On February 6th, Central Michigan University will host their second home tournament in as many weeks with the “King of the Mountain” Tournament. In attendance will be a good variety of schools from around the Midwest. CMU will welcome Saginaw Valley State and Grand Valley State from Michigan, Kent State, Ohio, and Akron from the state of Ohio, and Wisconsin Platteville will also be making the trip to Mt. Pleasant for this event.
All in all, this will be a great mix of teams both in terms of the NCDA region they represent, and they level of talent which they possess. There should be some very entertaining games during this event. Here is a brief team-by-team preview:
Let’s start with the host school: CMU. The Chippewas have had an interesting season thus far. They have had some highs, like their two wins apiece over GVSU and MSU, but they also have had some lows, including last week’s heartbreaker of a loss against the Spartans.
The Chips have four games scheduled for their home tournament, playing each of the four out-of-state schools. Expect CMU to bounce back from a 1-1 record a week ago to go 4-0 in this one. I wouldn’t be surprised if this weekend yields a breakout performance for maybe a few young guys on their roster that don’t usually get to be a centerpiece in the Chippewa game-plan. With CMU not having to play SVSU and GVSU, this weekend should be a great opportunity for them to develop young talent and gear up for the highly anticipated Michigan Dodgeball Cup (MDC) on Feb. 27th.
As mentioned above, CMU is not on the schedule for Grand Valley this weekend, so the Lakers will have to wait until MDC to avenge their overtime loss that ended their first semester back in November. In the meantime, GVSU’s young squad will take on Kent State, Akron, and SVSU.
I anticipate only one of these matches having much drama, that being the game against Saginaw Valley. This will be a valuable weekend for Grand Valley to develop their young players as they also prepare for the showdown that is the MDC later this month.
The third and final Michigan Region school in this tournament is Saginaw Valley State. This team is a bit confusing for me due to their up and down year. SVSU has forced OT against GVSU and MSU this year, but they have also lost in blowout fashion to several teams.
I am excited to see how this team looks as they continue their second semester schedule. I was unable to attend the CMU Round Robin Tournament last weekend, so this will be my first time seeing them since the fall. SVSU’s younger players will continue to improve as they look to build momentum leading up to Feb. 27th.
Kent State is arguably the top Ohio Region team that will be in attendance this weekend at CMU. This team is another confusing one for me because I have seen them play great at times, but also show their inexperience at times.
Kent will face a demanding schedule at Central with games against GVSU, CMU, and Ohio. I expect two of these to be very tough matches with their final game against OU being a likely victory. The main thing to watch with Kent State is whether their top level players must carry the load for them, or will the back end of their roster improve enough to make this team dangerous. There is no doubt Kent has so very talented guys at the top, but the 7-15 on this roster is where the concern may be.
I don’t have a whole lot of information on this group because I have unfortunately never seen them play in person. What I can say is that they face arguably the toughest schedule of anyone in attendance. Akron takes on CMU, SVSU, GVSU, and Kent. Yikes! That is a tough schedule for a top level team, let alone a group that might be a bit inexperienced still since it is only their second year in the league. Akron will learn a lot about their team after the gauntlet they have to go through this Saturday.
Ohio, just like Akron is a team I have never seen play. Despite how little I know about them, I am excited to see them take the court this weekend. I know that this is a team that has worked hard to schedule as many games as possible, and that only bodes well for the future of their program.
OU plays UWP, Kent, and CMU this weekend, and I will be most excited to see their match against UWP. Both of those teams are young, and I believe they have never faced each other yet so it will be a good game to see how the young talent on both teams perform.
Last but not least: UWP. This team made it all the way to the quarterfinals a year ago, but they haven’t had the best season in 2015-16. I was able to see them in action in the fall and they certainly have a lot of of young guys.
I am interested to see how one semester of experience may have helped UWP. Will they continue to rely too heavily on star player Matt Bautch, or will this team be more balanced on Saturday? Only time will tell.