25 College Open Teams
March 5-6, 2011
Palo Alto, CA
The Stanford Invite looks to be most competitive tournament so far this year. Ten teams playing this weekend competed at last year’s College Championships. There are 12 teams ranked on Skyd Magazine’s Top 20 Power Rankings, including all of the top 5 teams ranked. If you’re looking for the first hard test of strength for the top teams this year, the Stanford Invite is almost too tough to chew.
There are three teams going into this tournament with undefeated records, all from the Northwest, all nationally untested (British Colombia, Oregon, and Whitman). This tournament will also be the debut of Pitt’s highly touted team, which many have predicted as a solid contender for Nationals this year.
Whitman, after winning the Stanford Open, almost lost the opportunity to come back for the Invite. Apparently, they were saved by a very generous athletic department. Now is their chance to prove if they can play with the big boys. This tournament will be a good test to see whether Whitman decides to go the route of the D-III Championships this year, or decide to slug it out in D-I.
British Colombia goes into Stanford with two tournament wins under their belt already. They have a lot of momentum, but this time there are no rounds in which to relax. Pool play features big matchups against former regional rivals Stanford, and the rematch of the game to go from last year’s NW Regionals vs. California. Last year Cal knocked UBC out of the Championships in what was only their second loss of the season. If they come out big and win the invite, they’ll be hard to deny as the undisputed top dog in College Ultimate.
Carleton has proven itself as the top team in the country after winning Warm Up. They should take this pool with usual efficiency, but look out! Some are hinting that Santa Cruz may pull off the upset of the tournament. Captain Cassidy Rasmussen is dominating right now and Russell Wynne has great athleticism. Both are talented Revolver players who benefit their team.
Santa Cruz lost to Santa Cruz at the Santa Barbara Invite already this year 13-10. They’ll get a rematch first game of the day.
Matchup to watch: UC Santa Cruz (4) v. Carleton (1) at 2 pm on Sand Hill
Colorado is very strong and should win the pool, especially with Coach Jim returning to the fields of his alma mater. Whitman is intriguing. They are one of three undefeated teams from the NW. They played a style very similar to Carleton at Stanford Open and cruised through most of the weekend until Long Beach State. The games between the 3 and 5 seeds in this pool should be awesome and will probably decide who makes the bracket on Sunday. UC Davis is young, full of energy and led by an awesome 5th-year, muscle-man Taylor Lahey. They have an impressive array of talents, but it remains to be seen if they can bring the fight to U of Washington, Harvard, and Colorado, or if they are just punching above their weight.
Matchup to watch:Whitman (5) v. Washington (3) at 4 pm on Sand Hill
UBC have proven themselves to be serious contenders, but have yet to face talent outside of the west coast beside Minnesota, who they handled easily. They can, boost it with the best of them. Wisconsin is full of grit, is young, athletic, and has something to prove. Cal is very talented and perhaps the best coached team in the country, but has shown weakness this year in big games. That Which leaves Stanford as the odd man out in Pool C. Stanford has yet to make a significant showing this year, so this will be a good indicator. Top game in this pool should be a young, hungry Wisconsin against a Furious heavy, and very talented UBC. If John Norris is in top form, it might come down to one or two D’s deciding the whole shooting match.
Matchup to watch: UBC (1) v. Wisconsin (2) at 2 pm on South IMs
Pitt vs. Oregon should be a fantastic game. Pitt was favored preseason to win it all and Oregon has been unstoppable in the regular season over the past two years, going into the Championships last year as the one-seed. Three-seed San Diego State University has also proven they can throw a serious challenge to top level west coast teams in UBC. They could very well knock off one of these two teams and break seed in Pool D. If Pitt doesn’t come out firing in their first game of the year against SDSU, they will be in for a rude awakening. UCSD shouldn’t be forgotten, as they have the best deep player in the SW region in Josh “Forge” Nickerson. They can upset anyone at any time (@Oregon, #Nationals2010).
Matchup to watch:Pitt (1) v. SDSU (3) at 10 am on Roble