Sunday, January 11, 2015

Midwest Coaches Poll

Over the next week, the Quidditch Post will release the results of our Coaches polls. Coaches or captains from every team were invited to vote or designate someone from their team to vote for the top teams in their region (one vote per team). The number of selections voters were asked to make depended on the number of teams in the region.

The Midwest voters were asked to pick their top ten teams from the fall season. Eighteen voters participated in the poll. Points were allocated in the following manner: ten points for a first place vote, nine points for a second place vote, eight points for a third place vote, etc. The votes have been tabulated and listed below in order of total votes. The number in parentheses indicates how many first place votes a team received.

MW Coaches Poll Results
  1. Ohio State University (OSU)  –  (17) 177
  2. Bowling Green State University (BGSU) – 159
  3. Kansas University – 128
  4. Ball State University  – (1) 127
  5. University of Michigan – 106
  6. Blue Mountain Quidditch Club –  92
  7. University of Minnesota – 67
  8. Central Michigan University – 56
  9. University of Missouri – 32
  10. Michigan State University (MSU) – 21

Also receiving votes: Miami University –16, Marquette University – 9

Voters Explain Their Decisions
“Very early in the season, Ball State shut Ohio State down entirely with its beaters. Ball State has the strongest beating corps in the region. It played a phenomenal game against Bowling Green at Midwest Regional, and the only reason it wasn’t the first seed after Day One was that star Trevor Campbell wasn’t there. It deserves that No. 1 spot. Blue Mountain also beat Ohio State this season, and it is honestly better in every aspect of the game. The only things that stopped Blue Mountain from steamrolling Ohio State was a couple of lucky snitch grabs and  a lack of chemistry. That has nothing to do with skill, and if it hadn’t played Ohio State when it did at Midwest Regional, it would have been in the finals. Bowling Green gets third because it had the best showing at Midwest Regional and was in the final match of nearly every tournament it attended. Dan Daugherty hardly played at all in the final match at the regional, and the team was just exhausted from playing Ball State. It is a damn good team. Ohio State is good but lacks strong beating and relies way too heavily on Jeremy Boettner. Additionally, Ohio State had a very easy road to the Finals because it had to beat the University of Missouri to get there. Thats not hard for anyone. Ohio was the favorite but certainly didnt deserve it more than the other first three teams.”

“OSU and Bowling Green are the top tier of the Midwest. They cover all aspects of the game with efficiency. Blue Mountain, Ball State, and Kansas are also highly developed teams; however, they lack in one category or another. The rest of the teams are rising stars as they showed at Midwest Regional but still have many areas they need to improve on. Blue Mountain could easily be the best team in the region if its regional squad could perform at every tournament with regular practices. And I left the University of Missouri off this list because I feel it got lucky at Midwest Regional, and when I watched its matches the team didn't really impress me.”

"1. Ohio State is an obvious No. 1. A 27-2 record doesn't happen easily in the Midwest. With a very strong finish at Midwest Regional, I challenge anyone to make an argument against it as No. 1.
2. Bowling Green showed its Achilles Heel when it went to an out-of-region tournament without Chad Brown. Without Brown, it is probably a No. 6 or No. 7, but with one of the best beaters in the country, it comes in at No. 2 just behind OSU.
3. Sure, Kansas lost to Ball State at Midwest Regional (who I have placed behind Kansas), but against the field, Kansas has the most all-around athletic chaser lineup and a seeker to go with it. That will match up well against anybody in the Midwest.
4. At 18-7, Ball State has shown some chinks in its armor but also highlights some impressive wins against great teams. Watching its Day One of Midwest Regional loss to Michigan without Trevor Campbell showed me that it still has a good beating game without him but exposed a weakness against strong and powerful quaffle players like Malek Atassi and Andrew Axtell. Yet it knocked off a great Kansas team on Day Two to come in at No.4 on my list.
5. Michigan has a great quaffle game with a number of stud players that defenses just don't have answers for. Michigan will score nine times out of 10 in no-bludger situations, which is where it differs from many other teams in the Midwest. It has a very solid yet not elite beater game, but where it leaves off, a couple of quaffle players pick up. Its loss to Michigan State on Day Two of regionals was tough to swallow, but it has proven it can challenge the best.
6. My home team, Minnesota, is still trying to put some pieces together. We had about a 60 percent turnover from last season, but we've increased our overall athleticism. Minnesota has had great SWIM this season, and ultimately you need to catch the snitch to win the game. Our beater line of veterans is top in the Midwest, and with the young talent in the quaffle players, I only see us getting stronger in the future. We have shown that we outcompete both Marquette and MSU but have fallen decisively to both Bowling Green and Kansas. Sixth seems like a pretty safe place.
7. Central Michigan has lost some of its luster after losing the bulk of its beater game to graduations. It still has a great quaffle game, but in the Midwest it can be tough to win without beaters. It’s had some mixed results against teams in the middle of the top but hasn’t been able to hang with the top of the region. If it can find a top-tier beater game, it’ll be in business to win some tournaments, but I do not know where it will come from.
8. Blue Mountain has basically won and lost against every team in the to-be Great Lakes Conference. Looking at individual results will only confuse you with this team, but here is some help: it does not and cannot hold regular practices with its personnel situation. When the top teams are practicing two or three times a week, Blue Mountain will only fall further behind. In both losses to Kansas and Ohio State at Midwest Regional, Blue Mountain only went nine deep on its roster. For a team whose only real standout player is Ashley Calhoun, and who has a roster full of good experienced athletes, this strategy is a losing strategy. I am not convinced of this team's longevity.
9. I watched Marquette play a lot at Midwest Regional and played against it once, and Marquette is an absolute dark horse in the Midwest. Its results are mediocre, but this team has some players that every team in the Midwest would love. It has a solid beater game that is expected in this region, but it also has a couple of quaffle players who are tall, strong, quick, athletic, and everything you could ask for. I've seen these quaffle players single-handedly break through some tough defenses. Marquette hasn’t proven much yet, but watch out, Midwest.
10. I gave this to MSU. 11-11 is not an impressive record. MSU is 1-6 in snitch-range games and has only caught five snitches in 22 games. It didn't lose much personnel from last season and still shows some signs of respectable six-on-six play, but ultimately you are going to have to catch the snitch to win games that matter and without that, Michigan State will remain above the pack of mediocre teams in the Midwest without breaking into the best.

Why I didn't pick Mizzou
I was very close to giving No. 10 to the University of Missouri, but I watched it lose at Kansas Cup to "Tribe,” a team that had virtually no beater game and was overall unimpressive. Yes, it stole a game at regionals against Central Michigan, but that's what that game was: a steal. Though I wouldn't be surprised if it broke the top 10 in the future, it just doesn’t have the guns to shoot around yet.”

Every voter except for one (see above) ranked regional champion Ohio State as the top team in the region, while 15 of 18 chose regional runner-up Bowling Green State University as second. Voters placed Kansas and Ball State three and four, 16 voters placed Ball State in the three, four, or five slot (seven third place, three fourth place, six fifth place), while 16 placed Kansas in a similar position (six third place, six fourth place, four fifth place). Michigan slotted behind those two teams with 17 votes in the fourth through sixth slots (six fourth place, six fifth place, five sixth place). Blue Mountain Quidditch Club ranked sixth, though voters didn’t seem to have a clear read on the premiere Midwest community team. Two voters ranked BMQC second, while the plurality ranked BMQC eighth (six voters). Minnesota and Central Michigan combined to receive 13 of the seventh place votes (six for Minnesota and seven for Central Michigan), though Minnesota came out higher ranked due to a pair of fifth place vote and three sixth place votes. Missouri placed ninth with many voters struggling with how to rank the squad’s surprise semifinal run at the Midwest Regional Championship. Ultimately, Missouri appeared on 12 ballots compared to nine for Michigan State University, edging it for ninth. Miami also appeared on 12 ballots but didn’t make the top 10 as nine of its appearances were tenth place votes.

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