Sunday, February 24, 2013

Projected Rankings

Eighth Man Rankings will be out some time this week. This is what I expect them to look like.

1. Baylor
3. Maryland
4. Miami
5. Texas A&M
6. Texas
7. Villanova
8. Boston
9. Marquette
10. Emerson
11. Ball State
12. Michigan State
13. Bowling Green State
14. Lost Boys QC
15. Hofstra
16. Penn State
17. USC
18. LSU
19. Michigan
20. South Florida

Baylor wins Southwest Regional

100*-80 over UT. Second consecutive victory over UT for the Bears, both on snitch catches.

Texas and Baylor in the Southwest Championship

After beating Texas A&M on two snitch catches, one in regulation, one in OT, Baylor advanced to the final to play Texas. Texas has been cruising through bracket play and have yet to play any tough competition the whole tournament. Get excited!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Southwest Regional Bracket Predictions

Round 1/Winners' Bracket
1. Baylor vs. Bye
Winner: Baylor

8. Austin QC vs. 9. Northern Colorado
Austin beat UNC 70-40* in bracket play and I expect that domination to continue. Austin is superior in the quaffle game and although, UNC caught the snitch in round one. Austin's lead will big too large to overcome in bracket play again. Winner: Austin QC

5. LSU vs. 12. Loyola NO
While I saw promise in Loyola when they beat Roadrunner QC and scored 40 on Texas, a bad loss to Arkansas (210*-50) shows that Loyola will be no contest for LSU. Winner: LSU

4. Texas A&M vs. 13. Roadrunner QC
A&M will easily cruise in this game, probably being able to rest their best players for the second round game against LSU. Winner: Texas A&M

3. Texas State vs. 14. Denver Dementors
Texas State has played well so far. Wins against Austin QC and UNC are especially telling. UNC has beaten the Denver Demontors last season so by common opponents, Texas State wins. Winner: Texas State

6. Arkansas vs. 11. Oklahoma State
Both teams suffered losses to high quality programs in pool play, Arkansas, 180-50* to Texas and Oklahoma State, 120*-30 to Baylor. In addition both teams are able to put up a lot of points. Arkansas scored 210* on Loyola and Oklahoma State scored 130 on North Texas. The difference between these teams is Arkansas has allowed 50 points against both Loyola and Roadrunner and OSU has allowed 90 and 80 points against UNT and Silver Phoenix and has not caught the snitch at all so far. Winner: Arkansas

7. Silver Phoenix vs. 10. Sam Houston State
Sam Houston State has probably been drained from playing both A&M and LSU in pool play whereas besides Baylor, the Silver Phoenix cruised through pool play. Winner: Silver Phoenix

2. Texas vs. 15. North Texas
Texas will beat North Texas. Consider the fact that UT has averaged 166.67 points a game. Winner: Texas

Round 2/Winners' Bracket
1. Baylor vs. 8. Austin QC
Baylor has been strong averaging about 150 points a game. Chasers Paul Willard and Beissy Sandoval have been strong. Austin's loss to Texas State makes me doubt whether they will be able to handle Baylor. Winner: Baylor

4. Texas A&M vs. 5. LSU
LSU is no longer part of the elite in the Southwest. They did not give A&M a close game in bracket play and lack the stars that A&M has. Guitierrez, DuPont, Wasikowski, Gregorie and the "three headed-monster" of Luke Wigley, Colin Tseng, and Andrew “Dirk” Hryekewicz will overpower LSU. Winner: Texas A&M

3. Texas State vs. 6. Arkansas
Both teams have yielded similar results so far today, but this past year, Texas State has gained a lot of experience playing against good teams. While I think Arkansas is a team to watch out for next year, (perhaps another Baylor) Texas State has the edge right now having played in big tournaments such as the Diamond Cup. Winner: Texas State

 2. Texas vs. 7. Silver Phoenix
Similar to Texas A&M, Texas has a great arsenal of players that include Kody Marshall and Augustine Monroe. Winner: Texas

Semifinals/Winner's Bracket
1. Baylor vs. 4. Texas A&M
Baylor has beaten Texas and LSU, but has lost twice to A&M. Why? Because Texas A&M is really good. Even if Willard and Sandoval win the matchup over Wasikowski and Gregorie, Texas A&M's seeking is superior. In finals or semifinals games in tournaments since the beginning of the fall 2012 season, A&M is 4/4 on snatches.

2. Texas  vs. 3. Texas State
Sorry Texas State, maybe next year you'll have a shot. Winner: Texas

Finals/ Winners' Bracket
2. Texas vs. 4. Texas A&M
Texas' strength is their speed and fast offense. The excellent core of beaters at UCLA couldn't keep up with Kody Marshall and Slipstream at WxSW. I believe that Texas' chasers will outrun A&M and jump out to a lead. Texas has scored 140 on LSU, 150 NAU and 180 on UCLA. In the UCLA game especially, UT was explosive at the start of the game. The problem is that in all of those games Texas failed to catch the snitch. The "three headed monster" that includes Luke Wigley, Colin Tseng, and Andrew “Dirk” Hryekewicz will be going up against Jake Alford. Alford did not play during the fall season but so far, in pool play, he and UT's seeking core is 1/3. This is the difference between winning the World Cup and losing in a World Cup bracket play game to a lesser opponent. Texas has the offensive skills to win, but their seeking has let them down. (Also, the seeking was at fault when Baylor beat UT) Texas A&M wins this game on a snatch, in my opinion, by 10 or 20 points. Winner: Texas A&M

Monday, February 18, 2013

Rocky Top Inter-Regional Rumble

The Rocky Top Rumble featured Florida State, Miami of Ohio and QC Carolinas, along with Southern Mississippi and Tennessee Tech. The Southern Regional have not happened yet, (Augusta, GA on the weekend of March 2 and 3)

Miami did not qualify for the World Cup, coming in 13th in the Midwest, whereas QC Carolinas grabbed a spot at the Quid-Atlantic Regional. The interesting part is that Miami beat QCC at Rocky Top. If you look at QCC's opponents at the Mid-Atlantic regionals and see the scores, you'll see that QCC puts up a lot of points. QCC crushed Franklin and Marshall, Kutztown and Lock Haven and beat Virginia Tech twice, 110-100* and 100*-50. Clearly QCC's chaser game is impressive.

Miami's performance in the Midwest was perhaps stunted by a difficult group and elimination game matchup. While Miami took care of Grand Valley State and St. Mary's in pool play, Ball State and Central Michigan were better than Miami. Still though, large wins against GVSU and St. Mary's earned Miami a +120 point differential for 13th place overall. To get to the World Cup, Miami played Ohio State, a team that is very strong and plays Miami frequently. The experience probably allowed Luke Changet, a quidditch strategy mastermind to develop a gameplan that left Miami in the dust and eliminated.

Also, one has to consider Florida State, Tennessee Tech and Southern Miss' prospects at the Southern Regional. The U and USF are guarantees, and WC5 runner-up Florida will likely take a spot due to the talent of Dr. Dre, but that still leaves 3 spots. Other regional contenders include, Ringling, who was quite impressive at the Bae Cup going 3-0. FGCU had a decent showing at the Wolf Pack Classic in October in Louisiana. While the only they beat was New Orleans, they played a close game with USF in the Semifinals, 40*-30.

At Rocky Top, Florida State, Tennessee Tech and Southern Mississippi were added to this list. USM beat QCC twice and Tennessee Tech beat out USM on point differential for third. Florida State truly shined though. Going 5-0, the Seminoles beat the aforementioned Miami of Ohio in the finals 80*-20.

So which region is best? I would say the Midwest is deepest by far, but the South and Mid-Atlantic have QWC Championship contenders in Villanova, Maryland and Miami. Only one team is on that level in the Midwest in my opinion, Marquette.

The poll to the right is also a great chance to show regional pride!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Western Cup Preview!!

Western Cup is this weekend!! After reading predictions from the Eighth Man and the IQA I just have to chime in because some of those predictions and some of that reasoning, well, you decide... :)

Pool 1: USC, Arizona State, Santa Barbara Blacktips, and Riverside
Pool 1 is the toughest pool in my opinion. USC's strong lineup is led by August Lurhs, Remy Conatser and David Demarest. That core or chasing attack with Lurhs facilitating play like a point guard from the keeper position will be enough to win most of these games, but a strong defense, with an emphasis on beating, will stop USC in bracket play.
While the IQA predicted Arizona State will go 0-3, I think that is foolish. With Willie Jackson, one of the strongest and most dominant keepers in the west anchoring a hard-hitting defense, ASU will pose a threat to USC and their game against the Blacktips will be one for the books.
The Santa Barbara Blacktips, a team that could easily be dismissed because of their new-ness to the Quidditch world, was wisely considered by both the Eighth Man and the IQA. The Blacktips traveled all the way to Utah for the Snow Cup, a journey that proved their dedication and continue to post decent to good results at smaller Northern Californian tourneys. Watch out for the Blacktips.
The IQA predicted Riverside would end in 11th place. I believe that is inaccurate because of the pure strength of their pool. Riverside goes 0-3.
USC 3-0
Arizona State 2-1
Santa Barbara 1-2
Riverside 0-3

Pool 2: UCLA, NAU, Hollywood Harpies, Oxy Doxies
Pool 2 is really only a competition between UCLA and NAU and that might not even be a competition. As I mentioned in my previous post, UCLA has played very well since their disappointing fall season ended. While experience was gained against star teams from the South and Southwest, Miami and Texas, few good results came forth. Their story has since changed. Led by a fantastic male beating core which features Asher Abramson, two highly effective chasers who have become comparable in the quidditch world to Serena and Venus in tennis, Missy Sponagle and Vanessa Goh and keeper Zachary Luce, UCLA is my favorite out of this pool.
NAU has been shaky this season. Although they have beaten Arizona State, they were destroyed 140*-40 by UCLA in Albuquerque. The Narwhals are a defensive team and high powered offenses like UCLA's are a death knell to NAU. The Narwhals can be physical, but they cannot keep up with the fastest teams.
The Hollywood Harpies and the Oxy Doxies will fight to keep out of the cellar of this pool. The Harpies recently lost their best player, Tony Rodriguez to the Lost Boys and have no player to fill the gap.
UCLA 3-0
NAU 2-1
Hollywood 1-2
Oxy Doxies 0-3

Pool 3: Lost Boys, San Jose State, California, Golden Snitches, British Columbia
The Lost Boys are up in the top of the Western Region now with the addition of Rodriguez. The tactical minds of Steve DiCarlo and Dan Hanson will be invincible now with the star player they have always needed in order to be a top team.
San Jose State has the ability to be the Cinderella team at this year's Western Cup for the second year in a row. Last year, SJSU won their pool and they have continued to make progress since, playing California regularly.
California are the losers here. While I believe they are a very capable team, they are vulnerable to letting up against smaller teams. Cal rarely plays the best of the West and normally plays teams like Stanford, SJSU and the Skrewts (I'll get to them later). When the Golden Bears finally make it to the big stage, I think there is a chance that they might play less hard against any of their normally opponents and get handed a loss on a snitch grab.
I would say it is very unlikely that the Golden Snitches (Cal's 2nd team right?) or UBC get the best of any of these teams.
Lost Boys 3-1
San Jose State 3-1
California 3-1
Golden Snitches 1-3
UBC 0-4

Pool 4: Utah, Skrewts, Arizona, Stanford
Pool 4 is the weakest IMO. The IQA's favorite, the Silicon Valley Skrewts have not beaten Cal recently and their one of their "best wins" according to the Eighth Man is a 70*-50 win over the Lost Boys. 1) that win was before the Lost Boys had Rodriguez and 2) they were losing by 10 at the time of a lucky snatch.
Utah is my favorite because of a strong, but second place finish at their Snow Cup. A relatively n team will bond and play behind their veterans to a WC6 spot.
Arizona and Stanford are similar in the fact that they routinely play good teams and are newish teams from big universities. Stanford has made progress though, while Arizona continues to be blown out by NAU and ASU.

Crimson Fliers 3-0
Skrewts 2-1
Stanford 1-2
Arizona 0-3

More will be posted throughout the weekend. Right now my WC6 teams are UCLA, USC, Lost Boys, Utah Crimson Fiers, California, and Arizona State.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Quidditch Season is Back!!

Well, it has been a while, but after a few long months on Privet Drive, receiving socks and other great gifts from my family, Quidditch is back. Southwest Regionals are this weekend!
First though, let's recap what has happened to the world cup favorites across the country since late November.
Texas- very impressive showing at the Mardi Gras Cup. Destroying LSU at home and utterly out-playing them reminds me that UT is my World Cup pick. UT beat LSU in the final, 180-40*.

USC- the high flying Trojans, who were on top of the world after winning the Hollywood Bowl have plummeted. Losing in official and unofficial games, the Trojans just are not looking like themselves. But, we all know what USC is capable of doing with Lurhs, Conatser and Demarest and players of that caliber don't just disappear. I fully expect USC to be ready next week at Western Cup.

UCLA- the opposite story of USC, the Bruins have played great since November taking care of business with the smaller California teams and beating USC by 110 points.

Miami- has been dominating the FQC, USF is really their only decent competition and they have beaten the Bulls, . Florida poses no threat to the destructive Hurricane anymore and if a home-state team is going to win the World Cup, it will be the U, led by David Moyer.

Glass City- showed the similarity of teams in terms of skill. Michigan State and Michigan's experience and good seeker play eventually led them to the finals past Bowling Green State and Purdue respectively. Michigan State defeated their in-state foes, 80*-50, obviously a game that could have gone either way.

Texas A&M, Maryland, Villanova, Emerson, Boston and Marquette are teams that have not played any games of huge significance since the end of the season.