Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Quidditch Bracket Busters

I'm beginning a new series to go along with Seeking the Cup! Seeking the Cup features WCVI "favorites," whereas Quidditch Bracket Busters talks about the teams aren't generally considered serious contenders.

At World Cup V, Florida advanced to the finals to the disbelief of everyone outside of the Sunshine State. The 2012 fall season was tough for the Gators, and they did not place at the Bae Cup. However, at Southern Regionals, Florida won their pool and was seeded 2nd going into bracket play. Still though, many quidditch experts aren't considering Florida as a team that could contend for the Cup. I interviewed Dre Clemens, the chaser who got an entire stadium cheering "Dr. Dre" at Icahn Stadium and current captain of Florida Quidditch.

Me: Do you consider yourselves underdogs going into WC6 considering you are the highest placing WC5 team to qualify for WC6? 
Dre: We don't consider ourselves underdogs at all, but what sane team would.

Me: How does this contribute to your overall confidence?
Dre: Well, we've had a long rough season, and I don't think confidence has ever been a problem. So going into the tournament we'll be pretty confident

Me: What do you think your odds of advancing out of Pool Play are? How do you feel about your pool and the matchups? 
Dre: Advancing out of pool play shouldn't be too difficult. I'd say we have pretty good chances to make it to the second day. In regards to the pool, I like our match ups and we should be able to do very well. 

Me: What would be your keys to another Cinderella run? In other words, what has to happen for Florida to beat a few higher ranked teams?
The key to another run is great game play. The chasers have to defend well, the beaters have to make good defensive stops, and it always help if you can catch that snitch.

Are there any other specific teams that you think could pull off a series of upsets in bracket play? Why?
Yes undoubtedly, in the game of quidditch anyone can win with solid game play and a great snatch. But to name a few USF, FSU, Pittsburgh are some of the underrated teams that are better than their rankings suggests. if teams take them lightly in bracket play, they'll be in for a surprise.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Thoughts on Pools

Like everyone else in the Qudditch world, I was tuned in to the Selection Saturday livestream. (until the sound went away, then I followed the twitter feed) I am pretty pleased with how the pools turned out. They seem even, for the most part, and should create some interesting matchups. Listening to the Eighth Man's breakdown of all the pools afterwards, I wanted to give my thoughts on the pools, so be watching, soon, for the "12 Days of Quidditch."

As mentioned on the Eighth Man, I think Pool 2 will be the easiest but I think one of those teams can advance to the Elite Eight. I think there are a lot of upset probabilities and teams that know how to win and win in dramatic fashion in that pool. (Skrewts, Penn State, RIT, Florida, Loyola)

Pool 3 is a pool of death physically. If I were Fleming, I wouldn't even go to the World Cup or beg to be moved to Division 2 on account of having to play A&M, one of the hardest hitting and hitting annoyingly legally, Michigan, Johns Hopkins, believed by many to be one of the dirtiest teams and NYU, who isn't too shabby. Hopefully the refs will keep things in hand.

Best player v. player matchup comes from Pool 4, I think. I can't wait to see the beating wonders of Asher Abramson against keeper Daniel Daughtry of BGSU.

Pool 6 is wide open, IMO and will tell us alot about which regions are the best and which are lacking.  For instance, Texas State will have to uphold the big expectations of the Southwest against MSU and Pitt and Geneseo will have to prove the Northeast's strength.

Boston vs. Villanova is obviously highly anticipated, but I prefer the games out of Pool 12. The round robin Miami, ASU and LSU will be interesting and I am willing to predict each team will go 1-1 in that round robin.

The international teams could be really weak. McGill and Carleton aren't going and have been replaced by two very mediocre Canadian teams, Toronto and Fleming. Right now, the international teams are so far behind the American teams. I bet every D2 team could beat TEC Quidditch and I don't see why those precious D1 spots don't go to teams that have played a game. TEC v. Villanova is going to be really, really ugly and is going to make a lot of people mad. I don't think the international teams are ready for the WC, with the exception of maybe the Canadian 3- McGill, Carleton, and Ottawa and teams like Paris should have to play in D1 their first year. Next year- give 'em an autobid to the WC but not before they've played real competition.

Seeking the Cup: UCLA

Just wanted to say that I have never been as fond of UCLA as a lot of other quidditch bloggers. I was one of the ones saying, "I told you so," after UCLA lost at WxSW and the Hollywood Bowl. But seeing video footage of UCLA makes me really impressed and I understand why they are the favorites to some people. UCLA has so many good players and I only mentioned 4 in the video, but the Bruins are really deep. Almost as deep as A&M, IMO. But anyways, here it is.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Seeking the Cup: Texas

I'm starting a video-highlights series that will go through 8 teams that I think are favorites to win the Quidditch World Cup. Seeking the Cup will feature Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Miami, Marquette, UCLA, Boston and Maryland using video footage on the Eighth Man's site and the IQA's Rogue Bludger Productions. A huge thank you goes to the videographers who's videos made this possible.

My first installment is Texas! https://vimeo.com/62028596

Monday, March 4, 2013

IQA Rankings

Looking at the new and updated IQA rankings today, I can almost finalloy respect them. With Canadian and Australian teams being an exception, (I don't think McGill or the Melbourne Manitcores deserve to be in the top ten) here is what the rankings look like.

1. Texas A&M
3. Texas
4. Maryland
5. Boston
6. Baylor
7. Emerson
8. Miami
9. Marquette
10. Texas State
11. Ball State
12. USC
13. Hofstra
14. Silicon Valley
15. Michigan
16. Kansas
17. Bowling Green State
18. Villanova
19. Michigan State
20. Tufts

Here are the IQA's rankings mixed with the current (February 27th) Eighth Man Rankings with point value being given to placing.

1. Texas A&M
2. Texas and UCLA
4. Maryland
5. Baylor
6. Boston
7. Miami
8. Emerson
9. Marquette
10. Ball State and USC

Just another example of how a mixed ranking approach- a formula and a poll voted on by quidditch experts is better. In my opinion, both polls point out each others flaws and support each others strengths. A serious coaches poll would be awesome too.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Southern Regional Championship

Pool Play Standings

1. Florida 6-0 +460
2. South Florida +490
3. Tennessee Tech 4-2 +280
4. College of Charleston 3-3 -160
5. Ringling 2-4 -140
6. Brevard 1-5 -240
7. Florida International 0-6 -700

Note: Ringling forfeited their game against USF. I gave USF a 100 point win and Ringling a 100 point loss. I am not sure if the Southern Regional Committee did something similar, but I thought this was most fair.

1. Miami 5-0 +740
2. Southern Miss 4-1 +20
3 Florida State 3-2 +90
4. South Carolina 1-4 -260
5. FAU 1-4 -270
6. Winthrop 1-4 -320

Note: the Southern Regional Committee has FAU in the 4th spot and thus advancing to bracket play. I have double checked point differential according to a google doc posted by IQA scores but South Carolina's point differential is better than FAU. Also, South Carolina beat FAU, so head to head goes to South Carolina. Hopefully, this will be resolved and the right team will play Florida in the first round of bracket play and the right team will be eliminated.

1. Florida
8. FAU

4. Tennessee Tech
5. Florida State

2. Miami
7. College of Charleston

3. South Florida
6. Southern Miss

Prediction: Florida and Miami will easily advance. South Florida will have to play hard and make sure USM can't get a come from behind snatch, but USF will advance too. Tennessee Tech and Florida State is a toss up right now. Based on the results of the Rocky Rumble though, (FSU won), FSU will win, clinching their spot at WC6.
In the losers' bracket games, Tennessee Tech will beat FAU easily. FAU is the weakest team that advanced going 1-4 with a -270 point differential. Southern Miss will beat College of Charleston too as CoC has the second worst point differential that advanced. (-240)
In the semifinals, I have Miami beating USF with the help of a David Moyer snatch and great chasing from former Bull, Sean Pagoda. Florida, who had lower expectations for this tournament, (low expectations is just how the Gators like it) will ride a 7-0 record and number one seed all the way to the finals past FSU.
In the finals, I expect no let-down from the Gators. Like the final against Middlebury, Miami, a superior team will probably jump out to a lead: 30 or even 40-0. But I bet the Gators will claw back into the game with the help of Dre Clemens. I don't think it will be enough though. I have Miami 130*-70.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Quick Prediction on the South

I don't have time for a major breakdown and I think the one written by Andy Marmer of the Monday Snitch on the IQA's site is pretty similar to my own beliefs. Look for seekers like Miami's David Moyer and Ringling's Bryan Bae to shine and chasers such as Miami's (former USF) Sean Pagoda and Florida's Dr. Dre to play well too.
Otherwise, my qualifying teams are Miami, USF, Florida State, Ringling, Florida and Tennessee Tech. Florida is in trouble in my opinion. They recently needed two snatches to beat FSU in overtime at the Clash of the Titans and scored zero quaffle points on Miami. If Florida faulters or chokes, Southern Miss and South Carolina are also potential qualifiers, but I just can't believe that Florida would fall.
This week I bought my WC6 tickets and this weekend features the last regional! Get excited. Also, I am in the process of writing a review on the State of the League Address so expect that.
Happy that my favorite region, the smallest and least developed is shining this weekend. Hopefully the FQC can play well again at WC6. Good luck!