April 25, 2014 by Jesse Moskowitz in Livewire, News with 18 comments
After a pretty impressive 2013, (I nailed 13 of the 16 teams, I believe) I’m back and prepared to underperform in my predictions for bids to Nationals! So far I’m an unimpressive three for three, since anyone else who actually made predictions like this would probably be perfect as well. Favorites Claremont (SW), Lewis and Clark (NW), and Georgia College (SE) all fought off the competition to claim their spots at Nationals.
Warren Buffet, what up?
With the aid of the cryptographer I’ve hired to help me decipher the scheduling interface that has brutally murdered the old Score Reporter, I now make my predictions.
Atlantic Coast: This region got pretty interesting at Conferences. UNC-Asheville and Davidson just don’t look as good as they did earlier in the season and I’d be surprised to see them earn bids. Wake Forest went all Breakfast Club and told the region not to forget about them by proving they can beat Elon.
I think Elon and Wake Forest are going to square off in the finals with Wake Forest winning. They’ve been tested this season and I think it pays off. I think Elon has Richmond’s number and they’re able to hold off Robb and the Spidermonkeys.
1. Wake Forest
Great Lakes: So we know it’s a three horse race between North Park, Knox, and IWU. North Park and Knox have played as evenly as any two teams in the country over the past few seasons, but IWU probably has the best player in Travis Carpenter.
As good as Carpenter is, it seems unsustainable for a team to make a deep run with only one quality player. Everyone in the region, seemingly including the showy Carpenter, knows that the team runs solely through him.
Games between North Park and Knox are really fun to watch (or follow on Twitter. What? You guys don’t do other things on Saturday afternoons?). The teams know each other so well and there’s always a ton of runs. North Park has the confidence having taken down Knox twice at conferences so I’m going to go with the Lost Boys.
They have far more experience this season, they’re better coached and more disciplined, they’re deeper, and if they can win their pool play game against Knox, they’ll get a pretty easy path to the finals.
1. North Park
Metro East: One bid for the Metro East? Woof. I’m admittedly a homer, but I think that Stevens, Fredonia, Geneseo, and Wesleyan are four of the top 20 teams in the country. Wesleyan didn’t play all season and had a wonky conference tournament, but they’re quite talented.
Neither pool is easy but Geneseo and Stevens have it easier in Pool A. Hartford is a tough team that will be a thorn in the side of Wesleyan (who they beat at conferences) and Fredonia. TCNJ and Colgate aren’t bad either while the bottom of Pool A is a bit weaker.
The prize for winning the pool play game between Geneseo and Stevens is not having to face Fred, Stevens, or Hartford in quarters and then the winner of Pool B in semis.
Look, I have no idea how this all plays out. The games are going to be close so I think legs will be a big factor. Geneseo has played long games deep into tournaments and their path will be a bit easier. I also think they’re the best team at the tournament so I’m just going to take them.
Stevens is good but I’m hearing, even from players on their team, that they’ve lost some important bodies. They’ve been there before and they’re only a year removed from a semis finish at Nationals so I wouldn’t be surprised if they take down Geneseo on Saturday morning and make their lives easier. I can only hope that Marques Brownlee doesn’t prove me wrong and then tweet about it to his 17 million followers and make me the laughing stock of the twitter community. That would ruin my tweet cred. Hard.
You wouldn’t do me like that @MKBHD, would you?
New England: Bentley is really good. No one else in the region could do what they did this season. I really wanted to see how they did on Sunday at New England Open, but Mother Nature wasn’t having it. Not an Ultimate fan, I guess.
I don’t think anything too crazy happens in pool-play. Middlebury can definitely take down Bowdoin but it won’t matter that much cause I think the two teams meet in the game-to-go. I think Bentley beats Amherst in the finals and Amherst takes down whoever comes out of Middlebury/Bowdoin to take 2nd.
Brandeis lacks some punch and I don’t buy WPI or Bryant. Craze might prove me wrong and play in the game-to-go, but I don’t see them making Nationals.
I think Bowdoin is better at the top of their roster but for some reason I’m going to take Middlebury. It might be the whole winning Nationals thing or that I picked Bowdoin last season and they didn’t come through for me. Tough to see the National champs finish fourth in the region just a season later.
North Central: GOP gets a bid. I don’t know how it happens or who they beat, but they always find a way to do well in the series. They also beat St. Olaf at conferences, which ain’t easy.
I think there’s going to be some weird backdoor stuff here since there’s three real contenders here for two bids. Sorry Parkside, you’ve played admirably, but just not there yet.
Whoever squares off in the finals, one of the two teams is going to be tired from grinding it out against that third team. They can spend more energy trying to beat whatever other well-rested team ends up there or they can play for 2nd. Strategy will be key.
I think that GOP beats Olaf in the championship and Olaf holds off St. John’s in the game to go. These are all going to be fantastic games regardless. I hope GOP never goes DI ever again because watching these three go at it year after year is a treat.
2. St. Olaf
Ohio Valley: Both pools are pretty tough but that’s the nature of the OV. I throw around the word “deep” quite a bit when talking about different regions around the country, but the Ohio Valley is well, the deepest. The top four teams in each pool are legitimate contenders that would give any DIII team in the country a good game. Even Xavier and Haverford aren’t gimmes.
Lehigh should win the region. I think Pool A will be a bit more of a grind than Pool B but Lehigh is just a step above everyone at the tournament. Their semis game shouldn’t be too tough either as there’s no clear favorite to take 2nd in Pool B.
A Cedarville-Kenyon matchup in the other semi is my prediction. I really hope this happens now that I think about it. Kenyon, the grizzled stalwart. Cedarville, the upstart with nothing to lose. Kenyon back for revenge after an upset at Midwestern Invite. I think Kenyon comes out on top in that one but Cedarville grinds their way to the 3rd bid.
Dickinson’s offense just isn’t dynamic enough. A poachable vert and questionable hucks is not the recipe for a deep run on Sunday. However, they are fiery and have the ability to go on big runs so the top teams have to be aware.
Legs will be a big factor so everyone has to focus on closing out games all weekend. The teams that can do that will be in good shape on Sunday.
South Central: Before making my prediction, I listened to Ice Cube’s How to Survive in South Central, a real gem off of the soundtrack to Boyz N the Hood. Needless to say, it provided me with no information about anything relevant to my life, much less ultimate frisbee. Classic Ice though.
The South Central Division III ultimate frisbee region is pretty up for grabs. The top eight teams make bracket-play on Sunday, so there can be mid-level upsets that throw bracket seeding for a loop. Still at the end of the day I think the finals will be between Truman State and John Brown. They’re the two most complete teams at the tournament.
I’m going to take John Brown in this one. I get the feeling JBU hasn’t hit their peak while we might have seen the best from Truman earlier this season. I think Genheimer does a decent job on Fergus and JBU limits Truman’s role players.
Remember: this is almost the exact same John Brown team that went to Nationals last season.
Follow @SouthCentralD3 on Twitter for updates throughout the weekend.
1. John Brown
Well. Last season, DIII regionals were much easier to predict. To be honest, I’m not wildly confident in a lot of my picks. The mid-to-upper-level teams have really stepped up this season and made these tournaments much more competitive than last season. Speaks to the parity of the DIII conference, I guess.
What do you think? Which tournament are you most excited about? Exactly how wrong and uninformed am I? What’s the best song off of the Boyz N the Hood soundtrack? @MKBHD, should I get a Dell Inspiron or Latitude?
Post your predictions in the comments! If anyone posts a perfect 13 of 13 team prediction, I’ll buy them a beer. Or mail them a disc. Or hire them. Who knows.
Follow me this weekend at @Jesse_Moskowitz for updates. Thanks for reading.