The Eighth Man

Midwest World Cup Roundtable

Credit: Harry Clarke

Credit: Harry Clarke

In recent weeks, interesting tournament results has thrust Midwest quidditch into the national spotlight. Now, days before the World Cup, we sat down a variety of players from across the region to talk about the good, the bad, and what the region is capable of at World Cup.

What Midwest team do you think makes the deepest run?

Samy Mousa (SM): In order, I would say the three that have the highest probability of deep runs based on their favorable pools are Bowling Green, Michigan State and Minnesota.

Alexis Moody (AM): Definitely Bowling Green and Minnesota, with Michigan State and Central Michigan also having the capability of going far. Bowling Green, Minnesota and Michigan State all have great seekers capable of making a grab in SWIM situations, while Central Michigan has a stifling defense and high octane offense to keep it close with the best.

Daniel Daugherty (DD): I completely disagree with Minnesota. The way I see it, even if they do well and win their pool, they could end up with a 2nd seed Southwest team in the Round of 32. The Southwest has plenty of experience playing against a zone defense like Minnesota runs, and I don’t see Minnesota as comparable to Baylor at all.

Alexis Moody: I agree that an early Southwest matchup in bracket play will lead to an early exit for the Gophers, but Minnesota has a pair of highly underrated athletic seekers who could prove vital in SWIM games. Realistically, Bowling Green is the one most likely to make the deepest run, but Minnesota, Michigan State, and Central Michigan all have the talent to do something big depending on their matchups.

Tyler Walker (TW): Michigan is another team I think has all the tools to make a deep run. They have tough, physical chasers, and their beating/seeking game is solid to say the least. They, along with Central Michigan, have plenty of physicality to be able to hang with any of the Southwest if they are met early on in bracket. The only thing that could really set them back is the unfortunate fact of being in almost everyone’s pool of death. They really could be exhausted after having to play probably the hardest trio of games of any Midwest team in pool play.

Luke Changet (LC): If anything can be learned from Northern Arizona, Lost Boys, Bowling Green, and Kansas last year, it’s that seekers fuel deep runs, and that beaters fuel seekers. I’ll agree tentatively that Michigan State is poised to make a deep run. We have a good pool for it, comparatively, but defensively can struggle. We have the seekers and beaters for it, but I wonder if our chasers can hang with top teams and keep them from putting points on the board.

I strongly disagree that Michigan is poised to make a deep run. They have below average seekers and below average beaters. Andrew Axtell and Batzer are the only reasons they’re in a lot of games, and once teams key in on that, which they will in bracket play, Michigan is done for.

I’m with Dan, I don’t see any kind of deep run from Minnesota. There’s a lot of hype around them after B1G/MAC, but remember that they were blown out by Michigan State at regionals, when there wasn’t a foot of snow acting as an eighth defender for them. I highly doubt the snow will be there in Myrtle Beach. As far as the original question, I’m going with Bowling Green. They have the beaters to control a game, the seeker to finish it, and the chasers to compete with anyone.

 

Which Pot One or Pot Two team will disappoint most?

Samy Mousa: Ohio State is given a rough situation to fight out of, I wouldn’t be shocked if they were a little battered and bruised come bracket time.  Likewise, Michigan State has the highest potential for disappointment, especially if they can’t get through that Arkansas game.

David Hoops: Michigan has the pool that could make it either the positive surprise or the negative one. Like the other Pot One-to-Four teams in that pool, I could see UM go 1-3 almost as easily as 4-0. NYDC has probably more star power and talent but less physicality, the Blacktips have Andy Abayan, who is a massive wild card analytically, and Austin Quidditch can match Michigan’s physicality and isn’t afraid of playing more experienced squads.

Alexis Moody: I love Ball State almost as much as I love Bowling Gren, but they got the short end of the stick with their pool. I think every single team could be competitive with the other, especially if Sam Houston gets motivated. Couple that with the disappointing results this semester, and pool play could end up disastrous.

Dan Daugherty: I am going to agree with Alexis. Minnesota might be a Pot One team, but they are a lot like Arkansas in that people feel that they don’t necessarily deserve it because of their showing at regionals. Even though Minnesota didn’t lose to any lower tier teams like Arkansas did, I still see their ranking being a bit of an anomaly.

Also, David, the fact that you can see Michigan going 1-3 or 4-0 means that 1-3 could easily be predicted. That being said, if they lose to a second team like Austin Quidditch, no matter how good people say they are, I will be severely disappointed. But I simply don’t think that will happen. I hope that doesn’t happen.

Then there’s Ball State. I think they just got an extremely difficult draw based on how they stack up in their pool. I think Emerson plays a style that will pose a problem for them, while Northern Arizona is such a great team in SWIM situations that they might be able to pull off that upset.

Tyler Walker: I think that it has to be Kansas. They are going to easily make it to Sunday, but one of two problems will come up. The first is that their seeking game has taken a hit. I know I am beating a dead horse, but it’s a fact that without one of the most reliable seekers in the country the, Jayhawks could have been knocked out of regionals by Marquette in the quarterfinals. Or by Michigan State in the semis. The second is the Pot Three team they drew. I think they have actually improved at chaser with the swap of Hai Nyugen for Colby Soden, but Jordan Callison is too much of a hit to that quaffle game. Richmond has hung around all year with the top tier of the Mid Atlantic, and Kansas will not have enough to separate themselves in that game.  As for Michigan I definitely have them making day two, so a 1-3 pool play would be a disappointment. Ohio State seems to have a weak pool in terms of pots 3-5. They should walk through that pool relatively easy. I really do not know how to disagree for my team without sounding biased, but I did not want to ignore the above comments.

Luke Changet: I’m with Tyler on Kansas maybe not performing at a top level, but I don’t think that’s really “disappointing,” as we don’t really know what to expect from Kansas after the losses mentioned above. Really, Kansas is an anomaly right now, and their game against Texas A&M will be very telling as far as where they stand. I think, before those losses, they had maybe a 1-in-3 chance of upsetting the Aggies. Now, I think 1-in-10 is being generous. Ball State has underperformed recently, but with a full roster, they should be back to normal. I think Devon McCoy helps that team more than anyone realizes, including the team itself, and I think with him they’re a totally different monster. I’m picking Michigan to disappoint due to their virtually non-existent seeking game. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them eliminated in pool play.

 

What team will ultimately surprise in pool or bracket play?

Samy Mousa: I wouldn’t be shocked to see Missouri fight their way out of a bad situation and into some spotlight.

Alexis Moody: I actually think Miami (OH) has the capability to turn heads with their pool. Villanova famously plays to the level of their opponents, and I think Miami has a chance to stay in snitch range. Carleton is also down some of their top players after their roster suspensions, and NYU is also down a couple of their best players. I’m interested to see how Matt Mignery, Michael March and Brian Neibecker bring the hurt against low contact teams. I also think Tina Kinstedt and Jeremy Ferlic are the best beater duo in this pool. The Lionhawks have a strong chance to win out, which would completely shock everyone.

David Hoops: I actually really like that pick Alexis. The only question I have for Miami is their seeking: I’m not a fan of picking an upset team that has had chances to take down top teams in snitch range this year but has yet to do so. They have made grabs against a depleted Bowling Green team and Central Michigan in the fall to force overtime, but an underdog team needs stronger seeking results than that.

Alexis Moody: I’m inclined to agree David. Brendan Kelly, also known as Cato, is their best asset in the seeker position, but he also plays major minutes at keeper, and by the time the seeker floor is up he’s pretty tired. I would love to see Mignery take control at keeper for the majority of their game against Villanova, keeping Kelly fresh for when the snitch is on pitch. The issue there is that Dan Takaki is one heck of a seeker who has more SWIM pulls than Kelly, so even if they are in snitch range it’s unlikely that they get the grab. Even so, a clear Midwest tier two team keeping Nova in snitch range for the second year in a row is newsworthy enough for me.

David Hoops: I also agree with you, Samy, on the Missouri front. Pool Nine doesn’t have a stereotypical powerhouse team from pots one or two, and LSU is a bit of a wildcard in terms of roster numbers and depth. Missouri finally has close to a full 21 roster, a problem that has plagued it since the team started playing. The top-end talent for Missouri has always been there, and finally we’ll be able to see what the team can do when they don’t get as tired at the end of the day.

Daniel Daugherty: Miami and Missouri both have a shot but I have reasons I don’t ulitmately see it in the cards for either of them. Miami doesn’t have the toughest Pot One or Two teams, but NYU is an extremely solid team. I think that leads to them getting taken just out of snitch range by all three. Missouri, meanwhile, is much deeper than they ever have been with the addition of Alex Scheer. Scheer is use to leading an entire offense on his own, and now he gets to play alongside Daniel Shapiro, Josh Ebbesmeyer and others. But they have yet to play together. Scheer, to my knowledge, hasn’t even practiced with the team, and I think it may lead to more issues than solutions.

Tyler Walker: I have to agree with everyone, but for the sake of debate, and since everything I would have said was already taken, I will throw two others into the mix. The first is Minnesota. In pool play, I think they will “surprise” everyone, if that’s still possible, and beat the Skrewts and McGill to win their pool.  In bracket play, they should get a higher seed and make sweet sixteen against a weaker opponent. The other is Grand Valley. They will not advance to Sunday, but I think they have a chance to steal a game in their pool. They are dedicated this year, and it could pay off. The team I really think will surprise everyone though has to be Miami (OH).

Luke Changet: I do like the Miami pick, though for them, surprising is making brackets, which I don’t think is too lofty a goal. I really disagree with Grand Valley. They were the last team to qualify in the Midwest, and I’ve seen their program up close, they seem more interested in code words than they are in true strategy. They’ve never beaten a high-profile team, never been to World Cup, really, there’s almost nothing redeeming about them, save a couple of decent athletes. They maybe have a shot at beating Maple Rush, but I doubt it.

I do expect Missouri to surprise. No, Alex Scheer hasn’t practiced with them, but he’s an elite chaser that’s now on a team that can support him. He’s always performed well at fantasy tournaments and on merc teams, so I don’t think he’ll have trouble blending in. Plus, he gives the Tigers a seeking option that they desperately need. Missouri is a different team with Scheer: a much better team.

 

What are your thoughts on the region’s Pot Five teams?

David Hoops: I don’t see any of them making it out of pool play. I think right now TC Frost is probably the most talented after Toledo has lost Scheer and Giles, but I can’t see Frost winning two of their four games.

Samy Mousa: My most anticipated game of the entire tournament will be Grand Valley vs. UMass. I think Grand Valley can get their one win right there.

But I will give Toledo a win in a strong effort against Harvard, and accredit TC Frost with a close game with their pot three and four teams..

Alexis Moody: I have to agree with Samy and David. Grand Valley has the best pool to make waves in. On the other hand, TC Frost is definitely the most talented of the bunch, and if they had Grand Valley’s pool, they would probably make bracket play.

Daniel Daugherty: Flat out, if any of these 4 teams win a game I will be quite shocked. I love these players and their heart, but they are all extremely short handed and just do not have enough talent to compete with these teams. Samy, I see Grand Valley as the worst of the bunch even with Toledo losing Scheer and Giles. I would be pleasantly surprised if they give UMass a game.

Samy Mousa: Have you seen UMass? I think they can be beaten by a stiff breeze.

Tyler Walker: I will give Eastern Michigan a fighting chance against Crimson Fliers, but they have to ball out to win that game. They have the potential and heart, and if they could put it together against Utah, they will at least give themselves a chance. Grand Valley, I think, could pull an upset on Maple Rush. Maple Rush does have some great players, but I tend not to trust how deep a B-team can be. Grand Valley is a deep team full of solid players at every position with no real standouts. UMass has not played that well this season, and only two official games this semester against sub-par competition is no way to come in ready for World Cup. Pools 12 and 13 are just too good for anything crazy happening for TC Frost and Toledo.

 

There has been a lot written on Michigan State. What are your general thoughts on them?

Daniel Daugherty: Luke, you have documented your feelings on Michigan State quite a bit, do you mind starting off with a brief synopsis of your feelings on the team?

Luke Changet: You just have to put me on the spot, don’t you? Just like Ethan, sigh… (Editor’s Note: We just like to mess with you Luke.) But yeah, Michigan State has great players at every position. Dan, be prepared to eat your words about “Average female beaters” tomorrow, you wouldn’t believe the shit Danielle [White] was spitting about you when she read that.

Anyways,real analysis. Michigan State has depth that we didn’t see at B1G/MAC, mostly because every single player there was playing out of position. Nic Dziadosz is an off-ball chaser, he played keeper and was the main ball carrier at B1G/MAC. Niko Banks is a third/fourth string point defender. He was playing off ball, and started several games. I could go on and on and on about that, but here’s the truth of it: Michigan State is as good as their teamwork. When they play as a team, they are damned near unbeatable. When they play as “Jacob Heppe and others,” they will lose. Yes, Heppe is the standout player, he runs the offense, he catches snitches, and he dishes out big hits, but the talent surrounding him is what makes the team. This is a much deeper team than Arkansas, which is good for Michigan State, because this is a later game. Arkansas’ top line would hang with and likely beat State, but once the subs hit the field, the Spartans definitely have a step. The rest of the pool is a joke, though people out West are big on Long Beach, so that should be interesting. Overall, Michigan State has a good pool to be poised to make a deep bracket run, but it will all come down to whether or not it becomes the Jacob Heppe show that we saw in tournament finals against Ball State and Central Michigan, or the dominant team effort that we saw at regionals.

Tyler Walker: Michigan State is still hanging around in the discussion of top-tier Midwest teams, but every tournament they have gone to this semester has cut into their legitimacy. Luke, I think you are forgetting in your analysis of State from B1G/MAC that while they were missing key players, so was almost every team at that tournament. I believe you are biased because you are closely associated with the Spartans. I promise that Central Michigan played beaters they would normally not have if Derry was there. Same for Michigan if both the twins were in attendance, and just about every other team. Does their performance at B1G/MAC show exactly what they are as a team? No, but does it give a pretty good indication of where they stack up in the Midwest? Absolutely. The fact that losing one player creates an entire shift shows that they don’t have another player who can fill Heppe’s “role” and do not have any real depth.

I don’t think that’s true, but if I am wrong and it is the Heppe and others show, then MSU is going to be in for trouble at World Cup if fatigue sets in or an injury occurs. As far as Day One goes, I like Michigan State’s chances to take their pool and do not believe it is a stretch to say they will win it. After playing against a few Arkansas players at Missouri, I never felt physically overmatched, so as long as the Spartans have a solid strategy and keep their heads in the game, it will more than likely come down to a snitch catch, in which case, I favor State.

Luke Changet: Tyler, you’re operating under the impression that Heppe was the only player missing. It wasn’t his absence that forced the rotation, it was the absence of him, plus his backup, plus three-of-the-six top beaters and two top male quaffle players that forced rotations for MSU. So, yes, everyone was short players, but MSU was short seven players, all of whom get significant playing time, and all of whom contribute a lot.

I don’t want to use this as an excuse, however, I just want to make sure we’re on the same page for accuracy’s sake. Yes, there are a lot of talented ball carriers on MSU’s team, unfortunately, none of them were there that weekend, save Nic Dziadosz, who was forced into a keeping role when he normally plays chaser.

 

Will Ohio State be shut out by anybody?

David Hoops: Every game.

Alexis Moody: No way. Their offense has improved way too much to be completely shut out.

Dan Daugherty: I actually feel it is a bold statement to answer in such a definitive way. Yes, I have lauded Ohio State’s offense in the past, and I don’t think they’ll get shut out, but to be 100% certain on it is further than I am willing to go. At regionals, when their offense was at its worse, Bowling Green essentially shut them out bar one fluke goal. I don’t foresee that happening, but I wouldn’tbet my life on it not. I would say I’m 95 percent positive they won’t get shut out.

Alexis Moody: If you don’t think  one of the region’s best offenses can pull off at least one goal per game, you must be crazy. When Bowling Green and Ohio State played at Phoenix Cup, the Buckeyes put up 130 quaffle points. This is against a team with one of the strongest defenses in the region. Even if you say that the Ohio State offense isn’t the same as it was in the early fall I can’t fathom a situation where Hoops, Boettner, Gunnar and the rest of OSU don’t rally for at least one score.

David Hoops: Dan I will bet my life on scoring at least a goal a game because if we get, shut out I’d rather you just kill me.

Tyler Walker: No way. Their offense is too clean and they have too many stand out players not to score at least 1 goal.

 

Ball State seems to be fluctuating with odd results, where do you currently see them (in regards to their pool)?

Dan Daugherty: Based on Samy’s analysis on the IQA Google Hangout after the pools were drawn, I would like to hear from him first on this one.

Samy Mousa: I think they will have a hardcore struggle. In areas where Ball State is weak I see Northern Arizona as strong. Also, that Emerson game will be a dogfight.

Alexis Moody: I agree with Samy. Ball State is going to have a tough Day 1 no matter how you slice it. But if Trevor, Devon, Tyler and Sara really push themselves they can at least go 3-1.

Tyler Walker: I really like our chances in this pool. I have to disagree with you, Samy. It is by no means an easy pool but I like our chances to take it. I think that we will actually match up well with the likes of Emerson and Northern Arizona. We played QC Pitt earlier in the season to good results, but that could prove deadly for us since they already have an idea of our players. I really do not think we will play an easy game in pool play all the way down to Sam Houston at Pot Five.

Samy Mousa: Tyler, you misunderstood me. I think you guys can win the pool; I just don’t think anyone is going 4-0. The main decider of whether you win the pool is that Northern Arizona vs. Emerson game, because then you can drop a game, just as long as you beat that victor.

 

On film it looks like a lot of Midwest teams like to switch fields when starting up their offense. On defense, a lot of teams tend to run a horizontal beater set up when they have control. Are these two related? If not, why do Midwest offenses switch fields so often?

David Hoops: Well, a lot of times defenses are focused on options around the hoops as opposed to taking away the passes around midfield. Making that point defender shift sides of the field may not really open anything up, but it is a good way to signal the other players on offense to start moving into their offensive set.

 

From recent discussions, analysts describe Midwest teams as “pass happy”, whereas some people describe their experience playing against them, although relatively limited, as being that the Midwest is basically all brute force, kind of slow tempo teams that don’t rely on the pass. Which one is true, and if they both are, what is the trend?

Dan Daugherty: I was personally shocked to hear multiple people label the Midwest as “pass happy.” People, including our own Luke Changet, have pointed to that being our biggest weakness. I do believe, however, that, as a whole, the region has been working tirelessly to change that stigma. Therefore, I would say both are true, but the trend it towards more passing, at least an attempt to.

Alexis Moody: I’ve also been perplexed by the “pass happy” label. I think there are some elite Midwest teams that do well in the passing game (OSU, CMU, MSU, and BGSU), while others tend to buckle down and drive (Michigan and Ball State). It also kind of depends who they’re playing. For me, strong beating is much more characteristic of the region as a whole.

Luke Changet: People say we’re pass happy? I think, apart from CMU and OSU, this region largely runs a one-pass-and-drive offense. For example, in the Kansas vs. Mizzou game at MWRC, there were 32 offensive possessions (both teams are counted), of those 32, 26 had 1 or fewer passes. Similarly, in the OSU vs. MSU game, with 43 possessions, 36 of them had 1 or fewer passes. (these are the only games I have stats for…as of now). Obviously, that OSU team is not the typical OSU team, and if I watched film from B1G MAC, I’m sure the OSU offense would average around 2-3 passes per offensive possession (PPoP), but from those two games, involving three top tier and one mid-top tier team in the MW, there is no way we can accurately be labeled as “pass happy”.

 

What Midwest players would excel on teams outside of the region?

Alexis Moody: I would love to see Ashley Calhoun play with Brittney Ripperger. Whether it’s in Baylor’s Hoop Zone or notl I just think they would be one of the most dominate beater duos in the country. Conversely, I want to see them duke it out in bracket play.

Tyler Walker: Max McAdoo would play well with the Lost Boys. He plays all over the field and is the most aggressive beater from Bowling Green. I think he would pose an interesting matchup and also be able to get into their beater system with a minor learning curve.

All of Minnesota’s male chasers would fit in well with Boston University. Jared Sipe, Matt Jass and Nick Berg, in particular, are big physical guys who look to pass and are consistent at landing and catching difficult passes.

I would also like to see Jacob Heppe play with Harry Greenhouse from Maryland. The speed and hustle on that team would just be too much for anyone.

 

Can Dan Daugherty still be effective if he has to face Baylor D?

Samy Mousa: Baylor D? Sorry you mean hoop defense?

Alexis Moody: Did you see him shoot from half pitch against Miami? Daniel Daugherty can do everything except birth a child and even then he would give it a good try.

David Hoops: To seriously answer this question, the three-tree zone does take away Dan’s signature long-distance heave. From watching him this season, he’s made a noted effort to get much closer to the hoops before he releases, and his driving ability is definitely underrated. Where I see Dan helping Bowling Green the most if they do run into Baylor – or Minnesota, or Emerson’s unique zone – is in his distribution abilities. Patient passing and chaser movement around the perimeter can give Bowling Green’s beaters time to clear out the zone’s beaters or at least get bludger control, which severely hampers any zone’s effectiveness.

Tyler Walker: If memory serves me right he was hitting those typically on transition. The shots can definitely still land if the quaffle players are not getting back on defense quick enough.

 

Why are Midwest offenses so long shot heavy compared to other regions?

Alexis Moody: There are some players that favor longer shots. People like Dan Daugherty, David Hoops, Tyler Walker and David Prueter all score regularly in the half court. The teams those players are on also score regularly in the keeper zone. So no, I don’t think the Midwest as a whole likes the long shot, but if you have a perfected skill, why not use it to put points on the board for your team?

David Hoops: It heavily depends on the team. Yes, Ohio State has a lot of players who have the ability to put a few long distance shots home, as do teams like Bowling Green and Central Michigan. However, the best teams all understand that the closer you are to the hoops, the more likely you are to score. Long shots, for all these “long-shooting” teams, aren’t the first or second option, but as a third or lower option, it’s good to pull up to keep the beaters honest and can give the team a huge morale boost.

 

Which Midwest player will have a breakout World Cup and which player will disappoint?

David Hoops: My Midwest player to watch is chaser Andrew Axtell of Michigan. This guy can flat out play. He is as physical as they come on both sides of the ball, he is smart enough to pass to the open player when defenses collapse, and he has the ability to power through undersized snitches as a seeker. If Michigan comes out on top of the loaded Pool 5 – something their physical team is capable of –  Axtell will be a huge reason why.

Samy Mousa: Max “Catch Anything” Wallerstedt

Alexis Moody: Hai Nguyen is my player to disappoint. He’s been touted as the saving grace for a depleted Kansas roste,r and I don’t think he’s going to live up to the hype. Hai has great speed and good movement to get around defenders, but he just doesn’t fill the holes left by Colby Soden and Jordan Callison.

Tyler Walker: All of the top seven teams from the Midwest have players who can get hot and make waves on Sunday. I think Jacob Heppe is not going to live up to the hype he has created. If Michigan State is to play well it will not be on the back of one player, but as a unit.

Luke Changet: Jeremy Boettner will have his coming out party this WC. He’s been great from the start, and is only getting better and better. I’m going to agree with Tyler, Heppe will disappoint. He’s good, but he’s not “beat elite teams by myself” good, and sometimes he plays like he thinks he is.

 

What Midwest team has the best overall beating core?

Alexis Moody: I’m going to go with Bowling Green on this one. While there are a few standouts – Max McAdoo, Chad Brown, Jenna Rindler and Joe Pavlik come to mind – the beating core as a whole executes their strategy very well.

Samy Mousa: So When Kansas had control for 95 percent of the game against them in the finals?

Alexis Moody: And then when they did have control it allowed Roitblat to get the grab, winning them a championship. Also focusing on having control isn’t necessarily successful or indicative of overall quality, as Texas proved.

Samy Mousa: One mistake was in fact made, and that was the difference in the game. That being said, Kansas’ beaters laid an intense hurt on Bowling Green. You can ask Chad Brown, he was not able to keep me away from their female beater, which was the cause of three goals.

Alexis Moody: One game doesn’t dictate the quality of individual players or a team’s strategies. Roitblat beat out Rudolph on the grab, but do we consider him better the better seeker? No. We judge a player or a group of players on their entire body of work. In my opinion, the Bowling Green beater core has been consistent and powerful all season, and have only improved since regionals.

Daniel Daugherty: I think it is unfair to the region as a whole to think that Bowling Green and Kansas are the only two teams in this discussion. I think Michigan State could be, but I see their beating core as just all really solid players, with none truly elite. Central Michigan should definitely be in the conversation with Ashley Calhoun, Andrew Derry and the imposing Tom O’Neil. Then you have the likes of Michigan, Ball State and Minnesota, who all deserve a mention.

David Hoops: I think to leave Central Michigan out of the discussion would be a big mistake. Their top two, Calhoun and Derry, might trump any other team’s best duo. I think that others have more depth, but if those two are on the field, Central Michigan has the very slight edge.

Tyler Walker: If Pavlik is up to form by World Cup. then you have to give the nod to BG. But, over the past semester, Central Michigan has done work at the beating end.

Samy Mousa: If you do not think Kansas has the strongest beating core you are flat wrong. Our beaters whooped on MSU – I actually had the best game of my life against them – rolled Marquette, and in the finals, we still had a dominant game. If you don’t think Kansas has the best beaters, then tell me what do we have? Because the only game I have ever seen Kansas lose the beater game was against UCLA. But please, we actually love it when you sleep on us.

Tyler Walker: I do not think anyone is sleeping on your beaters, but if they were that dominant in those games, then why were those games in snitch range? Is your quaffle game that sub-par? Because from what I have seen, your chasers are really good. Granted, I only have limited views to judge, but I see Bowling Green first, Central Michigan second, followed by Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, and Michigan State in that order.

Luke Changet: I’m going with Central Michigan. As Dan said, they have likely the best starting duo in the Midwest in Derry and Calhoun, but you underestimate their depth. Tom O’Neil is, I think, the best backup beater in the region. He stepped up big in Derry’s absence at B1G/MAC, and played way more than a recovering Derry at Glass City. CMU’s beaters controlled both of those tournaments. Also, don’t sleep on Rebecca Bennett, she’s a more-than-capable backup to Calhoun.

Samy, here’s my take on the Kansas beaters. Yes, you keep bludger control, but when you have it, defensively, you’re hesitant to use it. You seem to value holding bludger control more than forcing turnovers, whereas other teams use their beaters to totally disrupt the opposition. You have top-notch chasers so you don’t need your beaters to force turnovers, your chaser defense is strong enough. Your beaters play into your system perfectly, but, when people discuss the best beating core, they tend to talk about which beaters are the most active, most disruptive. Thus, people sleep on the Kansas. beaters.

Samy Mousa: Well you guys see the teams closer to you more often, so you can make that claim, it’s wrong, but you can make that claim.

 

What team has the most proficient offense?

Tyler Walker: The entire Midwest tears it up offensively. Teams are not ready any of our offenses mixed with the lockdown defense. I think each of the top 10 in the Midwest is a force to be reckoned with.

Samy Mousa: Agreed.

Daniel Daugherty: Yea, I’m not going to say all of that. Ohio State has the most proficient offense and I don’t think anyone has a good case for disagreeing.

Luke Changet: I would halfway argue for Central Michigan, as I think they have a case, but I think the precision with which the Ohio State offense operates is unmatched. Central Michigan gets results, but the Buckeyes make it look good.

 

Predictions:

Eastern Michigan vs. University of Miami (5-0 Miami)

Eastern Michigan vs. Texas State University (5-0 Texas State)

Eastern Michigan vs. Macaulay Honors College (5-0 Macaulay)

Eastern Michigan vs. Crimson Fliers (4-1 Crimson Fliers)

        Tyler Walker: Eastern Michigans biggest problem this year has been depth. They have been able to hang with teams for the first five-plus minutes of games, but then their top players get tired and their game begins to get very sloppy. If they can keep it together while getting beat by the top teams, I think they will beat the Fliers, who are bringing a depleted roster as well. I do not believe this will be an easy game, but I do think that Eastern Michigan has not played to their potential, and after getting tossed around by the top three teams in this pool, they will come out with nothing to lose.

 

Miami University vs. Villanova (5-0 Villanova)

Miami University vs. Carleton University (4-1 Carleton)

Alexis Moody: I touched on this a little earlier in the discussion, but let’s break it down a little more. Miami excels at controlling a game with strong bludger control and slow methodical drives. I believe that against a region lagging behind in the bludger game, Miami has the experience and talent to turn this game in their favor. On top of that, Carleton is missing a few of their leaders and top players due to policy suspensions. Do I think Miami is going to blow Carleton out? No. But I think they can control the game and have the beating talent to pull off a major upset.

Miami University vs. New York University (3-2 Miami)

    Daniel Daugherty: Miami has an extremely difficult schedule. They play Carleton and Villanova before they play this game, and even though those aren’t the two best teams in their pots, they are still tough teams. If Miami loses to those two teams, and I believe they will, I foresee them being deflated and not coming out with the fire they will need to win this game.

         Samy Mousa: I just think that there are some fatal flaws in Miami’s play that could be the end of the game for them. I’m calling NYU by a goal or two.

Miami University vs. Oklahoma Baptist University (4-1 Miami)

    Daniel Daugherty: In my mind, Miami doesn’t have any truly standout players. Yes, they have Matt Mignery, Tina Kinstedt, Jeremy Ferlic and Brendan Kelly to name a few of their better players, but none of them are on the same level as a Tylor McLaren and Chandler Smith. Matt Mignery and Tina Kinstedt are the closest to it but I think Miami is just not ready for a Southwest team.

 

Kansas vs. Texas A&M (5-0 Texas A&M)

Kansas vs. University of Richmond (4-1 Kansas)

    David Hoops: From playing Richmond last season and watching them on film, their beaters are very, very underrated. Their quaffle game is just good enough to hang with Kansas, and with Keir not attending, I’m not sure how Kansas will answer their seeking question. Richmond with a grab while being down in quaffle points to pull the upset.

Kansas vs. Valhalla (5-0 Kansas)

Kansas vs. Eastern Florida State College (5-0 Kansas)

 

Ohio State vs. The Lost Boys (5-0 Lost Boys)

Ohio State vs. University of Rochester (4-1 OSU)

        Samy Mousa: This team is fast, and there is no way this is going to be a shut out for either team, but from what I have seen from Rochester, they are not to be taken lightly and will fight tooth and nail

Ohio State vs. The Silver Phoenix (5-0 OSU)

Ohio State vs. Rollins College (5-0 OSU)

 

Michigan vs. NYDC Capitalists (3-2 NYDC)

Samy Mousa: This is a tossup, but everyone seems so certain that NYDC will do well because they haven’t done well, whereas I don’t see them having to deal with teams that are dominant in the ways Michigan is.  Michigan has a lot of size, and I do not see NYDC as particularly resilient to physicality. My word isn’t law, but I just see Michigan with the advantage over NYDC.

    Tyler Walker: I will start by saying that Michigan has a very real chance to take this game, and in turn take this pool. However, NYDC matches up far too well at the positions Michigan needs to dominate. Particularly at the chaser position, NYDC has plenty of players who will get physical and with much better finesse than Michigan. I see this game going to a snitch catch and in a game in snitch range, it’s tough to go against Greco.

Michigan vs. Santa Barbara Blacktips (5-0 Michigan)

Michigan vs. Austin Quidditch (5-0 Michigan)

Michigan vs. New York Badassilisks (5-0 Michigan)

 

Ball State vs. Emerson College (3-2 Emerson)

Alexis Moody: This game is going to come down to a couple of key player battles. Devon McCoy vs. David Fox and Trevor Campbell vs. Aaron Wohl. I think that the highly underrated Trevor is going to completely dominate Wohl with his physicality, arm strength and pitch awareness. McCoy, on the other hand, will have his hands full with Fox. If McCoy can stay focused, keep Fox on his toes, and create turnovers, the Cardinals will keep this game in snitch range and Jason Bowling, with his 6-1 SWIM record, will do well against an inconsistent seeking game from Emerson.

David Hoops: Hyper aggressive beating and raw power from Ball State will blow up Emerson’s zone. This is going to be an extremely high scoring game and I think that’s what Ball State plays best in.

Ball State vs. Northern Arizona University (4-1 Ball State)

Samy Mousa: I foresee this being a close game. It could really be a tossup. Therefore, I’m going to break this down into 5 factors: Offensive Chasing goes to NAU, Defensive Chasing goes to BS, Male Beater goes to BS, Female beater goes to NAU, Seeker goes to NAU.

Ball State Cardinals vs. Q.C Pittsburgh (5-0 Ball State)

Ball State Cardinals vs. Sam Houston State University (5-0 Ball State)

 

Minnesota vs. McGill University (5-0 Minnesota)

Minnesota vs. RPI Remembralls (5-0 Minnesota)

Minnesota vs. Silicon Valley Skrewts (4-1 Minnesota)

    David Hoops: Probably my boldest pick, but from I can tell about the Skrewts is its roster has been lacking most of the season, and this is the best edition of the Skrewts anyone is seeing all season. I think they come into this pool guns blazing and shock a lot of people.

Minnesota Quidditch vs. University of Sydney Unspeakables (5-0 Minnesota)

 

Central Michigan vs. Florida’s Finest (4-1 CMU)

         Tyler Walker: I traveled to one of the Mid-Atlantic fantasy tournaments and I saw Sean Snipes play. I have to say that this dude is one of the greatest pure scorers in the country, and I think he will cut through a defense that will not be ready for the beating of Sean Pagoada and the rest of that team. I look at how I expect Central Michigan to play, and then I look at Florida’s Finest’s lineup, and I just think it will cause too many problems for Central Michigan too pull out of snitch range. In which case the reemergence of Tyler Macy give the finest the game. I have this down as the best game of Saturday though because both of these teams are hotheaded to put it nicely, and it should get pretty nasty.

Quidditch Club of Central Michigan vs. Texas Tech (5-0 CMU)

Central Michigan vs. University of North Carolina (5-0 CMU)

Central Michigan vs. Wizards of Westwood (5-0 CMU)

 

University of Missouri vs. Gee-Gees (5-0 Gee-Gees)

University of Missouri vs. Tufts University (4-1 Tufts)

    David Hoops: Missouri’s power trumps Tufts’ strategic advantages. Probably a come from behind snitch grab for them to win.

University of Missouri vs. Louisiana State University (5-0 LSU)

University of Missouri vs. San Jose State University (5-0 Missouri)

 

Michigan State University Quidditch vs. University of Arkansas (4-1 MSU)

    Daniel Daugherty: Michigan State just seemed to underwhelm at Glass City, and were not the only Midwest team to do so. They don’t have enough pieces to knock off a questionable Arkansas team. Now, at the end of the day, I think this is more about Arkansas than Michigan. Arkansas is headlined by the two-headed monster of Peter and Joey Reynebeau. These two play so well together and are an incredible mix of size, strength and athleticism, which I think MSU will have a lot of difficulty stopping. Then, Arkansas matches up very well with MSU’s three solid male beaters with Jordan Key and Jason Musik. I believe they have solved their issues from regionals and won’t have to have a non-beater play female beater for an entire tournament. Needless to say, this game intrigues me.

Michigan State University Quidditch vs. Steel City Quidditch Club (5-0 MSU)

Michigan State University Quidditch vs. Syracuse University (5-0 MSU)

Michigan State University Quidditch vs. The Long Beach (5-0 MSU)

 

Grand Valley Grindylows vs. Baylor University (5-0 Baylor)

Grand Valley Grindylows vs. University of California Los Angeles (5-0 UCLA)

Grand Valley Grindylows vs. Ottawa Maple Rush (5-0 Ottawa)

Grand Valley Grindylows vs. University of Massachusetts Amherst (3-2 UMass)

    Alexis Moody: To me, this pick is less about the qualities of Grand Valley, of which there are few, but the even fewer qualities of UMass. Absolutely nothing impressed me about this team at Northeast Regionals back in November. In fac,t the only thing that stood out to me was a general lack of knowledge about most rules or strategy, and the fact that, on more than one occasion, players and captains screamed at refs for what they deemed was rule breaking. That said, Grand Valley has better beaters, has a solid chasing threat in John Alexander, and the talented Gabe Unick at seeker. Not only do I think GVSU will win this game, but I think it will just barely be out of snitch range.

Samy Mousa: I’ve said it before: A stiff breeze can beat UMass. That being said, I have seen some life out of Grand Valley. On the flip side, I’ve also seen a lot of dirty play out of them, but if they can limit the cards, they should have their one win.

 

TC Frost vs. Boston University (5-0 Boston)

TC Frost vs. Penn State University (5-0 Penn State)

TC Frost vs. University of South Florida Quidditch (4-1 USF)

Samy Mousa:  I have no reason to say that USF is particularly threatening. And, maybe even more importantly, I’ve seen a TC Frost team beat a full roster with only eight players.  I think they are going to be worrisome for USF.

TC Frost vs. Oklahoma State University (5-0 Oklahoma State)

 

Toledo vs. Maryland (5-0 Maryland)

Toledo vs. Arizona State University – Sun Devil Quidditch (5-0 ASU)

Toledo vs. Tennessee Tech (5-0 Tennessee Tech)

Toledo vs. Harvard (5-0 Harvard)

 

Indiana University South Bend vs. The University of Texas at San Antonio (5-0 Texas)

Indiana University South Bend vs. Q.C Boston: The Massacre (5-0 Q.C Boston)

Indiana University South Bend vs. Stanford Quidditch (5-0 Stanford)

Indiana University South Bend vs. Rutgers Nearly Headless Knights (5-0 Rutgers)

 

Crimson Warhawks vs. Lone Star Quidditch Club (5-0 LSQC)

Crimson Warhawks vs. RIT (5-0 RIT)

Crimson Warhawks vs. Appalachian Quidditch (4-1 Appalachian)

Samy Mousa: I don’t see why not.  Warhawks have super raw talent, and I mean SUPER RAW. But they have had the necessary things happen this season. New leadership, new strategies, same old athleticism. We shall see.

Crimson Warhawks vs. University of South Carolina (5-0 Crimson Warhawks)

 

Bowling Green State University vs, University of Florida (5-0 BG)

Bowling Green State University vs. Hofstra University (5-0 BG)

Bowling Green State University vs. University of Virginia (5-0 BG)

Bowling Green State University vs. Cal Quidditch (5-0 BG)

 

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