As our very own Kevin Bailey touched on beautifully, the parity that has gone on in the state of Michigan this season has been one for the books. Never have all four squads been so close in talent. While many believe that Saginaw Valley State University is on a tier below Central Michigan University, Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University, they have shown on more than one occasion that they can compete with any team in the country. Pt. 1 of the Michigan Dodgeball Cup Preview focused on the past match-ups that had taken place so far throughout the season and how they will have an impact on each match that takes place on February 27th. This article won’t focus on such nonsense. The winner of the MDC will be the team that comes to play, makes few mistakes and leaves everything they have on the court. Period.
So lets get started…
WE WILL START FIRST WITH PREDICTIONS FROM THE CAPTAINS OF EACH TEAM THAT IS NOT COMPETING, RESPECTIVELY. I ALSO ASKED FOR MY FELLOW CONTENT WRITER SEAN SMITH (TOWSON) AND NCDA PRESIDENT FELIX PERRONE TO PROVIDE THEIR PERSONAL OPINIONS FOR EACH MATCH.
Game 1: #1 Central Michigan University (15-3) vs. #2 Grand Valley State University (13-4)
All three matches between these two squads has gone to overtime, thus leading many to believe that it will happen for a fourth time. The competition and rivalry between these two squads has never been greater. The winner of this match will most likely be the winner of the MDC, thus making the #1 seed at Nationals that much more achievable.
Colin O’Brien: CMU def. GVSU 3-2 (OT). Overtime seems to be the story of the season for these two schools when they meet. I think the loss of Aaron Terenzi and Anthony Incrocci gives CMU the definitive advantage in a top 6 showdown.
David Cook: CMU def. GVSU 2-1 (OT). It seems like these two teams love to play overtime versus one another. I am leaning towards CMU winning this one as I believe they are the strongest team in the NCDA right now in terms of overall skill.
Sean Smith: GVSU def. CMU 2-1 (OT). I don’t want to pick GV to beat CMU because I have CMU winning it all this year, but I remember last year CMU won the last regular season matchup and then GV winning at Nationals, I’m gonna say things flip this year.
Felix Perrone: GVSU def. CMU 2-1 (OT). I predict this will be the closest match of the day. This will not only be the first match of the day where everyone is fresh, but it is against number 1 & 2 in our rankings. I feel this one will go down to the wire in OT.
Game 2: #3 Michigan State University (15-5) vs. #6 Saginaw Valley State University (8-9)
There has yet to be a match between these two opponents that hasn’t been close. Regardless of the injuries that have plagued SVSU, expect this match to be a hard fought battle with the title for the Cup on the line.
Jacob Leski: MSU def. SVSU 2-1 – Saginaw is rumored to have their full squad for this match. Not many have seen them with their full team due to injuries. However, I do not believe they will be able to take MSU into OT due to their lack of cohesiveness.
Kevin Bailey: SVSU def. MSU 2-1 – SVSU has the throwers to compete with any team in Michigan. They will come out fast in game one and take MSU by surprise.
Sean Smith: MSU def. SVSU 3-1 – I think Saginaw is better than their ranking is, but they haven’t beaten MSU yet this season and I think the pattern continues.
Felix Perrone: MSU def. SVSU 3-2 (OT) – I also believe this one will go into OT because both teams will be awake and alert for their first game of the day. I believe this will be a high scoring game (as far as Michigan scores go). SVSU is going to come out angry and strong against the home team, but in the end MSU will come out on top.
Game 3: #2 Grand Valley State University (13-4) vs. #3 Michigan State University (15-5)
The battle between these two schools continues. GVSU is up one game in the series, however many believe MSU will tie it up and enter Nationals as a favorite to win it all. Don’t be surprised if this game does not have more than 3 points total. Both teams will look to make as few mistakes as possible, thus creating a game of stall ball.
Jacob Leski: MSU def. GVSU 1-0 – This game was incredibly difficult for me to predict. I have had the privilege of playing both teams in OT, however I do not think this game will require extra time. These two teams are some of the best to ever play the game, which is why I think this game will end with a score of 1-0. It really could go either way, but for now I have the Spartans taking the victory, setting up an epic match with CMU.
David Cook: GVSU def. MSU 2-0 – Grand Valley has a team that is capable of countering MSU’s playstyle as they are able to make teams play their tempo. I believe both teams will be able to stay even in catching, but the arms of GVSU will be enough to take the game.
Sean Smith: MSU def. GVSU 2-1 – GVSU has won 2 straight to take a series lead, I think it swings back to MSU to even things up.
Felix Perrone: MSU def. GVSU 3-1 – I believe MSU will still be hot from the game before and will be able to capitalize on the two hour break GVSU will have between their first and second game. MSU will rally above GVSU coming off of an exciting win in OT against SVSU.
Game #4: #1 Central Michigan University (15-3) vs. #6 Saginaw Valley State University (8-9)
While many expect this game to be anti-climatic, do not take your eyes off this game for too long. Yes, CMU has had SVSU’s number all year, however, this is the MDC. Anything can happen and SVSU has no problem playing spoiler for a team that looks to take home the MDC for the first time since 2010.
Colin O’Brien: CMU def. SVSU 3-0 – CMU will beat SVSU securely. Nothing I’ve seen as of late between these two teams makes me think the result will be any different. For whatever reason, SVSU doesn’t seem to match up well against CMU.
Kevin Bailey: CMU def. SVSU 3-1 – Central Michigan has dominated the Cardinals the last two matches between them, and this will be a similar outcome. Expect CMU to take an early lead due to their strong catching abilities.
Sean Smith: CMU def. SVSU 2-1 – I think CMU beats Saginaw as well, I’ll say this is only a 1 point spread, maybe overtime but I’ll say 2-1 CMU.
Felix Perrone: CMU def. SVSU 3-1 – CMU is going to go up early in this game 2-0 at half and try to coast slowly in the second half to save themselves for their next game against MSU. SVSU will take a point early in the second half, and CMU will have to go back on the offensive to maintain their lead.
Game #5: #1 Central Michigan University (15-3) vs. #3 Michigan State University (15-5)
This game could very well be the game to decide who takes home the MDC. Obviously, both teams need to beat tough competition to make this happen. This is the last game of the day for these two teams and the last match was an ugly shouting match that went into OT. Do not be surprised to see one or two yellow cards come flying out for this match. I only hope that this is a much cleaner game for both sides.
Kevin Bailey: CMU def. MSU 2-1 (OT) – I think this game could be the closest of the entire tournament. This time around, I think Central will get their revenge in overtime.
David Cook: CMU def. MSU 2-1 (OT) – I think this will be the closest match of the day as each team will make calculated, methodical plays. CMU may have the most throwers of any Michigan team, but the team with the best catching will ultimately win this one. I think CMU will look to avenge their OT loss and potentially claim the MDC in the process.
Sean Smith: CMU def. MSU 2-1 – I have Central beating MSU because as much as I want to believe that Colin and his guys have taken the championship jump, I still haven’t seen anything from their back end players to say they stack up with CMU.
Felix Perrone: CMU def. MSU 2-1 (OT) – This will be a highly contested game as well. This being both teams’ second OT of the day, they will both come out as hard as they can, especially since this is their last game of the day. CMU will eventually prevail due to their depth in OT.
Game #6: #2 Grand Valley State University (13-4) vs. #6 Saginaw Valley State University (8-9)
The two storied programs meet once again. The history between these two teams is monumental. While many believe that this will be a cake walk for GVSU, do not forget that SVSU has taken them to overtime on two separate occasions! Whether or not that happens for a third time is hard to say, but anticipate a hard fought match regardless.
Jacob Leski: SVSU def. GVSU 2-1 – I am going with the upset because of two reasons. First, I just think it would be fantastic to see GVSU lose their last game of the day to a bitter rival. Second, I have a lot of confidence in SVSU’s squad, they are scrappy and know what it takes to win against Michigan teams, especially GVSU.
Colin O’Brien: GVSU def. SVSU 3-1 – GVSU will narrowly beat SVSU The opposite of CMU, SVSU seems to match up well against GVSU. Perhaps it’s the rivalry between the schools. But I think GVSU has too much talent and is able to get the win in a close one.
Sean Smith: GVSU def. SVSU 3-2 (OT) – I want to give Saginaw an upset over GVSU so I don’t have them winless on the day, but I can’t give it to them when it really seems like this season is more of a 3 team race then people believe. Another close match, I say they go play OT again with GVs top 6 just being better than SVs.
Felix Perrone: GVSU def. SVSU 3-0 – I don’t foresee this being that close of a game, GVSU may have more of an issue at the beginning because of their 3 hour break between games, but they’ll hit their stride and assert their dominance on the court. This will be an exciting last game though because this game’s score could end up deciding the MDC champion based on point differential.
Regardless of the results, this years Michigan Dodgeball Cup has the potential to go down as the most competitive in league history. Each and every game will be Livestreamed by the NCDA. If you do not have plans on February 27th, I highly recommend you and your teammates watch some of the most competitive matches our league has seen in years. Now, lets take a look at some of the play-makers that will need to step up in order for their squads to take home the hardware this Saturday.
Saginaw Valley State University:
David Cook: The last time I talked about someone that needed to step up for Saginaw was only a few weeks ago and that was Joe McCumber, David Cook’s co-captain. This time, David needs to step up if he wants to get at least one win for his squad this
weekend. His leadership will be the key to their success.
Andrew Miller: Many may not remember who Andy Miller is, but he is one of the assistant captains for SVSU and for good reason. Andy is one of Saginaw’s top 3 catchers and throwers. Unfortunately, Andy has been battling injuries for the last few months. However, I am told that he will be back in time for the MDC, which is perfect timing for this young squad.
Honorable Mention: Cody Putnam
Michigan State University:
Colin O’Brien: This young man is the catalyst for the Spartans. His success on the court typically dictates how the rest of his team performs. With him on the court they are without a doubt one of the best in the country. When he is out they drop an entire skill level. It is true that they have gotten better at not blowing games when he gets eliminated, however his goal for the weekend should be to make as few mistakes as possible so that he can command his team for as much of each match as he can.
Noe Galaviz: More and more pressure has been getting placed on Noe’s shoulders over the last few months and it is hard to blame MSU for doing so. The man can do it all and when he is on he is one of the more funner players in the league to watch. MSU will need Noe to be performing at the top of his game if they hope to go 3-0 on Saturday.
Honorable Mention: Wes Peters and Alex Zajac
Grand Valley State University:
Kevin Bailey: We all know what he is capable of and how critical he is to the success of his team. Many right now believe that if he was not playing, GVSU would be the fourth best team in the state and I would have to agree with them hands down. His play-making abilities on Saturday will be the ultimate key to this teams success.
Ben Tubergen: The newly appointed assistant captain has big shoes to fill and a lot to live up to. While the gap left by Aaron Terenzi hurts, it is not game altering, I mean the guy has gotten worse with each season… Anyway if Ben can put up the same numbers that Terenzi did as assistant captain for the team, then I do not see any reason why this GVSU squad should falter.
Honorable Mention: Austin Morley
Central Michigan University:
Brett Hadwin: Unfortunately for me, I consider this knucklehead to be a close-friend. Unfortunately for Brett, I am going to take this opportunity to call him out. Most recently Brett has dramatically under-performed. He has dropped easy catches and made irrational decisions that have gotten him out on numerous occasions. Along with many others, I personally believe he has the ability to be the best player in the country, however, like myself, this is Brett’s last opportunity to win an MDC. The Chippewas without a doubt will need the Brett they know and love to make an appearance in order to take the hardware home this weekend.
Shane Willette: Central’s co-captain has yet to get any recognition this season and for good reason. Many believe he has yet to live up to his full potential and I could not agree more. As one of CMU’s OT 6 staples, he has the ability to make plays with his hands and throwing like none other. Whether or not he steps up this weekend will remain to be seen.
Honorable Mention: Ian Ryan and Michael Riley
All in all, each team will need more than just these X-Factors listed above to take home the hardware come Saturday. With a combination of luck, skill and good calls, the team that wins the MDC will be the team that has the most of those three things at the end of the day.
Good luck to all four teams, you’re all going to need it!!