Power Rankings: December 2021

Team writeups provided by the NCDA Power Ranking Panel

1) Ohio State-Up from number five, the Buckeyes claim the number one spot in the Midseason Power Rankings. The Buckeyes rounded out the fall semester with successful records at the OU and UC tournaments defying competitor expectations and reasserting dominance in the league. OSU heads into the spring semester with its strongest rookie class in years. Expect more captivating matches at the ODC in February when the Buckeyes look to solidify themselves as the top team in Ohio.- Kathryn Mays

2) Cincinnati– Down one spot from our previous power rankings, the Bearcats slot in at number two. While it is difficult to argue being ranked behind Ohio State after a convincing loss on their home court, UC did have a strong 3-1 showing at the Cincinnati Super Smackdown. We anticipate the Bearcats will bounce back strong next semester, but they had better figure out what happened against OSU in a hurry, their next tournament is the Ohio Dodgeball Cup.- Wes Peters

3) Towson– Coming in at an unblemished 6-0 are the Towson Tigers. While they are without a loss, some question the Tigers’ strength of schedule. Their marquee wins are against James Madison and Penn State (twice), but considering when JMU went west, they went 0-3. We will see where Towson truly stands soon, however, as rumor has it they intend to head west early in the year.- Wes Peters

4) Michigan State-Michigan State is an interesting team. On one hand, they hold two convincing wins over Grand Valley State and Ohio State, but on the other have also lost to Cincinnati and Akron. With the way things shook out at the Cincinnati Super Smackdown, it’s hard to figure out where to place the top 8 or so teams in the league, and MSU is no exception. What they have to their advantage, is a deep, young recruiting class that will only improve as the year goes on. Expect Michigan State to be definitively one of the best teams in the league come April.- Wes Peters

5) Grand Valley State- This is an interesting year for GVSU as they are not as experienced or deep of a team, but that does not mean that they are not still contenders for the title. GVSU has had teams in the past that were young and they were able to rely on the veterans to get them up to speed. If they can get more recruits next semester, and get more matches they could end up being the team to beat. This semester they got a win against UC and had a tough loss to MSU. Both are in the top 5 in the power rankings so GVSU is still definitely a top five team and look for them to prove it again come nationals.- Erik Zander

6) Akron- At six, this is Akron’s highest placing in the power rankings. This is by no coincidence, as every tournament since the first of the semester, the Zips, led by Clay Egleston, have left with a winning record and some impressive wins. Their most recent being against the then undefeated Michigan State Spartans. This upcoming semester will be telling of where the rookie class and the younger players are at skill-wise, after the loss of a few key players to graduation in December. This Akron team will be looking to cement themselves within the top 5 of the league come day 2 of Nationals.- Colby Briceland

7) Penn State- Penn State finds themselves as the 2nd best team on the East Coast sitting in the Top 10 of the power ranking and Top 7 in the current standings. Their only losses came against Towson but seeing JMU going 0-3 at the JBBB Tournament, it does diminish the value of their wins. Nevertheless, they’re hosting a tournament in early February that got some heavy hitters. Most likely, they will challenge themselves by playing against some Top 5 opponents (outside of Towson) on their schedule. We will get more answers on this team after the PSU and JMU Beast Tournament in February.- Shadeed Drakeford

8) Bowling Green State- BGSU moves up a spot from our last power rankings into #8. They went to the Viking Clash and took care of business to show they are a top team in the league going 3-0 on the day. This BGSU team like so many previous squads excels when it comes to catching, but one of the things that is different this year is that they have a lot more arms they can depend on so they are a much more balanced team. The Falcons have a lot of new faces that gained a lot experience so look for these players to be much more confident in the future. The ODC next semester will allow BGSU to show if they are true contenders for the title and if they preform well they will put all teams in the league on notice. -Erik Zander

9) James Madison- The Dukes got thoroughly dismantled during their only trip east this semester, but at least they gained a good picture of where they stand and how far they need to go to really be considered a top team in the league. They have all the firepower in the world, but as James Madison historically has demonstrated, it doesn’t mean much at the end of the day if you don’t utilize much strategy. I besiege the Dukes to please watch some game film from some of the better teams this year, or really even from years past, and implement some of what you see. If they were to do so, the hierarchy of the east coast, and perhaps even the league as a whole, could be flipped on its head by nationals.- Wes Peters

10) Saginaw Valley State– SVSU comes in at #10 and for a good reason as they didn’t hesitate to go against top competition. Four of their six opponents this semester, are in the top 10 in the power rankings (BGSU, OSU, GVSU, and MSU). SVSU played these teams well by putting points up and making it a challenge for their opponents. With this experience this semester, they should play even better in the spring and be that much tougher to beat. It will be fun to see how they compete at the MDC and if they have what it takes to be one of the top teams in the Michigan region.- Erik Zander

11) Nebraska- Four wins and zero losses versus rival UWP along with a solid recruiting class nets the Cornhuskers their highest power ranking spot in team history, slotted in at 11th in the league. Club President Robyn MacDonald claimed November’s Baller of the Month honor for her leadership and the results her club has seen thus far, and so we’re excited to see what this team can do against other competition as they are hopefully able to head farther east in the spring.- Wes Peters

12) Cleveland State- CSU came to play at their home tournament (2-1 on the day) only losing to BGSU, a team that has taken OSU to Overtime. With the return of Joseph Walsh, it allowed for their squad to play with more confidence and the experience their new players picked will be big next semester. The Vikings have some good throwers and catchers so don’t be surprised if they make it hard on some of the top teams in the league. They are well coached and will continue to take bigger strides on developing their game and skillset, it will be fun to watch to see where they end up next semester.- Erik Zander

13) Ohio- Ohio is a young, fascinating, up-and-coming team. On the cusp of a potential National Championship prior to COVID, this graduation ravaged team looks to rebuild and return to prominence in the league sooner rather than later. At their home tournament they debuted one of the bigger rookie classes in the league, and played with a ton of energy. We hope to see a lot more of the Bobcats in the spring semester as they continue their retool.- Wes Peters

14) Virginia- This is the best UVA team that we have ever seen. Unfortunately, they haven’t played in a tournament since October and sitting at a 2-3 record with one of those wins coming via forfeit against VCU isn’t helping their cause. If the season would end today, they would be the #15 seed at Nationals playing against GVSU. But not all is lost; they have a solid mixture between rookies and veterans and they have a solid strategy in place. If they can keep their strategy afloat when some of their top players gets out, they will have some opportunities to upset their opponents.- Shadeed Drakeford

15) Maryland- Maryland has improved tremendous since their 1st tournament at Towson but they only have one win to show for it against VCU. They have a travel restriction which only allows them one road trip 300 miles away from College Park per school year which is reserved for Nationals. So they would need to capitalized on winning as many matches as possible within the East Coast. They will be traveling to Penn State in February where they most likely would be playing against opponents outside of their regions to challenge themselves. If the season would end today, they would be on the outside looking in the tournament sitting at the #17 seed. Expect for them to get better each tournament and close the gap within the East Coast by the end of the season.- Shadeed Drakeford

16) Kentucky- The Wildcats played their first tournament since COVID on December 5th and finished with a respectable 1-2 record. Another team hit hard by COVID, they feature a solid arsenal of strong arms, which is always a great foundation to build upon. Look for this team to use the experience they’ve gained to take another step forward by Nationals.- Wes Peters

17) Wisconsin Platteville- The Pioneers were busy in the months of November and December, as they participated in in three events in four weeks. They had some tough losses to a strong Cornhusker team currently ranked in the top ten in the standings. Platteville also made it outside of their conference to take on competition from the Ohio region. Although, they couldn’t bring a full squad, they show cased their talent letting other teams know to not take them lightly in the future. If there new players keep developing and keep working as a team it is going to be fun to see what they can do next semester.- Erik Zander

18) Western Michigan– Playing their first tournament of the year a few weeks ago with only 8 players, the Broncos definitely took some lumps against Ohio State, Akron, and Kentucky. Lead by Captain and Founder Peter Broe, Western Michigan hopes to take the experience they’ve gained at the Cincinnati Super Smackdown and churn out some wins next semester.- Wes Peters

19) Virginia Commonwealth– This is a tough spot for VCU. COVID-19 really destroyed any recruitment opportunities for the Rams in the past two years. Add on to the fact that every single of their opponents on the East Coast has gotten better since their previous tournaments and you can see why the Rams don’t have much room for error. If the season would end today, they would be the #16 seed at Nationals playing against Towson. Ike needs to find a way to stay in the game for as long as possible. The rest of the team needs to find ways to contribute as a whole. The Rams might need to adopt the whole “us against the world” mentality in order to get their swagger back. VCU historically has been viewed as underdogs throughout its league history, they tend to play better when no one believes in them.- Shadeed Drakeford

20) Miami– Rounding out our midseason power rankings are the RedHawks of Miami. A club thoroughly in the rebuilding process due to a large graduating class and COVID, they are doing a great job playing matches and getting their freshmen critical experience they will need to lead this team back to prominence.- Wes Peters

Author: Kevin Bailey

Current NCDA Chief of Content. Former Captain for Grand Valley State University (#4).

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