Friday, November 16, 2012

NCBA Collegiate Cup Preview

This weekend, the NCBA will host its first Collegiate Cup in Olathe, Kansas. All qualified teams have played in a conference tournament and were seeded on the basis of their performance at the conference championship. Two pools of six teams will play a round robin on Saturday and on Sunday, single elimination will go from 8:00 to 1:00.
Pool 1
LSU 5-0
Baylor 4-1
Kansas 3-2
Silver Phoenixes 2-3
Missouri 1-4
Webster State 0-5
LSU, led by Brad Armentor, has been knocked out of tournament after tournament by Texas A&M. LSU should take care of Baylor as long as they keep the game out of snitch range and injured Kansas will fall to the Tigers too. Baylor's offense performed extremely well against Texas, but LSU runs a slower, power offense that will be harder to counter for the fast, agile and skinny Baylor Bears. that being said, I have Baylor ahead of Kansas at 4-1 simply because the physicality of the Southwest will hurt Kansas, who played this past weekend at the Midwest Cup. Kansas was described by Eighth Man writer Curtis Taylor as being "beaten down" and even though Hai Ngyuen and Ronnel Sharp played fantastically at the Midwest tournament, seeker Aaron Pope failed to catch the snitch in every game that it mattered in. Pope and Joel Havercamp went a combined 1/6 on snatches at the Midwest tournament. Kansas should be on upset alert against Civil War foes Missorui and the also physical Silver Phoenix.

Pool 2
Texas A&M 5-0
Marquette 4-1
Crimson Warhawks 3-2
Loyola-NO 2-3
KC Krakens 1-4
Wichita State 0-5
Coming off their victory at the Midwest Regional Championship, Marquette should be cockiest than ever. Their self-described "air of superiority" (Curtis Taylor) will not, however matchup with the hard hitting Texas A&M. Marquette plays similarly to Texas with fast, agile, chasers, however they do not have the experience with Southwest physicality. If Chaser Bobby Roth can keep the Golden Eagles in the game, standout seeker Alex Busbee might be able to snatch a win, but A&M led by Drew Wasikowski, Reed Duncan and Becca DuPont are just too high scoring. The Crimson Warhawks in some ways had a better tournament that KU's first teams at the Midwest Cup, impressively challenging Minnesota for a World Cup spot. The momentum should carry the Warhawks past Loyola, KC and Wichita State for third place in Pool 2.

Seeding After Day 1
1 Texas A&M
3 Marquette
4 Baylor
5 Kansas
6 Crimson Warhawks
7 Silver Phoenix
8 Loyola-NO
9 KC Krakens
10 Missouri
11 Wichita State
12 Webster

Bracket Play
Bracket play should be rather calm (no upsets) up until the Quarterfinals. Kansas having played already will face a huge challenge in a well-rested Baylor. With Kansas eliminated, the semifinal Matchups should be Texas A&M vs. Baylor and LSU vs. Marquette. This is when all havoc breaks lose. Baylor, quick and agile will face Texas A&M in a rematch of the Diamond Cup finals. In that game, Baylor was exhausted from a long game with World Cup favorites UT and still was able to hold A&M within 10 points at the time of the snatch. I predict that Baylor, coming off an impressive, but less-tiring win against Kansas, will knockoff the #3 team in the nation. Secondly, I predict that Marquette, will beat LSU. Roth and female chaser Cecilia Ware will counter Armentor and the game will come down to the snatch. The Golden Eagles, sporting some of the most expensive uniforms in the sport, have the advantage at seeker with Alex Busbee. In a surprise Baylor vs. Marquette final, both teams seem very evenly matched. The quaffle game for both teams is quick and are hitting, but again, Marquette has the advantage at seeker. Busbee will pull the snatch to avenge their 40-10 lead over Middlebury that was called off at the a World Cup to become the first Collegiate Cup champions.

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