The MCLA National Tournament brackets have been announced and now it is time to play with the teams to find the winners before the games. Although not always correct, this comes from in-depth research and film watching of each team.
*Winners will be in bold.
#1 Arizona St. (SLC AQ) vs. Indiana (GRLC AQ)
This year we have a new No. 1 overall seed in Arizona St. from the SLC. ASU went 16-0 on the season and gaining the SLC’s automatic qualifier. ASU also holds the No. 1 ranking in the coaches poll, which they have held for the last eight weeks.
ASU will be taking on the GRLC automatic qualifier, Indiana, in the first round. This is Indiana’s first National Tournament appearance, and it won’t be a necessarily warm welcome for the Hoosiers. The Hoosiers went 10-3 on the season and held off Illinois late in the GRLC Championship game.
#2 Colorado (RMLC AQ) vs. Minnesota-Duluth (UMLC AQ)
Colorado is once again the No. 2 seed in the National Tournament. The Buffs won the RMLC AQ after defeating Westminster in the RMLC Semifinals and Brigham Young in the Championships. The Buffs went 14-2 on the season and were in the top two all season.
Colorado will be facing off against the UMLC Champions, Minnesota Duluth, in the first round. Unfortunately I cannot in good conscience go with my home conference on this one. UMD went 9-4 on the year, with all four loses coming to teams that are considered National Tournament quality teams. The Bulldogs were in and out of the coaches poll all season finally finishing outside the Top 25.
#3 Brigham Young (RMLC) vs. Virginia Tech (SELC AQ)
BYU, what can you say about the men from Provo? The team went 15-3 this season, losing to Boston College early in the season and to Colorado twice. BYU has been one of the most consistent teams in the country, being in the top five all year and only losing to Tournament teams.
Virginia Tech is coming out of a little less prestigious D1 conference than BYU. The Hokies are the SELC automatic qualifier, having beat who may the MCLA’s hottest team, Liberty University, in the SELC Championship. VT went 14-3 on the season only losing to Cal Ploy, UC Santa Barbara and Liberty. I would love to pick the underdog here and give everyone an upset to tell me I am wrong but unfortunately I am going with BYU on this one.
#4 Chapman (SLC) vs. Northeastern (PCLL AQ)
Chapman, who happens to be hosting the Semifinals and Finals, has garnered the No. 4 seed in the tournament and the No. 4 slot in the coaches poll. Chapman went 14-5 on the year with loses to ASU twice, Sonoma St., BC, and Colorado. Chapman for me is a team to be wary of they could be the team to steal the Tournament from ASU and Colorado. Yes that sounds weird for a fourth seed, but they are a fourth seed that seems to be somewhere outside of the top.
Northeastern, the Cinderella you could say, went 10-2 on the year and beat out New Hampshire in the PCLL Championship. Northeastern is a team I like a lot, they beat teams like SUNY-Buffalo and Boston College with the only slip ups were against Briarcliffe and UConn. the Huskies were a team that can game with most teams and I think can give Chapman a run for their money, but I believe that Chapman has the upper hand in this game.
#5 Colorado St.(RMLC) vs. Simon Fraser (PNCLL AQ)
This has not been the year that CSU, the defending two-time National Champions, were hoping for. The Rams have gone 11-5 this year and lost in the semifinals of the RMLC tournament to BYU. They also have loses to Chapman, ASU, and Colorado. This is not the same type of Ram team we have come to know.
Simon Fraser, the winner of the PNCLL automatic qualifier and has held sway over the Pacific Northwest for most of the season. The Clan went 14-3 on the year only losing to BYU, ASU, and Texas. The Clan won the PNCLL regular season championship and the PNCLL Tournament, they look to be back in the dominate form that made a name for them a few years ago. I am going with the upset in this game SFU just seems too good to lose to a relatively struggling CSU team. CSU is by no means out of it but I believe they will have a hard time with Simon Fraser.
#6 UC-Santa Barbara (SLC) vs. Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo (WCLL AQ)
A rematch from earlier this spring brings together two teams who have played one another quite a bit over the last number of years. In the first match up UCSB took the game by a score of 6-5. The Gauchos from Santa Barbara have had a good season going 12-5 and making it to the SLC semifinals, where they lost to ASU 8-6.
Cal Poly is coming off an much improved season from last year where they missed out on everything, they went 7-8 last season. This year has been a whole new story, the Mustangs are 12-5 and won the WCLL automatic qualifier in a win over California. The Mustangs will be looking to get back at the Gauchos for that early season loss and think they may have the edge in this game. Coming off a conference championship should bolster the Mustangs confidence.
#7 Michigan St. (CCLA AQ) vs. Texas (LSA AQ)
Michigan St., know by me as Michigan’s little Brother, is going to be in a dog fight when they take on Texas. The Spartans had to go through upstart Davenport in the CCLA Championship game to get to the Tournament, but like last year I believe Sparty may have one of the best defenses in the MCLA.
Texas is a team that I cannot really put my finger on, their schedule is pretty good with wins over Oregon, Simon Fraser and Texas St. but loses to Colorado by eight, CSU by one and Texas St. by five worry me. Unfortunately I am going to mess with Texas and go with Michigan St. in this one.
#8 Boston College (PNCLL) vs. Westminster (RMLC)
BC is coming off a disappointing PNCLL Tournament, having lost to New Hampshire in the semifinals. BC has had an extremely good year, going 10-3 with the only losses coming to Colorado, Northeastern and obviously New Hampshire. The Eagles will need to step up their game in the next week to have a good chance against the Griffins from Westminster College.
The Griffins, having moved up to the D1 ranks this season, have made the National Tournament in the first year as a D1 program. After years of dominating in the D2 ranks they have answered the biggest question for the D2 teams, can we win at the D1 level in the toughest conference in the MCLA. The Griffins have been tested in the crucible of championship teams in the RMLC and they have what it takes to win games. That is why I am going with the Griffins when they play BC.
To let me know where you think I screwed up tweet me at @AlexUrquhart13. My MCLA D2 Bracketology will be coming out later this week.