A bid to the power-packed College Easterns is on the line at this weekend’s Easterns Qualifier in Wilmington, North Carolina, and unlike the Stanford Open, the Easterns Qualifier is full of teams that would be quite competitive at the main event.
In attendance are Ohio State, Ohio, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech, all teams that are likely to be playing late into Sunday at their respective regional tournaments. UNC-W is also playing, but they are already guaranteed a spot at Easterns.
On my mind…
- I’m as guilty as anybody else for writing off everyone but Pitt in the Ohio Valley, but Ohio State and Ohio have given reason to think twice. Given that senior Noah Saul is still out for North Carolina, I like Ohio State’s outlook in Pool A. It’s a bit harder to say with Ohio in Pool C, as I can’t decide if having already played Delaware will be good or bad for them: on one hand, Ohio beat them at Queen City Tune-Up, but on the other, the game was close (13-11), and with the weather in Charlotte, it’s hard to say whether Ohio was all that much better. Also, Connecticut has yet to lose this season, which could have their confidence high.
- Georgia Tech is seeded third in Pool B, which seems pretty low since their only losses this season are to UNC, Michigan, Delaware, and Pennsylvania due to forfeit. Still, they underperformed at Queen City. Andrew Fish is probably still out after a leg injury at ACCs, but if they’ve got a full squad otherwise, I think they’ll make semis and contend for the Easterns bid.
- Michigan State is another strong candidate to win this weekend. Their only loss this season was to Georgia at Queen City, and their 2011 squad features a lot of strong returners from last year. When Virginia played them at Tally Classic last season, Christo Ferguson was tough to stop as a cutter because they isolated him so well. Also, Ryan Heffernan is a name of theirs that I’ve heard come up over the last few years.
- This is another chance for Virginia Tech to step up and play at a high level for a sustained period of time. The teams at the Qualifier are the types that Burn is striving to run with consistently, and a win would be a huge step in their effort to climb toward the top of the new Atlantic Coast.
- Like Queen City Tune-Up, the Qualifier has a strong mix of regional representation. There are multiple teams from the Atlantic Coast and the Ohio Valley, and if UNC-W, Virginia Tech, Delaware, and Maryland can pull off some wins, it would help to even out the results from Charlotte.