It seems like the interest in this is pretty "meh" right now, so I thought it'd be fun to do a preview of the Upstate/Midwest matchups. Before I even start, I'm pretty sure the Upstate is facing an uphill battle this time around. I didn't want to get into gameplanning type stuff, just how I see the teams talent-wise. Starting at #9...
9. Monmouth (RPI 8) @ Rochester (164)
Poor Rochester really isn't ready to be in the challenge, but was forced into service. ahook took over a mess and only has 2 upperclassmen, so he needs more time to build. I feel like I should call shenanigans on the Midwest having their best RPI in the #9 slot ;) Should be 1-0 Midwest.
8. St Lawrence (67) @ Carroll (55)
Relatively even matchup. StL has the better record coming in, but hasn't played anyone. Carroll has played some tough games, but mostly lost them..5-4 overall. I'd have to give the edge to Carroll because of much better defense. 2-0 Midwest.
7. Lake Forest (31) @ Chicago (125)
Not sure what to make of LF beating #2 RPI Augsburg by 10 and Chicago losing to them by 37. But I think Chicago looks slightly better on paper, so I'll take them anyway. 2-1 Midwest.
6. Skidmore (27) @ Ripon (98)
I have to side with the skidmarks' top notch Per shooting here. Plus Ripon hasn't beaten a top-100 team yet this season. Evens the score at 2-2.
5. Grinnell (37) @ Hamilton (199)
I love Hamilton's defense, but the balance just isn't there right now. Grinnell has been competitive or beaten the best teams on their schedule, and I think they take this one. 3-2 Midwest.
4. Case Western (140) @ Rose-Hulman (29)
Looks like a pretty even matchup on paper, although RHIT's schedule has been much tougher. I'm a little concerned about CWR losing to a 200+ simmy last night, so I'd have to pick the defending champs here. 4-2 Midwest.
3. Depauw (25) @ Washington-MO (12)
A good matchup on board 3. Depauw has blitzed through a light non-conf schedule, so it's not clear to me exactly how good they are. WU has the #2 SOS and has only lost to very good teams. I'm picking WU to hand Depauw their first loss of the season. 4-3 Midwest.
2. Brandeis (133) @ St. Norbert (56)
Neither team has really played much of a schedule. Brandeis has dropped some games I thought they'd win, but did take Beloit to OT. I have to pick the Norbs by a hair because of home court, but could go either way. 5-3 Midwest.
1. Beloit (20) @ Ren Poly (6)
This game wouldn't matter if things played out like I've picked, but it would make a great tiebreaker if things are tied up at 4-4. Both teams beat Macalester by 10. Beloit took down Hamline on the road by 3, with RPI losing by 1 in an exhibition. Both teams have quality defense, but Beloit relies a lot more on TOs for offense. If RPI can keep from giving away too many easy points, I think our better LP/Per and home court will be enough to eek out the W. 5-4 Midwest.