As everyone should know, there were a lot of matches played yesterday in the NCDA. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend either tournament in person, but I was able to watch most and glean a pretty good idea of how both went down and what it means for everyone. Here’s my interpretation from an outside perspective of what yesterday meant for the NCDA, and most importantly, for April.
UVA – WOOHOO FOR WAHOOS!! This is leading off because to me a team’s first win is more important than anything else for this league. We all want a lot of things. Someone outside of Michigan to win a title, DeMarcus Cousins to be traded to….oh wait that already happened, and more than anything, more teams in the league. Teams are much more likely to stay if we have other teams within close proximity to them, and they have chances to beat those teams. I don’t know if a program’s first win can be quantified in terms of importance. Having gone through a time of winless streak while I was playing though I can say from experience that the feeling of that first win is sweeter whatever your favorite choice in candy is. Go Hoos!
JMU – Hey look at that, JMU went undefeated at an East Coast tournament. I’ve been writing statements like that for about five or six years now. It’s getting kind of boring. There is significance to this though. The Dukes move up to #3 in the newly published standings. This could provide a much easier path to the semifinals for JMU, but doesn’t guarantee them a spot in the finals. Unlike the Dukes of past, this team isn’t the dominant entity that it used to be. They are vulnerable, and it took a solid comeback, as well as collapse on the part of Towson yesterday to stay undefeated. I may partially be saying this to see if I can incite a decent subtweet for the team’s Twitter jockey as they are known to do, but I don’t quite believe in the Dukes title game chances yet.
Towson – The Tigers don’t have this overtime thing figured out. 6 v 6 has been an achilles heel for Towson for as long as I can remember. It’s how the Tigers were eliminated from last year’s Nationals, and it’s how they’ve lost to Kentucky and to JMU in recent memory. There’s something that just doesn’t click for them in these moments. That’s not to say the problem is their roster. When you can put players of note such as Jon Shaw, Mike Hinely, Tim Wells and David Guare together, that’s potentially a nasty lineup. If they can get OT figured out, then it could be possible for Towson to get over one of the last barriers on their way to the title game. If not, I’m afraid an early exit is still a possibility for this team.
VCU – The Rams have improved, there’s no questioning this, but I think their talent level still leaves a bit to be desired. Reasoning: their close games comes against teams whose style of play is similar to theirs. Towson appears to play a style closer to VCU’s, hence a closer game. JMU does not play that way, which results in scores such as their 3-0 blowout yesterday. The Rams are coming along, but they’re still the #3 team in the East at best.
UMD – This team is young and still going through a lot of growing pains. I can’t say much about them other than I hope they can travel more consistently this semester and into next year. Practicing can help a team get better, there’s no doubt about that, but the best way to have your team improve is to all be on the same side playing different competition. I’m also hoping they don’t have any roster retention concerns. Fingers crossed!
Michigan Dodgeball Cup
Grand Valley – Just another day in the life of the Lakers. They sweep the MDC and look primed for another run at the title. Only way they get disrupted along the way is if SVSU remains the 4 seed as they are now and continues to improve from what was a great performance yesterday.
Saginaw Valley – Speaking of the Cardinals, wow. They definitely showed up yesterday, even if it didn’t translate to a closer match against GVSU. My only gripe with this team is that it would be great if they showed up like this all season, that way the league could actually understand what they’re capable of. I’ve heard from sources that this team only truly cares about three tournaments: Battle of the Valleys, MDC and Nationals. This seems like an absurd way of thinking, but if they showed up like they did at MDC for every other tournament, they could put together a team better prepared to make a run at a title.
Central Michigan – This team looks like they can beat anybody, but also lose to anybody. Okay, maybe they can only lose to upper tier teams, but the point remains. CMU is a mercurial team with the ability to be up several players against Grand Valley, and somehow end up losing the point. I’m a bit confused on where this team can, or should be, but they’ve got a little less than two months to put it all together if they want a shot at revenge against GVSU in April. I’m very curious to see how this team plays out the rest of its season.
MSU – The Spartans may want to consider giving up their host role for MDC. They could possibly have the worst home court advantage in the NCDA. Either that or there’s something about MDC that keeps them from playing the way we’ve seen them play before. I still believe in the Spartan’s ability to make a run, but it seems a lot shakier now than it did before.