The 2014-15 NCDA season is still several months away, but with the scheduling process in full swing, I am beginning to think about the many exciting matchups that will occur next year. Here is my list (in no particular order) of the top 10 matchups that I hope to witness next season:
Grand Valley State vs. Saginaw Valley State:
This is an obvious choice. The “Battle of the Valleys” matchup has historically been one of the best rivalries in college dodgeball. Keep in mind, the next time these teams compete it will be a rematch of the national championship game. Neither team will lack motivation when this game occurs next year.
Maryland vs. Towson:
This has historically been a very competitive in-state rivalry. Don’t expect that to change, as both teams return many of their key players as they both look to improve on a successful 2013-14 season.
Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky:
Battle of the Bluegrass as they call it is one of the most overlooked rivalries in the NCDA. This matchup should be very interesting next season. I expect these teams to be much closer in talent than they have been in many years. Expect some very competitive matchups between these two teams in 2014-15.
Ohio State vs. Kent State:
In my opinion this will be one of the best matchups to watch next year. These are the top two teams in the Ohio Region. With Kent State losing many of their top players don’t be surprised if this becomes a more balanced rivalry than in years past.
James Madison vs. Maryland:
UMD was the only East Coast team to beat JMU this past season. While I still expect James Madison to be the top team in the east, Maryland has what it takes to pull off this upset. All of the East Coast teams should be better next season than they were in 2013-14, so this type of matchup will carry much more weight than in years past.
Central Michigan vs. Kentucky:
A rematch of their first round matchup at Nationals 2014. I expect both CMU and UK to be much better next season than they were in 2013-14. CMU returns everyone on their roster, so look out for them to be a tough team to beat next year.
Penn State vs. Virginia Commonwealth:
This isn’t a big time matchup between two of the best teams in the league, but PSU vs. VCU still cracks my list of top 10 most anticipated matchups. Neither of these squads made the trip to Nationals, so I will be eager to see if either team has made improvements from last year. Look for both these teams to enter 2014-15 better than they were a season earlier.
Michigan State vs. Saginaw Valley State:
This in-state matchup will be a rematch from the Final Four. While Saginaw Valley will enter the season as one of the favorites in the NCDA, MSU is going to be a very dangerous team too. The fact that Michigan State always seems to play SVSU very tough makes this a much anticipated game.
Wisconsin Platteville vs. DePaul:
Wisconsin Platteville was a pleasant surprise at Nationals this past season. Will they continue their improvement or drop off in 2014-15? A matchup against the next best team from the Illinois Region: DePaul, will give us a good idea.
Grand Valley State vs. James Madison:
These teams may live over 10 hours apart, but this matchup has still developed into one of the best rivalries in the NCDA. James Madison returns the vast majority of their roster and will look to avenge their Final Four loss to GVSU when these teams clash next season.