DI Men’s Pool & Seeding Reactions

By: Jimmy Leppert and Alex Lee

Jimmy Leppert and Alex Lee talk about the DI College Championships now that pool play and seeding for the last tournament of the 2015 season is out. A breakdown of each of the pools, and each names a champion.

Jimmy Leppert: Damn Alex. Seeding and Pools for the College Championships are out:

http://play.usaultimate.org/events/USA-Ultimate-D-I-College-Championships-2015/schedule/mens/college-men/

First – your first thought seeing each pool?

Alex Lee: wooooo, we’re finally here! now the fun starts.

Pool A – No surprise here, Pitt got the no. 1 seed and none of these lower seeds really present any upset potential. I don’t think Texas is going to make any noise, but Auburn could as the intra-region Auburn vs. Georgia game is going to be close since those two teams are so familiar with each other. I think Georgia, Wisconsin and Auburn will end up trading blows and it will come down to point differential.

Pool B – More chalk as Texas A&M gets the second overall seed as expected. I’ve seen a lot of commentators say that A&M got a really easy draw, but I’m not convinced. I think UCF is really being slept on. Whether it’s being smart about allocating minutes or taking advantage of scouting schemes, we see the importance of coaching really show through at nationals and coach Rocco is the elite of the elite. I really don’t see anything from Western Washington and Cincinnati. Top three duke it out. PS – We get to see some Huck Finn beef get sorted out in Minnesota vs. Cincinnati.

Pool C – Damn. I mean… damn. “UNC and FSU congrats on winning two of the toughest regions in the nation, here’s your gift: Oregon as a four seed”. We knew that someone was going to be pissed seeing an under-seeded Oregon, but FSU feels under-seeded too. Poor Maryland. Work so hard for that 3rd AC bid. Ironically, the lower seed helps Oregon’s schedule out as they play FSU on Friday morning and don’t have to see UNC until Saturday afternoon. Contrastingly, FSU starts off their Friday with Oregon then UNC back-to-back. That last UNC-Oregon game will end up determining the 1 seed in the pool of death. Give the nod to Freechild and crew.

Pool D – Pool D is always tight because of the 4-5-9 snake format, but as far as it could have shaken out for UNC-W, not awful. They’ve already beaten Massachusetts twice this season and I think they have the height and athleticism to deal with Peterson & Co. – Seamen take the pool. Colorado’s depth will be the difference in their game vs. Massachusetts. While I think all of the games in this pool will be very close, ironically I think this will be the only pool that goes according to seed.

What are you thinking?

JL: Pool A – Once Pittsburgh wins this pool, things will get extremely interesting. Top to bottom, I’m not sure if I feel confident predicting how it will turn out, each team is dangerous. The lowest seed, Auburn, has beaten two of the teams above them this season too and played the other two close (thanks @bamasecs).

Pool B – The Huck Finn beef getting sorted is hilarious, thank you USA Ultimate scheduling department. I agree that UCF will be quite the team to watch. But outside of A&M and UCF, I don’t think this pool has much to offer. If the same Western Washington that showed up at Northwest Regionals comes to Milwaukee, prequarters are a possibility.

Pool C – Thanks for coming to the College Championships Maryland and Illinois, good luck in the placement brackets. What a brutal pool for those two. Maybe FSU will falter, and end up on the outside looking in with that brutal schedule, but this is quite the pool.

Pool D – Colorado vs. Mass is probably the bigger game here, as UNC-W gets to spread out their games against these two teams. UCSB may be much improved on their early spring results at this point in the season, but enough to take down either of the three teams ahead of them? Probably not. I’m with you that it will probably end up going to seed.

Next up: Now that we have seeding, which of the top eight teams will have the worst time?

AL: I have to put my money on FSU for obvious reasons with not only the pool C draw but also the scheduling. If they manage to grind out a quarterfinals spot, assuming they fall behind Oregon and UNC, they get to see a well-rested Pitt team on Monday morning.

The next worse I would have to go with Georgia. They can’t be stoked seeing a veteran and gritty Wisconsin and regional rival Auburn. Auburn is without a doubt in my mind the best fifth seed.

What were you thinking?

JL: Besides those two, I’m thinking Colorado isn’t too happy about their pool. UNC-Wilmington has shown themselves to be one of the best teams in the nation this season. Then they have U-Mass, another undesirable match-up for them. Can Peterson slow down Babbitt and his domination? Reports have him, and the entire U-Mass roster, as much more improved from earlier in the spring. A repeat for Mamabird this season was always going to be difficult with the roster turnover. This pool may set them up for an extremely difficult pre-quarters match-up, and a long road after that.

​Furthest you think a 12-seed or lower makes it in the tournament?

AL: For argument’s sake let’s just switch Oregon (15) with Maryland’s seed (10) because I think Oregon will make it but that’s not a “lower” seed upset. I think Auburn could make some noise in pool A, Georgia is a newbie to the show, Wisconsin’s offense really labors at times and Texas isn’t as strong as it has been. I also think that if they’re smart they’ll just run bench players in their game against Pitt and save their starters’ legs. Otherwise I don’t see anything else too, too appealing.

You see any cinderellas you like? Or looking forward, any bracket matchups you expect/want to see?

JL: That entire Pool A is made for a cinderella or two. Wisconsin and Texas should join Auburn in threatening for a pre-quarters berth. Western Washington? After such a strong regionals, to think they can’t at least make it to quarterfinals is a little crazy to think about – though their possible draw from Pool C would be killer, and perhaps even fellow-Northwest team Oregon Ego.

I’m excited for all of Pool C. That’s going to be crazy. Give me Wisconsin vs. Texas though! That’s going to be quite the game. ​Possibly deciding pre-quarters matchups? Check. Possibly eliminating a storied college team, with deep history at this event? Check. Instantly creating a team that could run the table, and work their way up the bracket? Check.

How about you?

AL: Hmmm, for the pool matchups I think the UCF vs. Texas A&M game will be super interesting. We’ll have to see if the Dogs of War have the defenders and junk looks to throw at Bennett and Smith. Colorado vs. Massachusetts should be super close and may end up determining the winner of the pool.

I am dying to see a Pitt vs. UNC-W rematch in the championship bracket, the most likely chance is the first semi final. If they end up seeing each other, it’ll be the third straight year they play each other at the College Championships. In 2013, Pitt went undefeated in their championship run, but they trailed the Seamen at half-time and the game was very, very chippy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNu3HosOwq0. Last year, UNC-W pulled off that stunning double game point upset in Quarters. We already saw at Easterns that UNC-W really bothers Pitt and can certainly beat them. That would be a barn-burner. I think that first semifinal might end up being the de-facto championship when everything is said and done.Also, a Texas A&M vs. Oregon matchup would be intriguing. Seeing two of the most dynamic handlers, Bennett and Freechild, go head-to-head would be really entertaining.

JL: Ditto that UNC-W v Pittsburgh rematch.

What players are you going to be keeping on eye on during the weekend?

JL: With Oregon’s low-seed, and tough competition in their pool, I’m excited to see Dylan Freechild go to work. He’ll have to if Oregon wants to win their pool, let-alone make the championship bracket. Those games against North Carolina and Florida State, where he’ll draw the toughest defenders over pool play most likely, will be great to watch.

I’ve also been hearing a lot about Ryan Landry on Auburn. I haven’t seen too much of their film this season, and if they can pool off an upset or two in Pool A, I think he’d be a large part of it.

AL: We all love the offensive side of the ball: Bennett’s filthy breaks, Peterson’s skies and Nethercutts’s ridiculous flick hucks, but time and time again I think we see that who wins at Nationals is about those times when you need to generate a break, can your team lock down and get a turn. So the two guys that I’m looking at are on the defensive end:Trent Dillon is one of the best defenders in the country and always takes the toughest assignments whether its smaller quicker handlers or more athletic cutters downfield. We already know that Pitt’s offensive is silly efficient and will hold up its end of the bargain. The deciding factor for this team will be not only forcing turnovers but converting those break opportunities. Dillon is not only responsible for locking guys up, he’s also a key component of the d-line offense. He can run the show and finds ways to get open when Pitt needs him to. If Pitt brings home the championship, I suspect that Dillon will have a pretty big hand in it.

My second guy is an under-the-radar freshman who plays for UNC, Nathan Kwon. I had heard a little bit about him for his time on the YCC-winning Triforce and he certainly had wheels when you watched the highlights, but you had to wonder if he was really that quick or if it was a function of some weaker youth competition. Then I watched the UNC vs. Oregon game and this kid grabbed my attention immediately. He marked up against Freechild and was one of the few guys that I’ve ever seen who’s been as quick, maybe even a little quicker than Freechild.

No one can lockdown Freechild, but Kwon did seem to fluster him. He took away Freechild’s usual agility advantage. Kwon was able to hang with him on most of Freechild’s notorious give-go moves. The knock on Kwon is his size. Not only from a height perspective, I don’t have a measurement but I think at max he’s 5’8, but when you’re that small when you go up in the air, contact from bigger players can bump you out of your aerial positioning. Freechild could certainly take him deep and take advantage of this, but I’m sure Darkside will be more than willing to help deep if Kwon can disrupt Freechild in the handler set.

We’ve all been talking about pool C and we know how much of an advantage it is to win your pool in terms of bracket placement. That UNC vs. Oregon seems like it might determine the winner. We’ve seen that at times Freechild can become frustrated and turns to inpatient hucks and poor decision making. If Kwon can do enough to irritate Freechild, Darkside can claim the pool.

So… prediction time?

JL:
Prediction time! Let’s get pools, semis, and champion?

Pool A – I think things are going to get a little crazy in the depths of Pool A! Three teams finish at 2-2, and create an extremely interesting final round of pool play.
Pittsburgh (3-1)
Wisconsin (2-2)
Georgia (2-2)
Auburn (2-2)
Texas (1-3)

Pool B – While I can’t wait for the A&M vs. UCF game, I don’t think I can pick against the higher seed. Western Washington steals Minnesota’s spot in pre-quarters.
Texas A&M (4-0)
Central Florida (3-1)
Western Washington (2-2)
Minnesota (1-3)
Cincinnati (0-4)

Pool C – Hard to bet against Freechild. UNC and FSU are going to have a tough time. Maryland should play the top teams close, though only end up with one win.
Oregon (4-0)
UNC (3-1)
FSU (2-2)
Maryland (1-3)
Illinois (0-4)

Pool D – Sorry Metro East. UMass vs. Colorado!! Other than that, UNC-W rolls with the pool victory. Still think their game versus UMass will be a good one.
UNC-W (4-0)
Massachusetts (3-1)
Colorado (2-2)
UC-SB (1-3)
Cornell (0-4)

Semis
Pitt over UNC-W
Oregon over Wisconsin
Champion
Pittsburgh

What do you have?

AL:
Pool A
1. Pitt (4-0)
2. Georgia (2-2)
3. Wisconsin (2-2)
4. Auburn (2-2)
5. Texas (0-4)

Pool B
1. UCF (3-1)
2. Texas A&M (3-1)
3. Minnesota (3-1)
4. Cincinnati (1-3)
5. Western Washington (0-4)

Pool C
1. Oregon (4-0)
2. UNC (3-1)
3. FSU (2-2)
4. Maryland (1-3)
5. Illinois (0-4)

Pool D
1. UNC-W (4-0)
2. Colorado (3-1)
3. Massachusetts (2-2)
4. UCSB (1-3)
5. Cornell (0-4)

Semis:
UNC-W over Pitt 17-16
Oregon over UCF 15-12
Finals:
Oregon over UNC-W 15-13

JL: Well that’s it! Excited for the event to begin.

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