Pool B is represented well, with #2 Kentucky, #5 Michigan State, #13 Bowling Green, and newcomer Penn State.
9:15 PM- UK vs PSU
7:30 AM- MSU vs BGSU
8:45 AM- BGSU vs Penn State
10:00 AM- UK vs MSU
12:30 PM- MSU vs PSU
1:45 PM- BGSU vs UK
-Led by Zac Brown, Thomas Kidd, and Dakota Taylor
-Biggest Win: Kent State (x3)
-Strength: Structure. They play very organized and do what they do well.
-Weakness: Needing ball control. Without ball control, UK is hurt more than a lot of teams in the league.
-Impact Player:Jacob Hughes (UK #8). Hughes is another power arm, and they’ll need him to complement Wes Hopkins (U #1) if they want to make a deep run.
-X-Factor: Home court advantage. Will the Wildcat faithful come out to support their title contender? Saginaw Valley, Grand Valley, and Ohio State have all won championships on their home turf, UK is looking to join them.
-Led by Sam Hiller, Kevin Miller, and Zach Bauer
-Biggest Win: Kent State (x2)
-Strength: Catching. The Spartans are loaded with catchers, and they aren’t afraid of anyone.
-Weakness: Energy. MSU has a hard time playing a full 50 minutes, and they usually start out slow.
-Impact Player: Alex Acton (MSU #72). Coming back from an injury that kept him out of the MDC, Acton is a do it all player who can lead State to victory.
-X-Factor: Health. With 7 of their top 20 battling injuries, the Spartans need to heal up fast in order to make a run at their first title.
-Led by Brady Etzler, Daniel Daugherty, and Dayv Muldowney
-Biggest Win: DePaul
-Strength: Catching. BG has a decent amount of catchers who can make big plays when needed.
-Weakness: Lack of depth. The Falcons have notoriously been top heavy for years, but this year it is more apparent than normal.
-Impact Player: Brady Etzler (BGSU #4-C). When he’s hot, he can make plays with the best of them. Cannon arm, decent catching ability, and good leadership makes him an all-around threat.
-X-Factor: Brady Etzler. He needs to be on if they want to win some games. His power throw plus his fiery composure can lead them to some W’s, but if he is cold then they could be in a world of hurt.
(no preview due to no games played)
UK vs PSU: Welcome to the league Penn State! Your first task is stopping the #2 team in the country. It should be a fun one to watch, because PSU could be the best team in the country for all we know.
MSU vs BGSU: The dilemma for both teams in this one is that its a 7:30 AM start. MSU has handled BGSU both times they’ve played, but if the Spartans play sleepy then watch out.
BGSU vs PSU: This will be both teams best chance to get a win on Saturday, and nobody wants to go winless. Expect this to be an underrated game.
UK vs MSU: One of the three marquee matches of the Pool Play portion, the Wildcats and Spartans go toe to toe at 10 AM. This could be a battle of strength vs strength- the UK arms vs the State catchers.
MSU vs PSU: Big Ten rivals square off in Lexington as two of the premier Land Grant Institutions will try and pick up a crucial win.
UK vs BGSU: Bowling Green’s strength as a team is catching, they’ll need that to beat UK’s power arms, especially Wes Hopkins (UK #1).
(courtesy of Shadeed Drakeford)
Winner of Pool B: UK. Home-court advantage along with the fact that they play solid strategic dodgeball. Got the fastest arm in the country along with good leadership, they shouldn’t have problems in this bracket. That being said, they can’t overlook Michigan State at all.
2nd Place: MSU. Another Michigan state school. I believe that they are one of the most cohesive teams in the country and their great chemistry and teamwork could allow them to win against UK.
The key game in this bracket is MSU/UK. Even though I said UK would win this bracket… that doesn’t mean MSU can’t beat them. This will be a very close game.