ARC is trying to find new ways to utilize our website. This is the latest idea we have to make MSUltimate.com more of a destination for people to get information about the team. In this (hopefully) ongoing series we will be previewing the tournaments we attend to help our alumni, family, and friends understand what to expect from our team at those tournaments. Any feedback about what to add or change is encouraged, although there are no guarantees about whether requests will be granted or not. Hope you enjoy!
A Surprising Twist
Just four days ago, I began writing a preview for Chicago Invite (CI), I never expected that preview would turn into one about Huck Finn (HF). To be completely frank, I had little knowledge about HF before CI’s unfortunate cancellation on Wednesday. But after such an event, I learned quickly how fortunate we were to have gotten an emergency bid for HF this weekend.
What’s important to understand about this scheduling change is how much different Huck Finn is compared to Chicago Invite. At CI, ARC would have been the #3 seed going into Saturday, sitting pretty in one of the power pools. In contrast, at HF, ARC comes in at the #11 seed, just missing being part of the two power pools.
The mindset goes from one of holding seed to one of breaking seed in anyway possible. In that way, ARC will be going into this tournament with an opportunistic mentality. Looking to prove their worth in good games with talented teams.
A New Tournament, A New Outlook
As mentioned before attending Huck Finn changes the outlook towards this weekend dramatically. With a higher competition level and being at a lower seed, the team’s mental toughness will be tested and how ARC reacts will determine the results (the latter could be applied to the rest of the season as well). Not being in a power pool, puts more pressure on MSU to win their games in pool play, because if they do poorly, the hopes of a championship bracket Sunday fades away very quickly.
Not to mention the high winds and cold weather expected for this weekend. If the forecasts are correct, this tournament may have less to do with how talented each team is, but rather how discipline each team is when the going gets tough. Turnovers and sloppy play may plague the tournament, and the teams that are able to fight through the frustration of sloppy play will most likely be the ones that come out successful.
ARC plans on coming out swinging on Saturday and Sunday, showing teams some gritty defense and possession-minded offense. If MSU executes on both those fronts, it will be a great weekend for the boys of East Lansing.
Teams We Know
Ohio State Lead Belly
ARC has played OSU twice this year. Both were very close games, with OSU coming out on top in each game. It should be noted, that both of these games had relatively low stakes going into them. At Rivalry Reheat, there was no real consequence to winning or losing, and had just come off an emotional high beating Michigan earlier in the day. At CCC, we had just lost a long game (in the losers bracket) to Alabama. In both instances, the drive to play hard was a bit lacking.
This is brought up not to make an excuse, but to provide context for why MSU may have been playing sub-par. Lead Belly is a solid team, and their USAU ranking (#33) proves that. ARC would love another opportunity to play OSU again, and possibly upset one of the better teams of the Midwest.
Alabama is a good, athletic team that ARC faced once this year. The game finished with Bama coming out on top 15 – 9, although the game was closer than the score indicated. It was one of those games where both teams played their heart out, but came down to one team capitalizing on the other teams mistakes more often. Either way, it’s looking like, assuming both teams do what they’re supposed to in pool play, ARC will meet them for their Saturday crossover game.
From a personal perspective, it would be an exciting proposition to play Bama again. ARC will be looking for redemption if the opportunity arises.
A Short Aside: If MSU and Alabama meet on Saturday, the great people at Bama Secs are planning on streaming the game live on YouTube! You can find their YouTube channel here.
Charlie Robertson – The Golden Retriever
Charlie is a sophomore rookie who has recently become a starter for the D-line, and a rotational option for the O-line. After an ankle injury of previous belt winner, David Vanderzee (the Ferret), following Eastern Qualifier, the team will look to Charlie make up for many of the deep cuts the D-line will lose with David not able to play. Could be a big weekend for the Golden retreiver, only time will tell if he makes that happen.
Dan Brown – The Ram
As a freshman rookie Dan has slowly but surely worked his way up into the rotation of ARC’s main D-line cutters. He plays solid shut-down defense, and uses his intelligence as a cutter on offense. This could be a great weekend for the Ram to elevate his role within the team.
Matt Goeman – The Frilled Lizard
Matt (Sophomore rookie) had a great showing at EQ, to the point of being nominated for the belt. The team will once again look to him to be a big part of the team’s success on D-line. He is quick and explosive, and should look to solidify himself as a major contributor on the D-line this weekend.
Huck Finn will be a very good test for ARC, and yet another time to prove where they stand within the league before the series begins. Huck Finn could be a great confidence boost for MSU, especially considering they will be playing a lot of teams ranked above their #58 ranking, and doing well against said teams could prove to be just what MSU needs going into sectionals.
The sights are set high, but making sure to play game by game will be pivotal to how well ARC fairs this weekend.