The Michigan Dodgeball Cup takes place this Sunday in East Lansing, MI. The MDC is often regarded as one of the most premier tournaments of the year (the most premier tournament in the minds of any player from the mitten). With a slate of previews coming in preparation of Sunday, the first delves into the Michigan match-ups that have taken place already in the 2016-17 season (Spoiler Alert: there were some overtimes).
The schedule for Sunday:
10:30 – GVSU v. CMU
11:45 – SVSU v. CMU
1:30 – MSU v. GVSU
2:45 – GVSU v. SVSU
4:30 – MSU v. CMU
5:45 – MSU v. SVSU
The preview will go game by game and review the match-up as it has taken place thus far this season.
#1 GVSU vs. #2 CMU
The match-up of the previous two national championship games so far this season has been all Lakers, with Grand Valley going 3-0 against the Chippewas. Although the results have been one-sided, each game has been a close affair. A couple of breaks go the other way and Central Michigan could easily have the advantage. Expect another close game to open the MDC on Sunday.
#2 CMU vs. #7 SVSU
These two teams have met twice this season and both times regulation ended at 2-2, with the teams each winning once in the extra period. Both teams have struggled with consistency of their play this season, but I think one thing they will be consistent with is taking their third match-up of the year into overtime.
#1 GVSU vs. #3 MSU
MSU vs. GVSU is the most common match-up of the Michigan schools this year, as it seems to have consistently been in recent years, with Grand Valley holding a slight 3-2 wins advantage. Just as in recent years, there seems to be two types of games within this match-up: a Grand Valley comfortable win or a very close game. After not winning against GVSU for the first ten seasons of the rivalry, MSU has now beaten the Lakers twice last season as well as this season. Michigan State should have at least two more opportunities to get a record third win this season over GVSU, but I’m sure the Spartans would like to set that record on their home court.
#1 GVSU vs. #7 SVSU
Grand Valley opened the year with two comfortable wins over their “Valley” rivals, but the Battle of the Valleys doubleheader proved a different story with two close games. SVSU joins MSU as the only team to beat the Lakers this year. I think to get a second win, it would probably have to be in a similar fashion to their first.
#2 CMU vs. #3 MSU
Much like their match-up with SVSU, both games against MSU have led to overtime for the Chippewas. Unlike against SVSU, however, they were unable to pick up a win in either game. Just as before, I think CMU will once again exhibit some form of consistency as this game heads into a third overtime of the season for this match-up.
#3 MSU vs. #7 SVSU
The first two games of this series were close games, including an OT win for MSU. The 5-0 victory should be noted but not highlighted, as the team that came to East Lansing in November will not resemble the squad SVSU brings on Sunday. Michigan State is the only Michigan school SVSU has not beaten this season, and the Cardinals will look to change that this weekend.
It should come as no surprise that the model of consistency, Grand Valley, is once again the top team by record in the state. The next three overall records may have raised some eyebrows compared to expectations going into the season. But when compiling these game results, I think I found the overall records in conjunction with the OT records to be the most interesting statline. Michigan State is 7-3 in the state, but that’s with an impressive 4-0 record in overtime. This weekend may shed light into whether the Spartans are particularly well-suited for overtime or if they have merely hit a bit of an overtime hot streak. The flip side of that coin is the record of CMU in overtime. The Chippewas have only 1 win and 4 losses in the extra period. I believe the strength of CMU’s OT-6 is better than that record would indicate and I think they will improve on it this Sunday. They have also only had two games finish in regulation, both losses, which illustrates the strength of CMU as a whole. SVSU is 2-7 overall and both of those wins have come in overtime. I think this is an indication of the depth (or lack thereof) that has been present in the fall semester for the Cardinals. That should be different for the MDC, but regardless their top players have proven they can go toe to toe with the top players of the other Michigan schools. Grand Valley has 3 losses and 2 have been in overtime. Depth has always been a strength of the Lakers, but perhaps the losses of some key top players from last April has resulted in a less fearsome OT-6 than in seasons past.
8 of 19 games between Michigan schools this season have gone to overtime, including at least once in every match-up. I don’t think it would surprise anyone to see multiple games on Sunday end up in a 6 on 6 showdown. The MDC may very well be decided by such a game.