Chasing Saratoga, 16 teams descend upon Saratoga Springs, NY to decide who will be crowned the winner of the Metro East. Connecticut is the favorite, Buffalo has taken down a perennial power, Cornell is still looking deadly, and Princeton is working like a Swiss clock.
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
# of Bids: 1
Can anyone take down UConn?
Connecticut finished in the top 20 this year, giving validation that the region does deserve a bid. Filled with athletic talent, and some Connecticut Constitution players, Grind has been the favorite since the end of the fall season. Kamil Skwarek takes the shots, and usually Ben Weyers is the one receiving them. Brian Varis, “Torch”, is one of the premier athletic talents within the region, and finds ways to make ridiculous plays. RJ McFadden adds an extra spark underneath while Matt Turiano is fearsome at 6’5”.
Can any of the teams here take UConn down? Yes. Despite the highest ranked team behind them is Cornell at 62nd, Yale has already proven that Connecticut can be vulnerable. They should still be considered the absolute favorite to take this tournament, as they are the only squad to prove the capability to take down squads from 20th to 40th. Frankly, no team has the personnel to match up with their athleticism. However, with the right game plan and execution other teams could take advantage of the fast and loose style they have played for most of the year. Still, good luck matching up with their size, speed, and throws. Sole talent can win games when your talent is the best in class.
The other number 1’s
Buffalo, Cornell, and Princeton are the other pool number ones that are vying for the a shot at Connecticut. Buffalo took down Cornell 15-9 at Conferences, with 5 turns through the entire game. With their offense clicking at the right time, this squad has developed since the beginning of the year. Jon Bain and Mitch Wheeler are the senior offensive line guys running the show as cutter and handler respectively. Athletic cutters in Mike Kanaby, Rob Smith, and Mitch Steiner lead the way down field with a deep upperclassmen lead team behind them. Cornell features Adam “Frank” Salwen and Bo-Li at the handler positions with Nick Thompson coming back as well. Thompson might be their biggest threat down field, and Neil Butler should hopefully return from an injury that left him out of Conferences two weeks ago. Princeton is the question mark here, a team that had impressive results at Roll Call. With the exception of a 15-10 loss to Cornell, they could have been the two seed this weekend. None the less, they are known for their fast break offense that features some fast athletes and some good throwers. The name that everyone has been talking about there is Osman Khwaja.
Whoa Whoa, what about these two seeds?
Besides Connecticut, none of the one seeds should have their pool on lock down. Even then, Wesleyan has shown that they are no slouch either. Rutgers is salivating at the match up with Buffalo as they’ve beaten them in their last 3 games. Mike Sender, Scottie Xu, and freshman Jibran “Lebron” Mieser make this squad dangerous. Mieser doesn’t have the prototypical height, but he does have the prototypical ups. Scottie Xu might be the most dangerous handler around, and Rutgers also sports some lefty’s that are bound to be tricky. NYU will face Cornell in a rematch of last year’s regional final, and earlier this season where they lost 11-8 at Queen City Tune Up. NYU hasn’t had good results this year, but in this region, it’s about peaking at the right time. With a win over Rutgers at conferences they proved that they’re still going to be a tough out. Sean Childers might be the fastest man in Saratoga this weekend, while Kahyee Fong is going to be a big play maker. Yale is filled to the brim with experience, and also was missing some players for their games against UConn. From Cornell to NYU, all of these teams are only separated by 25 spots in the rankings, so expect to see some upsets.
RIT features the deep cuts and skys of David Wheeler, and the under cutting from Eric Dixon. Columbia and Central Connecticut State have had up and down seasons, and will be looking to find a way into the bracket. Rochester might be the most vulnerable three seed with Albany breathing down their throat. Alon Brown is still on SCAM throwing big hucks, which proved too much for TCNJ last year before they forfeited in the pre-quarters. The other squads will have a tough time competing to make the championship bracket.
Rangers in 6, Philly in 7, St.Louis in 6, Phoenix in 6.
I’ll be at the fields helping out on a certain team’s sideline, feel free to tell me what I messed up so I can get it right in the recap