College Update: Easterns, Centex, and March Madness

The regular season is reaching its peak!

Texas' Dre Esparza pulls off the Greatest. Photo: Conrad Stoll -- UltiPhotos.com
Texas’ Dre Esparza pulls off a Greatest. Photo: Conrad Stoll — UltiPhotos.com

This year, we are hosting a new feature on Ultiworld: a bite-sized weekly recap of the action across the College Division. This will serve as a supplement to our standard tournament reporting and will offer a high-level look at the latest happenings and the biggest stories of the week.

Men’s

UMass Finally Gets Signature Wins In Dominant Easterns Performance

There were plenty of surprises at Easterns, but UMass wasn’t one of them. They defeated all comers to claim their first tournament win of the year, as well as their best wins of the year (over Minnesota and UNC, among others). Jeff Babbitt was an unstoppable force, guiding the team to breaks on defense and plugging up any offensive holes when they needed him to.

Their 15-9 win over #3 ranked Minnesota shows off the kind of weekend that they had.

Much talk this week has focused on a controversial play from UNC Wilmington. That has overshadowed the strong performances from the finalists, as well as many exciting moments from throughout the weekend. The field continues to look wide open this year: all of the quarterfinalists — UMass, Minnesota, Georgia, Pittsburgh, UNC, Stanford, UNC Wilmington, and Florida — all had moments of strong play this weekend.

Wisconsin Wins Trouble In Vegas, BYU Accommodations?

It’s been a while since TiV has been the elite tournament it was a decade ago, but the tournament is still going strong. Stanford Invite winner Wisconsin went undefeated to take home the crown, but did get some tough games from BYU (12-10) and Colorado State (12-9) en route to another crown. Both of those teams look like sleepers for challenging for Nationals bids in the Northwest and South Central, respectively.

Serious conversations about accommodating BYU in the postseason1 have begun, as they are currently ranked at #19 in the USA Ultimate rankings and are undoubtedly a contender in a four (or possibly five?) bid region.

Richmond Establishes DIII Bonafides With Layout Pigout Victory

Richmond went 7-0 at Layout Pigout, beating out a field of strong DIII contenders and asserting themselves as a major contender for this year’s DIII Championship. The #19 team in the DIII rankings, Richmond is set to fly up the charts after beating current #1 Brandeis 15-10 in the final.

Elsewhere

#1 seed UC San Diego won College Southerns comfortably…Maryland got one point wins over Georgetown in semis and Ohio in finals to win Crouching Tiger, Hidden Panda…Top seeded Case Western Reserve easily won the CWRUL Memorial Tournament…#1 seed Baylor lost to #6 seed Texas State in pool play but avenged the loss in the final to win the Heart of Texas Huckfest…Top seeded VCU dominated the competition at River City Tune Up…Valparaiso bounced back from a pool play loss to win the Music City Tune Up

Power Rankings

UMass moved past Wisconsin to #1 this week after their complete performance at Easterns. They’ve only lost one game in March, to #4 Pittsburgh in the semis of the Stanford Invite, and they played the majority of the game without Jeff Babbitt (concussion).

Georgia flies up the rankings into the top 10 after a strong Easterns showing that could have been even better, save for a flat performance against UMass and a bad collapse late against Harvard. Carleton also moves up after starting to get back in the win column after a dreary Stanford Invite.

Florida State, Central Florida, and BYU all rejoin the rankings after dropping out at some point during the season.

Looking Ahead

This Weekend: Although most of the teams are local, the Northwest Challenge will provide an early preview of a very deep Northwest regionals, with top 25 teams Oregon, UBC, Washington, Western Washington, and BYU competing. Don’t sleep on Victoria, who stomped UBC in the Douglas Bowl earlier this month and sits in the USAU Top 20.

Next Weekend: The final weekend of the college regular season will have major bid implications as Huck Finn and Centex take center stage.

Women’s

Texas Defends Home Turf in Centex Winds

The upwind-downwind forces at play turned many of Saturday’s best matchups until coin flip games, but it was Texas Melee who emerged from Sunday as the winner of the prestigious Women’s College Centex. Melee weathered the intense conditions and fierce competition, defeating Michigan in a thrilling final that included a completed greatest, 12-11.

The subheader to the weekend would belong to Central Florida, who piled up four losses in the gusty conditions. Their offense struggled with resets and rhythm and they couldn’t find their way out of any of the holes they dug. After a 14-0 start on the west coast, UCF has gone 8-6 in two trips westward.

Elsewhere

No surprise that #25 UC San Diego, the only ranked team in the field, came away the victor at College Southerns, decimating Princeton 15-5 in the final…UNC-Wilmington jumped all over an injured Georgia Tech, beating them 15-8 in the final after thrashing them Saturday in an undefeated weekend at Easterns…Liberty went undefeated and won a dramatic final against Georgetown, 9-8, at JMU Bonanza…Despite a challenge from Valparaiso, Loyola-Chicago won Last Call, finishing without a loss…Case Western was mostly unchallenged in a pretty easy sweep of CWRUL Memorial, their home tournament…River City Tune Up didn’t feature the prettiest ultimate, but Williams claimed the title over Wellesley…The PLU Alum crushed at PLU BBQ, while the top finishing college team was Portland State, whose only loss was to the Alum team…

Power Rankings

A month ago, Central Florida was undefeated and crushing all comers. With April on the horizon, UCF has garnered six losses, including four at Centex, and dropped to #11. Has their magic formula been solved?

Texas and Michigan, the Centex finalists, made big moves. UT jumped into the top five, appearing at #4, while Michigan climbed eight slots to #6. California is another big winner at Centex, making semifinals and getting nice Ws, and rose 12 spots to #8.

Other winners from the past couple of weekends: Florida State (#19), Tufts (#20), Northeastern (#21), and Vermont (debuting at #23). Falling lower or out of the rankings: Minnesota (#16), Notre Dame (#22), Colorado CollegeUSCKansas, and Wisconsin.

Looking Ahead

This Weekend: March Madness concludes with a clashing of titans in Washington state at Northwest Challenge, where the top 3 teams, three other top 10 teams, and a hungry field will do battle, with Ultiworld on hand to provide live coverage. A few regional level tournaments, like Spring Awakening and I-85 Rodeo, round out the weekend slate.

Next Weekend: Nine tournaments will give women’s teams their last competitive play prior to the postseason, including New England Open and Old Capitol Open. After this, the pressure in on.


  1. they are not allowed to play on Sundays, per university rules 

  1. Keith Raynor
    Keith Raynor

    Keith Raynor is a Senior Editor and the Business Development Manager at Ultiworld. He co-hosts our Deep Look podcast and does play-by-play and color commentary. He coaches UConn Rise, the college's women's team. You can reach him by email (keith@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@FullFieldHammer).

  2. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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