The National Collegiate Dodgeball Association’s schedule is a bit different from that of most club sports leagues. With school gym space always up in the air, teams are unable to have set schedules early in the season. Since we don’t have a complete schedule of matchups set for next season, I will base my list of “most anticipated matchups” on the premise that any match could happen during the year at some point. Without further ado, here is my list of the (possible) matchups that I am most excited to see take place next season.
- Grand Valley State vs. Central Michigan
The first game on my list is a pretty obvious one: GVSU vs. CMU in a rematch of the national title game. This matchup will likely be played a large number of times throughout the year, so the better team won’t be determined right off the bat. The rest of the league won’t have to wait long this fall to witness this matchup; it is likely they meet for round one of this heavyweight battle in September!
- James Madison vs. Towson
This matchup has certainly been hyped up in the past, but it never has really lived up to expectations. JMU has held the upper hand by a wide margin the last few years despite gradual improvement from TU. This year may be a bit different in my opinion. I believe JMU still will be favored, but Towson returns nearly all their star players and JMU graduates arguably the most talent of any team from the East Coast. If Towson is ever to dethrone the mighty Dukes of JMU, this year is their year to finally do it.
- Michigan State vs. Saginaw Valley State
I’ll start off by saying I believe MSU will be the better team at the start of the season, but nonetheless I expect a heated match the first time these teams clash. This will be a rematch of the quarterfinals game from last year’s Nationals. SVSU was the underdog, but they always seem to come ready to play at Nationals. The Michigan region will be tightly contested top to bottom once again next year, so this match will hold a lot of importance in determining the hierarchy of the region.
- Ohio State vs. Kent State
As is usually the case, the battle between OSU and Kent is one that will determine the top team in Ohio. Despite an improved BGSU team, I think this will once again be the big game for the Ohio region. Both teams will be coming off disappointing finishes to the season (first round exits at Nationals) so it will be a game where both teams have a lot to prove. I am excited to see how the first match between these two teams plays out next fall.
- Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky
The Battle for the Bluegrass is always one to keep an eye on, even if both teams aren’t top five in the league. This season, I expect UK to be the favorite but it will be interesting to see how WKU has improved after having so many rookies on varsity last year.
- Towson vs. Ohio State
A rematch from one of the most memorable games at this past season’s Nationals, if Towson and Ohio State are ever able to play each other during this coming season it is guaranteed to be a classic match. Both teams should be even better next year thanks to only a few graduation losses from each squad. I believe this would once again be one of the most exciting matches to watch in the NCDA.
- Central Michigan vs. Michigan State
CMU and MSU had a great series of matches last season, and I don’t anticipate that changing next year. Both groups will return the vast majority of their impact players so there will be no shortage of talent when these two teams step on the court. Not to mention, this will be Wes Peters’ first game competing against his former team.
- Central Michigan vs. James Madison
The dodgeball gods gave us two of these absolute gems last season. Both of these teams should be elite once again this year, so this game will be one to watch for sure. A rematch of one of the most exciting NCDA Final Four matches of all time? Yes please.
- DePaul vs. Wisconsin Platteville
Once again, this matchup should determine who has bragging rights in the Illinois Region. DePaul should be improved while UWP is coming off a quarterfinals appearance at Nationals.
- Maryland vs. Towson
One of the better rivalries in the NCDA, UMD and Towson has had some great matchups in the past. UMD held the upper hand for most of last year, but TU had a stronger finish to the season at Nationals. 2015-16 will bring a new chapter to this always entertaining in-state battle.
- Grand Valley State vs. Saginaw Valley State
The Battle of the Valleys has long been considered one of the best rivalries in college dodgeball. Add onto that the fact that SVSU’s season ended at the hands of GVSU last year. All in all, this matchup is always heated, and I don’t expect that to change this season.
- Kentucky vs. Maryland
A rematch of one of the most exciting games from nationals? Yeah, I would love to see this game happen at some point this year. UK brings back almost everyone from their 2014-15 squad, while UMD will need to replace a few of their better performers.
- James Madison vs. Kent State
Another matchup that has been recognized as a top-tier rivalry in the NCDA, JMU vs. Kent is always one to keep an eye on. I have a feeling we will see these teams play at least once (BEAST V) next year.
- Stevenson/Baldwin Wallace vs. Anyone
Of course we want to see these new teams compete. I have heard good things about both Stevenson and Baldwin Wallace and I can’t wait to see the teams in action. Hopefully they both make it to Nationals 2016.
- Pitt vs East Coast Teams at “Beltway Bash”
There is talk of Pitt joining the NCDA as an active member team. If they are able to make the trip to Towson for their fall tournament, it will be very interesting to see how they do.