This Saturday will involve one of the biggest regular season tournaments in recent memory. Central Michigan University will host a 5-team tournament entitled the “CMU Showdown”.
In attendance at this event will be five of the top ten teams in the league, including the top four in the current NCDA standings. While this tournament will be overshadowed by Nationals less than a month later, there still is quite a bit on the line this Saturday in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Here is an overview of each attending team’s situation heading into this weekend’s tournament:
Let’s start with Grand Valley State, the defending national champions. GVSU enters this tournament with quite a bit on the line. The Lakers stand at 27-0 this season, so obviously their undefeated season will be put to the test this weekend. GVSU also is holding onto a 39-game winning streak which is two shy of tying the all-time NCDA record. With four matches scheduled for Saturday’s event, it is obvious that history could be made if GVSU plays well.
GVSU starts the day with SVSU, followed by their two biggest matches with CMU and JMU back to back. The Lakers will finish the tournament with a game against MSU which will be their 9th match this season! Overall, GVSU must win out if they intend on being the clear favorite heading into Nationals.
Central Michigan enters this tournament with a lot to prove. CMU is currently ranked #2 in the NCDA’s (NHL style) standings, yet some people around the league have the opinion that they are not on the same level as the two remaining undefeated squads: GVSU and JMU. Central will enter their own tournament with a chip on their shoulder. The good news for CMU is that they will have the opportunity to prove all of their critics wrong this weekend, with matches against both GVSU and JMU along with their games against SVSU and MSU.
Central Michigan was last seen in action in the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, which they finished second behind the Lakers of Grand Valley. While Central did come up with victories over the other two Michigan schools, they certainly won’t overlook those opponents this weekend.
CMU will start the day against MSU, in a matchup that has seen a few great games already this season. Next, CMU will take on the Dukes of JMU, in a game that will have huge Nationals implications. If CMU wins that game during the second round of the day, they will have a fair argument to earn the #2 seed at Nationals, but if JMU wins then the Dukes will unquestionably be one of the top two seeds.
Central has a break after two matches then follows it with a match against their nemisis from this season: GVSU. Central has played GVSU tough several times this year. I don’t expect the Chippewas to come out flat on their home court, so expect that to be another great game. The last round for CMU will be against SVSU, a team that CMU beat last at the MDC.
James Madison is largely the unknown heading into this great tournament. The Dukes have yet to play any of the other teams in attendance this season, but luckily that streak will come to an end on Saturday. The biggest question heading into this tournament is wondering where JMU will stack up when competing with the four Michigan Schools.
JMU’s schedule will start with SVSU, followed by CMU, GVSU, and MSU to finish off the day. James Madison is currently undefeated, boasting a 15-0 record with an impressive 70-4 point differential this year. While those are some staggering numbers, the truth is, JMU has not played competition at the level of what they will see at this tournament. It will be interesting to see how the Dukes react in this situation.
Keep in mind, they have not played teams as tough as the Michigan schools, let alone playing all of them in one day. This team will certainly be tested this weekend, as they look to prove they are the top team in the NCDA.
MSU currently sits at #4 in the NCDA, but they also have a lot to prove. Michigan State was last seen at the MDC in February where they failed to win a single game. Despite that poor performance, I am convinced that the Spartans can still compete with the best teams in the league.
MSU will need to put together their most complete tournament of the season if they want to come out on top at the CMU Showdown. The schedule for MSU will be as follows: CMU, SVSU, JMU, and GVSU. One interesting thing to note is the fact that MSU lost their last match against each of the teams they play this weekend. Revenge could play a factor as it will motivate this MSU squad.
SVSU currently sits at #10 in the NCDA standings. While that mark is not the most impressive, Saginaw will have plenty of opportunities to prove their worth this Saturday. SVSU ended up finishing 1-2 at the MDC, but they had a poor performance in their last two matches after beating MSU during the first match of the day.
Saginaw will need to come out with the energy that they had at the start of the MDC in each of their matches at the CMU Showdown or there is a good chance they finish with a bad record. SVSU will play JMU, GVSU, MSU, and CMU in that order this weekend. This will be Saginaw’s last chance to prove to their critics that they are still a top level team before the national tournament in April.
It goes without saying that this tournament is going to be fantastic. I expect each game to be fairly close, with the possibility of many matches going into overtime. The MDC was one of the better tournaments that the NCDA has had in the last few years. The only thing different with this tournament is that JMU is in attendance.
A regular season tournament in late March that involves arguably five of the top teams in the league (and two undefeated teams) is basically unheard of. If you want a preview of this season’s Final Four matches, you should probably take a trip to Mount Pleasant, MI this weekend, because any of the matches at this tourney could realistically end up being a semifinals or finals matchup.
In closing, I want to thank CMU for setting up this great tournament. I doubt there has ever been a tournament in late March with this much riding on the line. The CMU Showdown is going to be one for the ages.
The schedule is as follows:
12- 1:30pm: CMU vs MSU / JMU vs SVSU
1:30-3pm: CMU vs JMU / GVSU vs SVSU
3-4:30pm: JMU vs GVSU / MSU vs SVSU
4:30- 6pm: CMU vs GVSU / MSU vs JMU
6- 7:30pm: CMU vs SVSU / MSU vs GVSU