The Eighth Man

Countdown to Kissimmee: Ball State University

Ball State University is one of the top teams in the Midwest, with a roster full of physical chasers and a talented seeker game. Credit: Ball State Quidditch League

Ball State University is one of the top teams in the Midwest, with a roster full of physical chasers and a talented seeker game. Credit: Ball State Quidditch League

In the months leading up to World Cup VI, the Eighth Man will be publishing a daily scouting report for one of the 60 teams that will be competing to become World Cup Champions. A full list of reports can be found here.

We’re kicking off the team biographies with one of the roughest, hardest-hitting teams in the Midwest region, a group good enough to win two smaller tournaments in the fall before earning a semifinal berth in its Regional Championship.

There are quite a few things that separate Ball State from the sizable middle of the pack in the region, but they still haven’t shown the type of consistently dominant play that you would associate with the truly elite teams in the game today.

Still, with a 13-2 record in official games, they are very much a team to watch as April approaches. Here’s everything you need to know about one of the country’s most-sizable teams.

Best Wins: No. 14 Bowling Green State University (Oct. 20, 70*-60), vs. No. 8 Marquette (Oct. 6, 140*-80)

Worst Losses: None

Players to watch: Devon McCoy (chaser), John Lenderts (keeper), Tyler Macy (seeker), Kristi Todd (Beater)

Strategy: Ball State is a physical team with a simple but effective strategy. This squad feeds a lot off of emotion, and finds strength in its size and heavily-trafficked hoop play. Ball State likes to control the pace and condense the field whenever possible. They’ll clog up passing and driving lanes defensively and bring a beater up offensively to create havoc.

Their offense is focused on one of two plans, both of which involve getting past the initial point defender, something that they can do very effectively due to their size and agility. The chaser with the ball will read the beaters once he is by the point man. If the bludgers have been cleared out of the middle, he will bulldoze through the defense with pure strength. If a beater is in the area, the chaser will try to draw their attention before looking for an open man making a run behind the hoops.

To beat Ball State, a team must have a very strong passing game and fast players capable of running an effective counter, the one area Ball State tends to fall short. Without a fully set defense, they are far more vulnerable to teams that can keep the tempo up and make the extra pass when necessary.

Team USA member Tyler Macy remains one of the best seekers in the game, making Ball State a dangerous threat if they can keep the game close. So far this season, Macy is 4-1 on catches in games within snitch range, with the only loss coming to Marquette in the semifinals of the Midwest Regional Championship.

Overall, Ball State is a very solid team with great size and strength, but nothing that can’t be stopped. This World Cup will be Ball State’s first, and I expect a strong outing from them. But I worry about their inexperience on the game’s biggest stage, which I fear could rattle them at a key moment.
Prediction: Ball State is eliminated in first round of bracket play

 

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