The theme this year, throughout the regular season we saw a lack of consistency from all teams. Last year, Oregon suffered only one loss to Michigan State en route to victories at Stanford and Centex. This year, the top 4 finishers at Stanford all were eliminated in quarters or earlier at Easterns. As a result, the rankings are up and down, but take a look at the movers and shakers.
Minnesota at the top?
Their only blemish is a loss to Arizona in the finals of Pres Day as they defeated Oregon in pool play at Easterns, then marching their way to a finals victory. Jason Tschida, Greg Arenson, and most of all Josh Klane has Grey Duck looking primed for a deep run at Nationals. However, the field is much deeper this season, with the top seven or eight teams acquiring big wins throughout the regular season. While Minnesota is king for now, this race is wide open in the series.
Wisconsin tripped up
After a fantastic start at Warm Up where they looked unbeatable, the Hodags are reeling a little bit from early exits at both Stanford and Easterns. Yet again, don’t be surprised to see them ramp up their defensive game and sharpen their mental focus. If there’s one advantage this team has over the top eight it’s confidence and focus that stems from belief in their system.
Breaking through to the other side? UNC and UCF
Both squads have risen to within the top 4, and both had difficult roads to get there. Central Florida beat Tufts, Carleton, Oregon, and UNC just to get to the finals against Minnesota where they had a lead midway through the game. North Carolina has enough athleticism to keep up with any team on defense, but will need to look to sharpen their offense to provide consistency throughout nationals.
Where does Tufts belong?
The Tufts’ season has been a roller coaster ride. With wins over Texas, UNCW, Ohio, Colorado, you would expect them to be one of the top teams in the nation. Not so fast my friend, losses to Harvard and Dartmouth have dropped their stock as they head into a region with only two bids. It’s clear they can hang with many out of region squads, but will they make it through their rivals to nationals? Adrian Banerji has been out with a nagging injury all season, Tufts will certainly be glad to have him back come the series.
The best of the rest… or the first of the worst?
Arizona and Florida State have fallen after impressive starts to their season. Florida State still has to battle through a tough region featuring the team right below them, Florida. Arizona suffered losses to Harvard and Wisconsin Milwaukee at Centex dropping them to near the bottom of the top 20.