefly interviewed each team’s captain to gather some info.

Kyle Dattelbaum (North Georgia)

Image may contain: 13 people, people smiling, people playing sports and basketball court
Kyle Dattelbaum will lead UNG, as the favorite to win Mardi Gras Madness.

Who are your team captains?

C: Kyle Dattelbaum #1 A: Royce Hogg #30 A: Bailey Hankins #12

How many returning starters do you have? 

Long stays include Kyle Dattelbaum, Royce Hogg, Bailey Hankins, Thomas Clements, Luke Cheney, Jordan Dacus and Matthew Kirkpatrick.  All have come a long way as players since starting the organization a year ago.

Who is your team’s most underrated performer?

Honestly, nobody is rated since nobody really knows the names of anybody on UNG… just keep in mind the names of the players I listed before. But from the players we are bringing, I think our strongest arm ever, and most consistent catcher ever will be making their debuts in Louisiana.

Image may contain: one or more people, people playing sports and basketball court
Dattelbaum was a 2nd-Team All-American in 2017.

What is your team’s mindset heading into this tournament?

We’re going into this tournament as the favorite, but UNG will be keeping a level head as it’s really unknown where any of these teams stack up on each other. NSULA hasn’t played in their own state in who knows how long. Southern has been out heavily recruiting so it’s only a matter of time until we figure it out.

Any predictions for the games?

UNG 5-1 GSU (gets their first point over UNG)





Zachary Rivera (Georgia Southern)

Zachary Rivera, seen here competing in the 2017 NCDA All-Star Game, is one of the most underrated players in the nation. He looks to lead GSU to their first victory this weekend.

Who are your team captains?

Captain – Zachary Rivera (#3), Senior

Assitant Captains – Zachary Frangi (#55), Senior & Andre Okosi (#23), Graduate Student

How many returning starters does your team have?

We have 10 returning starters attending this tournament. 5 rookies who will be playing their 1st NCDA matches.

Who are the most underrated players on your team?

Most underrated players: Brett Storie, rookie player, 1st match, but he has one of the strongest arms we’ve had so far. When’s he’s focused, he’s a great all-round player.

Also, Jacob Bolen.  He’s a veteran player, but he’s improved a lot since we first started playing in the NCDA. He has defense on lock and he’ll surprise you with a strong power throw here and there.

Georgia Southern has struggled in past matches, but they are poised to have more success this weekend.

What is your team’s mindset heading into this tournament?

Our mindset going to this tournament? I’d have to say we’re excited. We only played UNG in a double-header last semester and even though we still haven’t scored a point, we saw a lot of improvement. We decided to step back from competing last semester so we could focus on recruiting and work on being a stronger presence on the court. This semester, we feel like we’ve really grown and we’re just excited to see how much, especially against our rivals at UNG. Our main goal is that we see decent improvement in our team, but we’re definitely psyched to take some points this weekend.

Any predictions?

vs. UNG – not really too sure, we think we can give them a really good fight. We want it to be a low scoring match. They have some power on their team. I don’t want to say we’ll lose, but I will say we don’t think they’ll score more than 3 or 4 points on us this time around.

vs. NSULA – with most of NSU’s players being completely new to NCDA play, we think we have the advantage over them for our 2 matches against them. I hope they make us work for points though, so I can light an even bigger fire under my guys. I’m not too good at point prediction, we aren’t quite there yet.

Casey Alfultis (Northwestern State)

Who are the captains for NSULA?

I am the captain and Casey Jones is the Assistant Captain.

How many returning starters do you have?

We have about 5 returning starters this semester.

Who is the most underrated player on your team?

Jaime Balleza. We lost our heaviest hitter this off-season and he spent some extra time working on his game to make sure we didn’t fall off too much.

What is your team’s mindset heading into the tournament?

We want to win. We’re at home so there shouldn’t be the excuse of not having everyone we could have.  We want to start moving up the ranks and I thing that starts with taking down the guys at this tournament.

That’ll do it for the interviews.  I will leave you all with my predictions for the games this weekend:






Best of luck to the three teams competing in this tournament.  I look forward to seeing how each of them perform.  The NCDA’s South Region will only continue to grow and improve, and these three teams will be a big reason why.

Author: Kevin Bailey

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

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