Pool C has two heavyweights, #3 James Madison and #6 Grand Valley, and two teams who have been around for a few years now in #12 Miami and #21 Northwestern State.
8:00 PM- NSULA vs JMU
7:30 AM- GVSU vs Miami
8:45 AM- JMU vs Miami
10:00 AM- GVSU vs NSULA
11:15 AM- NSULA vs Miami
12:30 PM- GVSU vs JMU
-Biggest Win: Michigan State
-Led by Chris Hess, Ben Sizemore, and Taylor Wilhelm
-Strength: Energy. The Dukes carry themselves well, and their swagger gives them the confidence to go toe to toe with anybody.
-Weakness: Accuracy. JMU over the past two years has had hard throws, but they haven’t always found their target. Sometime this works to their advantage, other times it doesn’t.
-Impact Player: Andrew Hassett (JMU #35). One of the Dukes hardest throwers, he can be a game changer with his ability.
-X-Factor: Court control. The Dukes do a good job of staying on the opposing neutral zone line and keeping the other team on their back line.
-Led by Mark Trippiedi, Dylan Fettig, and Kenny Bacchus
-Biggest Win: Saginaw Valley (x2)
-Strength: Teamwork. The Lakers are a well oiled machine, and they have great team throws, blocking, and coverage for their players.
-Weakness: Transition defense. The Lakers can be picked off in transition, but they make up for this weakness by having good transition offense.
-Impact Player: Kevin Bailey (GVSU #4). The hero of the game of the year vs Michigan State, Kevin has routinely come up clutch this season for Grand Valley.
-X-Factor: Catching. If players like Kyle Peltier (GVSU #19) and Kenny Bacchus (GVSU #32-A) can make big plays catching the ball, this team is nearly unbeatable.
-Led by Sam Clark
-Biggest Win: Towson
-Strength: Countering. Miami has the ability to attack quickly from the baseline, making up for their weaker power throws.
-Weakness: Throwing. They’re weak on power throwers, which makes their countering even more important.
-Impact Player: Jon Puckett (MU #7). Jon has the most talent of anyone on their roster, and they’ll need him to make a run.
-X-Factor: Energy. If the Redhawks aren’t active in transition, they’re going to throw a lot of catches and not throw out opposing players very easily.
(no preview due to limited games played)
JMU vs NSULA- First time these two have met, but the Dukes shouldn’t have any trouble with the Demons.
GVSU vs Miami- The Lakers and Redhawks haven’t played this season, but GV has more throwers and catchers than Miami can handle. Expect it to be closer than you’d think though.
JMU vs Miami- They met last year in their Nationals pool, and the Dukes escaped 3-2. JMU definitely won’t underestimate the strength of Miami this time, but it should still be a win for the Dukes.
GVSU vs NSULA- The Lakers beat the Demons 6-0 last year at Nationals in pool play, I’d expect them to do something similar this year.
NSULA vs Miami- This could be a huge “seeding game” for Sunday, meaning the winner of this will be in a better position for an easier game on Sunday. Watch for both teams to bust it and go for the big win.
GVSU vs JMU- The biggest game of the pool, possibly even the Saturday portion of the tournament. GVSU survived a strong first half from JMU at Chicago, and went on to win that game. Expect this to be another slugfest, with big hit after big hit. Whoever’s left standing will be in great shape for Sunday.
(courtesy of Shadeed Drakeford of VCU)
Winner of Pool C: GVSU. I’ve been watching videos of GVSU. Now they aren’t the team that went undefeated in 2008. But that being said, the only challenge to GVSU is JMU. In my personal opinion, I feel like GVSU would go easy on NSULA and Miami as warm-up games for JMU. I feel like captain Mark T. wants to make a strong statement to captain Chris H. in that game.
2nd place: JMU. Yes JMU is a 2nd year school. But having play against them 3 times… they aren’t an easy team to beat. If you want to beat them, you need to have your A game against them. Miami and NSULA just got a tough draw. JMU will quickly finish off an opponent if you aren’t careful.
(courtesy of Sam Hiller, MSU)