Well, the MCLA decided its 16 team national tourney on Sunday, and the other guys here at LAS have asked me to give my two cents on the MCLA Tournament selection from a current team president/player’s perspective. (University of Florida team president/starting attack)
First off, I just want to say that I’m usually against players posting comments/thoughts on message boards and blogs. I feel that game performances should speak for themselves, and there is no reason to give opposing teams ‘bulletin board’ material. With that being said though, our season is over and I’ve been sidelined with a shattered wrist (7 screws and a metal plate to show for it) since our Colorado trip out west, so I feel okay expressing some reaction.
Don’t worry I won’t be whining about being on the outside looking in.
As a current MCLA player, (and one that was injured for the last 5 games of the season) I’m in a unique position to gauge teams, both in person and via score reports. Our schedule this year allowed us to play some great out of conference games against the perennial MCLA powerhouses CU, CSU, and BYU. Mix those tough matchups with our usual slate of games against the east coast squads, Boston College and FSU, and you’ve got yourself a strong schedule.
Over the past few seasons we’ve realized that the only way to get to the MCLA tourney outside of winning the SELC title is to schedule a strong OOC lineup against some of the best and most decorated teams in the MCLA’s short history. Being from the “East Coast” we not only have the added mileage of traveling west working against us, but an understandable west coast bias, because west of the Mississippi is where the MCLA calls home.
In regards to whether or not I think we should have made the tournament for the 3rd year in a row or not, of course I do. Outside of the VaTech loss in the SELC tourney (which involved a myriad of factors), I thought that our performance against BYU (L 17-11) and CU (W 12-4) on their home turfs in front of rowdy and passionate crowds was a great indicator of the type of team we were and the level of play we were capable of playing at.
Looking back, playing 3 games in 5 days at an elevation other than sea level was probably not the best for us. CSU knew not to take us lightly after our victory over the Buffs, and sure enough 18 hours after winning in Boulder we fell to the Rams. Oddly enough, we lost every game we played during the day, 3 out of our 4 losses total. The huge FSU 18-7 win at home in front of close to 2000+ fans was a great game, but in hindsight I wonder if it affected our mind set for the conference tourney. Enough about the Gators though.
So what do I think about the MCLA’s selection for the 2009 tournament?
The top 4 seeds are obviously the correct choices, but I think the MCLA has a problem with parity after that. The next 11 teams are basically a crapshoot, the remaining teams have the ability and experience to upset each other on any given day. Although this makes for some great games come tourney time, it makes it understandably hard for the tournament selection committee.
With that being said, my only beef is with the selection of UCSB and Oregon. (Sorry to the other LAS guys, I do love the uni’s!) I wish us (Florida) and UCSB had a chance to play Arizona, so there could be some measuring stick to compare the two teams. Unfortunately there was no game, and apart from UCSB’s close losses to Michigan and Chapman I don’t really see merit to putting a 7-loss team in the tourney. Unless you’re going on past accomplishments, which I doubt it because we beat UCSB 10-8 last season. As for the Ducks, I don’t know where to start and I’ll leave it at that.
I think Michigan repeats, and I think Coach Harkins gets his ‘Noles into the final 4.
See you guys in 2010, we’d love to get some more West Coast teams down to Gainesville to enjoy the Florida sunshine. (Hopefully we’ll be playing in the new D1 girls facility for a few games). Go Gators, I’ll see you West Coast guys in Pasadena next January when Tebow, Spikes, and Co. come to collect some more hardware.
Check out the rest of the tournament and talk about your favorite matchups in “MCLA Selection Sunday Storylines and Reaction”