This Sunday, Grand Valley State University will play host to some of the top teams in the nation in the Grand Valley Gauntlet dodgeball tournament. This event will feature the four Michigan schools along with Bowling Green State and Kentucky. Due to late two schools dropping out of the tournament, there will not be as many great match-ups played this weekend, but there certainly will be a few. Here is the schedule for the Gauntlet:
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Storylines to Follow:
There are many games on this schedule that have the potential to be exciting contests, and overall every team in attendance has the ability to get a few victories in this tournament. There will certainly be many storylines to follow. First off, how will Kentucky compete in matches with some of the top tier teams in the league? UK is coming off a 1-3 weekend at Kent State, and they are looking to improve. The Wildcats will face BGSU, GVSU, and SVSU in varsity matches which will certainly be a test for them.
Next up, it will be intriguing to follow the progression of Saginaw Valley State as they continue their season. SVSU finally gets the chance to play a Michigan team not named GVSU. The Cardinals play CMU and MSU along with UK. SVSU is known to improve significantly as the year goes on, and that is sure to be the case this season. How much have they improved, and will it be enough to knock of the Spartans, Chippewas, and Wildcats?
Grand Valley State has has an uncharacteristic start to the season with a 4-3 record heading into this tourney. GVSU has improved steadily so far this season. Their matchups with CMU and MSU will be opportunities for revenge, while the game against Kentucky will be the first meeting with UK since Nationals 2015.
Michigan State has had a strong season so far and they will look to continue it with an undefeated record at the Gauntlet. The will play GVSU for a fourth time this year along with games against SVSU and BGSU. The game against Saginaw Valley will be a rematch from the quarterfinals at Nationals last season.
Central Michigan has not seen the court since back in September, but the Chips will still be one of the top teams in attendance at the Gauntlet. The Chippewas will take on GVSU in a rematch from their OT win against the Lakers earlier this year. CMU also has games against SVSU and BGSU. CMU has a lot of talent on their team, and some may be forgetting that they were one win away from an NCDA title last season.
Lastly, BGSU is more of an unknown than most teams attending the tournament for me. BGSU currently sits at 1-2, but they are a talented group. Their games this weekend against top competition will give a better idea of where they stand.
This weekend will certainly provide insight into where each team stands in the Michigan Region. Kentucky and Bowling Green will both have a chance to play against teams they may not see often, and it will give them a better idea of where they are at competitively. There are undoubtedly going to be some classic games played this weekend at GVSU, as each team enters the tournament looking to gain recognition as a national title contender heading into November.