The Eighth Man

The Bottom of the Bracket That Could Have Been Preview

Unfortunately, Tulane and Loyola have dropped out of the tournament at the last minute. However, we felt that most of the information in this article was still relevant, and chose to publish as is.

The best of the rest from the nation’s strongest region will meet up this weekend to get in some practice against competition closer to their level before diving in to what will be an intense Southwest Regional field. Many of these teams are on the World Cup bubble, and strong performances at this tournament will go a long way in legitimizing their claims for a spot at the dance. Below, we’ll break down the tournament pool-by-pool before looking into bracket play:

Pool One

Austin Quidditch: 3-0 [Overall Seed: 1]

With UT’s win last year, a huge wave of newcomers joined the program, meaning the Longhorn B team is even stronger than before. AQ has proven that they can compete at a higher level than most of the non-elite teams so far, but has fallen short every time when getting their chance against the elite. This is their tournament to gain the momentum and confidence necessary to perform at Regionals against the elite teams that have shut them down before.

 

Sam Houston State University: 2-1 [4]

SHSU has caught the snitch in every official game they’ve played this year (win or lose). SHSU has proven they are able to be at the top of the non-elite teams, but a good amount of their primary girl players aren’t able to make it out to this tournament, which is going to hurt them when it comes down to the important games where substitutes scrape the bottom and guys aren’t able to carry the team alone.

 

Bat City (Merc): 1-2 [No Bracket]

Even though this team will include mostly those players that didn’t make UT’s B-team, there still lies huge potential in those that didn’t make it, purely because UT had so many to choose from. There is rumor that some UT Football players will be playing on this team – whether this is true or not, we’ll wait and see.

San Marcos Sharknados: 0-3 [11]

The Sharknados have played several teams that are going to this tournament this season already, and they weren’t able to come out on top. Unless some large changes are made soon, this team is going to be stuck where it currently is.

 

Pool Two

Oklahoma State University: 3-0 [2]

OSU recently got a tournament victory at the 2nd Annual Oklahoma Kickoff, and they’re looking to add another to their list. They’ve got a strong lineup, with plenty of experience and noticeable depth. As long as they stick to how they normally play, they should be able to pull off a 3-0 pool play record with little trouble.

University of Houston: 2-1 [5]

U of H is bringing 5 new players to this tournament; with the new semester came a huge influx of recruitment availability at the large school. Hank Dugie is making his comeback debut at this tournament, and alongside his fellow play-makers on the team he should be going home with a few wins under his belt.

 

Bottom of the Bracket will serve as Hank Dugie's debut for the University of Houston after winning a World Cup with Texas last spring.  Credit: Lauren Carter

Bottom of the Bracket will serve as Hank Dugie’s debut for the University of Houston after winning a World Cup with Texas last spring. Credit: Lauren Carter

Texas Tech University: 1-2 [7]

A once well-known team that is slowly trying to get back on top of their game. They’ve been having some recruiting issues, but have progressively been improving their roster. This tournament will be a test of whether their athleticism can make up for their lack of experience.

 

Tulane: 0-3 [10]

Tulane is having a rough year so far, only scoring a total of 30 points of Wolf Pack Classic. It’s unlikely they’ll make much noise in this tournament: they still have a long way to go, with a definite need for successful recruiting.

Pool Three

Silver Phoenixes: 3-0 [3]

Silver Phoenixes have a couple of victories under their belt this season so far, including the last-second score-snitch catch victory against SHSU at Lone Star Cup II. Silver has the easiest bracket of the three, so they should be able to squeak by without much danger, as long as they stick to their usual game plan.

 

Oklahoma Baptist University: 2-1 [6]

OBU should be able to squeak by with a 2-1 record in this pool. OBU’s conservative play style that heavily relies on their beating should allow them to make as few mistakes as possible against Loyola and Osos, but unless they’re able to amp up their aggressiveness they won’t be able to join the top of the pack.

Loyola University: 1-2 [8]

Loyola would normally be my favorite over OBU, but they’re going to be missing several key players in the beater lineup; this will hit them hard, as they are heavily reliant upon their beater game. For them to snag a win against OBU Loyola’s chasers are going to have to step up and prove that they don’t need the crutch of their beaters, otherwise they’ll fall short.

 

Osos de Muerte: 0-3 [9]

The Osos have had a hard time so far this season, with no victories under their belt yet. Baylor is definitely one of the harder schools to form a B-team for, purely because of their unique play-style. Learning and implementing the coordination-heavy “Baylor defense” is certainly possible, but requires more brute force. At Lone Star Cup II, it appeared their defense wasn’t coordinated enough to execute either defense correctly. Hopefully they’ve been working on their coordination and chemistry; otherwise, they’ll be stuck at the bottom of the pack.

 

1 – AQ

2 – OSU

3 – Silver

4 – SHSU

5 – U of H

6 – OBU

X – Bat City

7 – Texas Tech

8 – Loyola

9 – Osos

10 – Tulane

11 – Sharknados

First Round

[9] Osos vs. [8] Loyola

This should be an easy victory for Loyola. The Osos still need a lot of work until they will be able to snag some victories.

[7] Texas Tech vs. [10] Tulane

Texas Tech should have this game fairly easy through sheer brute force alone. With Tulane’s smaller-framed players, Texas Tech should be able to go where they please and Tulane will find it more difficult to defend.

 

Quarterfinals

[4] SHSU vs. [5] U of H

This is the hardest bracket game for me to call; usually I would call SHSU as the victor here, but because they are going to be missing a couple of key players and Hank has joined the UH ranks, I have to give the edge to UH in a close game that will probably end up in a down-to-the-snitch-catch victory.

[3] Silver vs. [6] OBU

This should be a relatively easy victory for Silver as long as they stick to their normal game-plan. OBU will not have the offensive capability to break through Silver’s defensive structure, which should lead to a near-shutout victory.

[1] AQ vs. [8] Loyola

AQ’s brutality and experience should cause this game to be a shutout due to Loyola’s missing beaters and dependent chasers. This will definitely end up being a high-scoring game for AQ, with little opportunity for Loyola to squeeze out a win in this matchup

[2] OSU vs. [7] Texas Tech

This should be a rough, hard-hitting game but will likely end up as a clear victory for OSU. Not only does OSU have a lot more experience playing the game in general, but their solid team chemistry should allow them to minimize mistakes and secure what should be an easy victory.

Semifinals

[1] AQ vs. U of H [5]

AQ and U of H have already faced off at Lone Star Cup II, and AQ dominated the game. Even with Hank’s return, AQ should come out on top of this game because they have more experience working together as an aggressive unit on the field. Unless U of H’s beaters are able to step up and dominate the field, preventing AQ’s aggressive chaser game from deploying as planned, this could potentially end up with a similar result to their Lone Star Cup II match-up (AQ 170* – U of H 30).

[2] OSU vs. Silver [3]

With both of these teams usually sticking to a more conservative play-style, I predict this game will be a low-scoring game, that will end up being really close. It’ll likely end up being just outside of snitch range, with the dominant victory towards OSU because of their more aggressive Chaser game.

Finals  

This game should end up in favor of AQ, not only because they are more experienced but because they will be aggressive straight from the get-go, causing some early points. OSU will need to prove that they are able to keep up with the hard-hitting game that UT teams are known for. If they are able to find a way to either match their aggressiveness or cause AQ to make mistakes through smart beater play, then they will have a chance to hold it within snitch range. If it does come down to a seeker battle, I’d have to give the edge to OSU, but I don’t foresee that happening.

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