By: Gabe Hernandez
There are no words that can describe the madness that ensued on Saturday. North Carolina, Brown, Pittsburgh and Cal Poly-SLO secured their spots in the quarterfinals while 10 other teams fought for a pre-quarter spot in the bracket. Some teams advanced with heroic comebacks, while others missed out on the bracket completely by one-point margins. This tournament is .
End of Pool Play
In Pool A, UNC won all their games by at least six points. Their depth is crazy. Tired of this storyline yet? In their wake, Ohio State, Georgia and Minnesota all went 2-2, which meant point differential between the three teams was the deciding factor. The tiebreaker gave Ohio State the pool’s second seed, but since Georgia and Minnesota were also tied on point diff, it ultimately came down to head-to-head between Georgia and Minnesota, which meant the third spot went to Georgia. Had Ohio State beaten Georgia by one more point, had Minnesota lost to Georgia by one less point, or had Minnesota beaten Ohio State by one more point, Grey Duck would have earned the third spot over Georgia. Literally every point mattered.
In Pool B, Brown executed a similar display of dominance, winning all four of their games by a combined 23 points. Texas earned the second seed with a hard fought one-point win over NC State, while Michigan locked up the third seed, also with a one -point win – theirs over Iowa State. Every team in this pool ended up with a different record, and the four games that proved to be decisive were decided by a combined five points.
After day one, Pool C was the most wide-open, thanks to an emphatic Victoria win over Pittsburgh. However, all games during day two (except one) were clearly decided by three points or more. Pitt took care of business in their final game and came out on top of the pool, thanks to a head-to-head win over a 3-1 Oregon team that ended up securing the pool’s second seed. Victoria and Wisconsin both touted 2-2 records at the end of pool play, but Wisconsin bagged the third seed thanks to a head-to-head win over Victoria. Saturday proved to be a rather straightforward ending for a pool that seemed like it could have been turned completely on its head.
Cal Poly-SLO was the first team to secure their spot in the quarterfinals, and they were able to rest 14 players in their last game of pool play. Once SLO secured their pool’s top seed, it really all came down to the exciting matchup between Washington and Colorado to decide where in pre-quarters each team would fall. The game was gritty, going back and forth with short point swings in both directions, and a late surge from Mamabird gave them the 14-13 win for the second seed, which left Washington as the three.
Texas v. Wisconsin
The tournament hosts came out with guns blazing against the Hodags, taking a commanding 11-7 lead as time was winding down. From there, it all fell apart. Wisconsin held, got a first throw Callahan on the next point, and never looked back. They broke four more times to win the game 13-11 and will face the defending champions in the morning.
Oregon v. Michigan
From the get go and ‘til the very end, this game was anyone’s for the taking. A second half surge from Michigan put them up by three before Oregon quickly responded and brought =the score to 11-11, game to 13. MagnUM held twice with big hucks to secure their spot in the quarterfinals against an athletic Cal Poly-SLO.
Colorado v. Georgia
From the beginning, it seemed that Colorado was the better team. They took half 8-5 and were in command of the game before Georgia mounted a run of their own to tie the game at 10 apiece, game to 12. Mamabird then held and broke for the win, setting the stage for another installation of a huge Pittsburgh-Colorado rivalry.
Ohio State v. Washington
The Sundodgers never led in a game that was dominated by Ohio State from beginning to end, thanks to impressive patience from Leadbelly’s offense on both O and D, upwind and downwind. They look like they are peaking at just the right time, as they face a formidable Brown team first thing Sunday morning.
Quarterfinals match-ups for tomorrow:
UNC v. Wisconsin – 8:30 a.m.
Cal Poly-SLO v. Michigan – 8:30 a.m.
Pittsburgh v. Colorado – 8:00 a.m. *
Brown v. Ohio State – 8:00 a.m.
*Stream the game live at youtube.com/usaultimate.