Archive for the ‘Tournament Previews’ category

Missouri Loves Company Preview

November 11, 2011

Missouri Loves Company is one of the premier fall college tournaments. It draws teams from all over the country, and this year, six teams that qualified for 2011 College Nationals; Carleton, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Colorado College, and Illinois are making the trek to Columbia.

Power Pool A

This pool is interesting as it has Carleton, Iowa, Colorado College, Minnesota, and Michigan State. Carleton is the defending national champion, but historically they use the fall to build experience rather than playing the top seven in order to win. Iowa and Colorado College are both good and either team could take the top spot out of the pool.

Power Pool B

The winner of the Colorado vs. Wisconsin game will probably determine the winner of the pool. Illinois and Michigan are both good teams but do not have the same depth of bench. Missouri, the hometown team, while improved from last year, will have trouble matching up with all these teams. However, teams tend to do better at home tournaments and Missouri will use that advantage as much as possible.

Ozark Team Match-ups:

Oklahoma vs. St. Louis: The Apes of Wrath have lost Mike Rice but still have a majority of their starters returning. The Apes beat Loki 13-9.

Arkansas vs. Missouri State: Ludicrous is coming off a big win from Harvest. Missouri State is rebuilding again this year and several of their starters are not at full strength. Abe Coffin goes crazy and completes long bombs to Matt Jackson. Arkansas 13 Missouri State 7.

Kansas State vs. Washington University: The Huckstables lost to the Contrabears twice last year, including the Ozark Conference championship game. Even though Kansas State lost Chris Youderian and Pat Shriwise, Washington no longer has Evan Winograd or Joe MacDonald. Kansas State eeks out a win over Washington, 13-11.

Other Ozark Teams:

Kansas: Kansas really wants to put last year behind them. Doing well at Missouri Loves Company will be a good step in that direction. Wisconsin-Whitewater and Carleton GOP are ready and willing to make sure that Kansas starts off this year on a bad note too. Wisconsin-B is not a pushover either. Coming together as a team at MLC will be crucial for the HorrorZontals.

Oklahoma State: Ultimato did not compete in the series last year because they missed the roster deadline. At Harvest Moon last week they showed they had improved some from last year and walked through their pool. This week will be a little bit harder and will show just how much Oklahoma State has improved and how far they have to go.

Editor’s Thoughts: There is some talk that Missouri should not be in the power pools, but Missouri Loves Company is the name of the tournament and it is their home tournament. In college basketball, Chaminade plays against the Div. I powerhouses every year at their home tournament. No one really bats an eye about that and being able to play against the best teams is helpful for learning and finding out where your team stands. In addition, this is the fall preseason, not the last regular season tournament right before the series. If other teams want to guarantee they get in power pools perhaps they should become a power team, or start a tournament of their own.

Harvest Moon Preview

November 4, 2011

The crowds may be coming into Fayetteville, Arkansas this weekend to see the much hyped football game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the South Carolina Gamecocks. But one of the older ultimate tournaments, Harvest Moon, will be drawing its fair share of spectators too.

Harvest Moon, which is entering its 21st edition, has traditionally been a good tournament to figure out where Ozark Section, and now Ozark Conference teams stand. This year should continue that tradition as seven Ozark Conference teams will be there. Central Arkansas, Missouri, Missouri State, Oklahoma State,  St. Louis and Washington will make the trip to Fayetteville along with host Arkansas.

It will be interesting to see how teams match up, especially since Arkansas has kept all of its playmakers — including All-Section and All-Region player Matt Jackson, where as everyone else has graduated at least one major player.

Other teams of note include former Ozark Section teams Harding, Missouri S&T, and Truman State who all finished in the top 7 at Div. III Nationals last year.

 

South Central Regionals Preview

May 4, 2011

As Mother’s Day rolls around this weekend, good children everywhere will be paying attention to their mothers. Meanwhile, good ultimate players and fans of college ultimate will also be paying attention to the action going on in Boulder, Colorado at the South Central Regionals, where three teams will earn bids to College Nationals.

Major Players

Colorado – Mamabird is the only team at regionals that Ozark Ultimate has not seen this year. That does not matter so much, as Colorado’s abilities are well known. At sectionals, Colorado blanked everyone, save Wyoming, who scored just two points. Add a home field advantage to their strengths and Mamabird is looking to return to Nationals, which also happens to be in Boulder.

Colorado College – Wasabi has turned some heads this year. The plucky team from Colorado Springs has shown that they are a force to be reckoned with. The Bitterroot Boys beat Texas at President’s Day, won Centex over UBC, and won the South Central Division III Conference with ease.

Wasabi is led by captain Nick Spiva, who has quietly been putting a Callahan-like season together with the help of Ezra Siegel and Connor Crowley. The rest of the team is by no means slouches, as the Wasabi leadership has made sure there is playing time to go around. This means Colorado College’s victories may not be as impressive on paper, but it does mean that the bench will be prepared if they are called upon in the game.

Washington – Contra is a team peaking at the right time. The timely pickup of transfer Joe MacDonald has allowed Evan Winograd to play in a more natural position and excel this year. The ContraBears won Midwest Throwdown and the Ozark Section, but the teams they will be playing at regionals will give them trouble. Despite the competition, Washington should be alive on Sunday afternoon, but the bench will definitely have to step up and help or Washington will have trouble, just like they had against Harding at Huck Finn.

Texas – The team nickname describes Texas to a T. TUFF is just that, a scrappy, tough team. The 2011 version is better than last year’s team that lost in the first round at regionals but fought back to lose by one in the game-to-go, but with the redraw a few more teams stand in their way this year. The Wills on the team stand out (Driscoll and Campbell) and Coach Calvin Lin is always worth a few extra points just because of his understanding of the game.

Texas barely beat Kansas State at Centex earlier this year and Washington and Colorado College have proven they can play with TUFF too. Grabbing a spot this year will be much more difficult than it was last year, but Lin always has his team prepared. It will be interesting to see where Texas ends up.

Kansas State – The Huckstables are the surprise of the South Central Region. Last year they finished in a tie for eleventh place and this year they are threatening to take a spot to Nationals. The jump in placement is not because of a single player — although Pat Shriwise, Joey Lutz and Aaron Duff have stepped up — but because of the entire team. Kansas State will surely get a confidence boost knowing that Florida and Illinois — two teams they barely lost to this year — made Nationals last week, but their inexperience at the upper levels and the altitude may hurt their chances.

Dark Horses

North Texas – This is not the same team that went to Nationals in 2008 or finished in the top five the last three years at South Regionals. And yet this team has the speed to upset some teams. North Texas just won their conference championship, and  though their loss to Kansas State at Big D in Little D looks like a complete blowout on Score Reporter, it was closer than scores alone can tell. Whoever gets this team in their pool on Saturday is going to have a tough road ahead of them.

Oklahoma – The Apes of Wrath like close games. Only two of their eight losses have been by more than three points and eight of their wins have been by three or fewer points. Mike Rice and Nathan Crain will have to be spot on during regionals to keep their team focused, because if the Apes play like they did at the Ozark Conference they will not be doing much of anything, except playing more close games with Kansas State.

Kansas – The HorrorZontals have put themselves in a big hole. They have the record, ability, and experience to beat good teams, but have been underachieving all season. If the Zontals play like they did against Washington at sectionals they will not be a problem for the major players. If the play like they did against Illinois at Free State the entire tournament they will make some major noise. That is a big “if” though.

Air Force – Athletic is the best word to describe Air Force. They can run with any team on the field, but they make too many mistakes and turnovers. However, there is a good chance that Air Force will take a team or two to the limit. They may or may not pull off an upset, but they will affect the outcome of the later rounds as the teams who get the pleasure of playing them will be tired if they can not put them away quickly.

Ozark Conference Predictions

April 15, 2011

The crystal disc flickers to life again. With no sound and only grainy black and white images, it is a terrible soothsayer. And yet, it is still the best tool to predict the Ozark Conference Championship Tournament.

Pool A:

Kansas State is the number one seed in the tournament. They have earned it with their play this season, but everyone will be giving it their best shot to bring them down. That said, the Huckstables have the team to win it all. Led by Pat Shriwise and Chris Youderian, and with help from players like Joy Lutz, Kansas State has really stepped it up this year. However, they have shown they are capable of bad games – like Williams. If Kansas State is able to stick to their game plan they will out-run and out-gun everyone in their pool.

Oklahoma has been playing beneath their ability all season. Dependent on too few on their deep roster, the Apes of Wrath have come up short many times. However, the Apes have been steadily improving from the beginning of the season up until now, and recently won Heart of Texas Huckfest. Oklahoma looks to be peaking at just the right time, but Nick Neal and Lyle Clark will have to be on all tournament long for the Apes to win it all. If Oklahoma can shut down Kansas State’s deep game they have a shot to upset them, provided they themselves do not turn it with lots of unforced errors.

Missouri is an interesting team. The MUtants are not afraid of any team, but they tend to run out of answers near the end of games. Matt Francis will have to keep his team focused and fresh if they want to make some noise at the tournament. Assuming Missouri brought a full team, something that has not happened all season, they will be considerably stronger than in tournaments past. Unfortunately for the MUtants, a full roster will probably not be enough, though they will definitely make Kansas State and Oklahoma work for their games. If they catch the top two seeds sleeping or off their game, the MUtants could pull off a win or two.

St. Louis has an identity crisis. Loki is a good team, but seems unsure about what style they should play. Long? Short? Loki does not seem to know. This insecurity and confusion stems from injuries and should be fixed by the conference tournament, but it may be too late. Loki has some good players. Pat Porter is a good handler and Connor Noyes can sky with the best of them, but it does not matter if you have stars and no supporting cast.

Pool B:

Kansas was a team full of turmoil in the regular season. The HorrorZontals had trouble with team chemistry and executing game-time skills. All of that does not matter in the conference tournament – as long as it is in the past. Joe Young and Vinny Ciaramitaro make a fine dynamic duo on the field and give teams all sorts of trouble. However, Kansas will need their defensive line to get a few breaks if they want to repeat as conference champions. Kansas knows how to win, but can this team find the strength to win tough games like Kansas teams of the past?

Washington has mystery on their side. They have not played an in-conference opponent all season. The Contrabears are a solid team and will put up a strong fight with all the teams at the tournament. What makes the Contrabears good is their handler corps and deep receivers. Evan Winograd, Joe MacDonald and Alex Stauss create big match up problems for opposing team’s defenses. Washington’s defense is also good but is streaky. Even though they give up points, Contra’s defense has a blatant disregard for the score and play hard even when behind. Washington might be under-seeded but will get their chance when they play Kansas. It should be a very close game.

Missouri State has very little experience and that has hurt their chances this year. Early on it looked like the Bears might have turned a corner and finally rebuilt the team. That assessment was an illusion built on the backs of a close game with Harding and an amazing comeback on Hendrix at Hendrix Ultimate Experience. The underclassmen will probably get to use this tournament as a learning experience and build for next year. However, teams should be careful of senior Dave Underwood who will be laying out all over the place in what will probably be the last tournament of his college career.

Central Arkansas is a young team. They have succeeded in winning several games, but they have yet to see competition like this. UCA will have match-up problems against the other teams, but could give Missouri State a game since they have been steadily improving.

Championship:

Kansas State wins their pool on Saturday after a tough game to Oklahoma. Washington fights off Kansas to win their pool in a barn-burner. The conference championship comes down to who executes their game plan better and who makes the fewest unforced turnovers. Kansas State and their north-south offense beat Washington and their east-west offense.

Oklahoma then puts the pieces of the puzzle together on Sunday to beat Kansas, and Washington in the second place game. Washington takes third.

Kansas is frustrated that they lose to Oklahoma and take their pain out on Missouri to take the fourth and final spot to South Central Regionals. Missouri still gets a South Central Regionals spot though, because a South Central Division III team turns down their regionals bid to go to Division III Nationals.

Disclaimer: The crystal disc has poor reception and could be entirely wrong. For crying out loud, you have to hold the bunny ears to get a fuzzy picture.

South Central Division III Predictions

April 15, 2011

It is time to look into the crystal disc and boldly predict with strong uncertainty who will come out on top this weekend in the Divison III South Central Conference Championships.

Pool A: Colorado College should have no problem winning its pool. Hendrix is the strongest it has ever been, but they are still no match for Wasabi. Rice is a good team and will give Hendrix a game, but the Squirrels should keep their second seed.

Pool B: Harding is the favorite to take the B pool, but Truman State will surely give them a close game. The fate of this game rests in Harding’s handlers. If they are able to get the disc around the Truman State defense without turning too many times, Apocalypse should beat JuJiTSU. If Harding’s handlers turn it over a lot, an upset will be in the making.

Pool C: Of all the pools the C pool will have the closest matched teams. Air Force is a very athletic team; this makes sense as they are training to defend the United States, and so can run teams into the ground. Missouri S&T is a team who prides themselves on giving everyone a fight. This game will be a close one. Ozark Ultimate gives the edge to Missouri S&T by one.

Wildcard: Drury beats John Brown

Quarterfinals: Colorado College  coasts to a win against Drury and gets a chance to play their bench. Air Force will beat Truman State. Truman State outruns Hendrix for the win, but not without issues. Harding beats Rice, but the score is close because Harding likes to make things harder on themselves.

Semifinals: Colorado College beats Air Force with their sound fundamentals, but Air Force gives them their toughest game of the weekend. Harding struggles with Missouri S&T’s athleticism and their own short bench. Harding will end up out-handling Missouri S&T, but just barely.

Finals: Harding is tired from their semifinal game. Despite valiant efforts from captain Tyler Samuel and Ryan Rummage, Harding falls to Colorado College and their captains Nick Spiva and Ezra Siegel for the first South Central Conference Championships.

Game to Go: Missouri S&T and Air Force play for the last spot to go to Division III Nationals. The game is not as close as yesterday, but is a good one that goes to Air Force. The outcome does not matter though as Colorado College moves up to Division I and both teams get a bid.

Disclaimer: Air Force and Missouri S&T could easily end up switching positions in pool play and as a result in the brackets. Harding has a good team but is the most prone to upset.

So there it is: a bold unsure prediction. It will certainly end up wrong, but that is what you get for looking through a crystal disc that is in black and white.

Updated Pools

April 14, 2011

The pools for this weekend’s tournament have been changed once again.

Pool A
(0-0)
A1
Kansas State
(0-0)
A2
Oklahoma
(0-0)
A3
Missouri
(0-0)
A4
St Louis
(0-0)
A5
Washington University-B
Pool B
(0-0)
B1
Kansas
(0-0)
B2
Washington University
(0-0)
B3
Missouri State
(0-0)
B4
Central Arkansas
(0-0)
B5
Kansas-B

Ozark Conference Tournament Updates

April 14, 2011

The pools for the Ozark Conference Championship Tournament have been posted. There are only ten teams now because Missouri State-B has dropped out of the tournament. According to Tournament Director Brad Poreda, there are still four bids to South Central Regionals. That means Sunday will feature an eight team modified elimination bracket with the two pool winners playing for the Conference Title.

Pool A
(0-0)
A1
Kansas State
(0-0)
A2
Washington University
(0-0)
A3
Missouri State
(0-0)
A4
Central Arkansas
(0-0)
A5
Kansas-B
Pool B
(0-0)
B1
Kansas
(0-0)
B2
Oklahoma
(0-0)
B3
Missouri
(0-0)
B4
St Louis
(0-0)
B5
Washington University-B