Saturday, November 10, 2012

Midwest Cup Day 1

Day 1 at the Midwest Regional provided much excitement, but nothing was more surprising than Kansas' two losses in pool play. Kansas will need three out of four wins tomorrow to advance to the World Cup. Other favorites, such as Ball State, Marquette, and Michigan looked solid with Michigan State clinching the first Midwest World Cup spot and Bowling Green State taking an impressive win over Kansas. Most teams still have one game to play tomorrow, and I'm here to guide you through what will happen, the knockout round Matchups, and teams most likely to clinch World Cup spots by winning their groups.
Pool 1
Ball State 3-0 +420
Central Michigan 1-1 +210
Grand Valley State 1-1 +180
Miami 1-1 -50
St. Mary's 0-3 -760

Ball State looks very strong and has already taken care of Miami and Central Michigan. The 2 and 3 spots will go to either CMU, GVSU, or Miami. Grand Valley State has a difficult schedule tomorrow: they have to play Ball State and Central Michigan. If GVSU can limit the point differential against BSU or beat Central Michigan, they will advance to the knockout round. But, if Miami can beat Central Michigan and run up the score against St. Mary's, they might also be able to fight back from a -50 point differential. Central Michigan plays GVSU and Miami tomorrow and wins against those teams will seal the deal. I don't think GVSU can beat BSU or Central Michigan and Miami has a sure win against St. Mary's so.... I expect Ball State to take the automatic World Cup qualification spot and Central Michigan and Miami to move to the knockout round.

Pool 2
Marquette 2-0 +200
Loyola-Chicago 1-0 +10
Eastern Michigan 1-2 -30
IUSB 0-2 -180

Marquette will take the automatic qualifying spot to the World Cup and Loyola Chicago will beat IUSB (but lose to Marquette) for a 2-1 record and the 2nd spot in the pool. Eastern Michigan, with their 1-2 record will grab the 3 spot.

Pool 3
Bowling Green State 3-0 +350
Kansas 1-2 +50
Southern Illinois 1-1 -50
Purdue 1-1 -60
Dennison 0-2 -270

BGSU, having got Kansas and Purdue out of the way, will run the table and, unexpectedly take the World Cup spot. Kansas will beat cellar-dwellers Dennison and take the 2 spot. Purdue and Southern Illinois will face off in a go-to-the-knockout-round elimination game and Purdue will win. Purdue has had much more experience against the best of the Midwest this year and experience is very valuable in tense, game deciding moments- just ask Middlebury.

Pool 4
Michigan 3-0 +300
Crimson Warhawks 2-1 +90
Minnesota 2-1 +140
Toledo 0-3 -300
Indiana 0-2 -230

Michigan will clinch the automatic World Cup spot after a blowout of Toledo and the Crimson Warhawks and Minnesota will duel it out over 2nd place but the loser is almost guaranteed to get third. However, Warhawks-Golden Gophers could show if either team is a championship contender or a knockout round elimination. Both teams have similar styles of play too-scrappiness and defense, so the game will probably come down to the snatch. I predict a Minnesota win, 100*-50.

Pool 5
Michigan State 3-0 +150
Ohio State 1-1 +20
Missouri 0-1 -50
Illinois State 0-2 -140

Michigan State became the first Midwestern team to qualify for World Cup Six today with a victory over Illinois State. The Spartans won't play until late tomorrow afternoon and by then, they will be rusty compared to a knockout round winner. For the 2nd and 3rd spots in this pool Ohio State will likely take the number two spot unless they lose to Missouri and Missouri beats Illinois State, in which case OSU would still advance to the knockout round. For Illinois State to advance, they need to beat Missouri and Missouri needs to beat Ohio State. I predict that the Ohio State will win out and Missouri will eliminate Illinois State to go to the Knockout Round.

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