The Stanford Invite: Preview

by | March 3, 2011, 4:43pm 0

With The Stanford Invite this weekend we’ll finally have the answers to a lot of questions concerning college open ultimate. Thus far the top teams from the west coast haven’t played the top teams from the rest of the country and that all changes this weekend. Still, we have to remember that the results from this coming weekend will be a reflection of where teams stand now, and not necessarily where they’ll stand at the end of the season.

Noteworthy teams in attendance include: just about everyone. Every team attending this tournament expects to be playing meaningful games on the Sunday of regionals. Some teams expect much more than that, and rightfully so. Also, nearly half of the 18 team field is from the Southwest region. I’ll do a quick review of teams from outside the Southwest and a little something about the California teams. I think it’s fair to break the traveling teams up into those that came into the season with a majority of their roster intact, and those that have further to go before series time (credit to Lou for the inspiration, check out the end of the post).

Travelling teams that are fully formed:

  • Carleton – Coming off of two straight finals appearances and a tournament victory at Warm Up a lot is expected of Carleton this weekend. If the current seeds hold they’ll face three teams they haven’t seen in a while. Expect their offense to run smoothly, the real question is how will their D-line’s offense fare?
  • Colorado – Already having two tournaments under their belt should help Colorado greatly this weekend. I did an analysis of their play during the NYF final a couple of weeks back, and their end-zone O looked a bit sloppy, they also seemed to have trouble against force middle. Also, Colorado didn’t generate many turns on under cuts against club level competition a NYF, will that change against college players? I expect their endzone O to be much cleaner, and I also expect to see a hungrier D-line.
  • UBC – UBC has already won both the major west coast tournaments this year with most of their victories coming by a large margin. There has been a lot of talk about the effectiveness of their offense, with a strong possibility of bad weather this weekend it will be interesting to see how their O holds up.
  • Pitt – Pitt is finally playing in their first tournament of the season, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue considering how little they were hit by graduation. They’ll have a few miscues playing at game speed on Saturday, but they should be able to clean all of that up by bracket play on Sunday.

Travelling teams near the top, but with a long way still to go:

  • Oregon – Ego graduated six of seven starters from their offense, but that didn’t seem to slow them too much at Presidents Day. Teams are often caught off guard by how fast Oregon plays, which is a big advantage during the regular season. It will be good for this younger Oregon squad to face consistently tough competition without the gimme games they had at Presidents Day.
  • Wisconsin – The Hodags always bring the intensity, the real question for this year’s squad is can they be efficient with the disc? Both their offense and their D-line offense struggled with turnovers at Florida, and it will be interesting to see if they have been able to change things without having played outside.
  • Harvard – The main question for Harvard is, are they healthy? Being one of two teams with two players who were in the finals of Open Club Nationals (the other being UCSC), Harvard has the on field leadership, but only if their leaders can stay on the field. Hopefully Redline is bringing a full squad and we’ll have a better idea of where they stack up by the end of the weekend.

As promised, thoughts on the Southwest region:

  • Almost every team that will be playing meaningful games at southwest regionals will be in attendance this weekend (the notable exception is CSULB). Not only does the Invite provide the Southwest teams with an opportunity to earn their region a second bid, but it will also tell them where they stack up against each other. I made a ‘Southwest region power rankings‘ after the SB Invite, but things very well could have changed since then. This will be the third tournament for every Southwest team in attendance, so the regional picture should come into focus after this weekend.

That’s all the previewing I’ve got for now, I’ll post thoughts about Washington, Whitman, Texas and Tufts latter today or tomorrow. In the meantime, keep an eye on RSD (no chatter yet) and the Score Reporter for possible information changes. I’ve heard the seeds still aren’t final, and there is still a chance the tournament will get moved to Stevinson. Check back in on Monday for some thoughts on this weekend’s play, and stay tuned for a podcast some time next week.

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