MCLA D-I First Round: New Spoilers Arise
The good news for Michigan and the rest of the Top 4 seeds in the Division I bracket of the MCLA tournament is two of the biggest potential spoilers have been bounced from the field. The bad news is they have been replaced by a more virulent strain of underdog.
Fifth-seeded Michigan State and No. 7 Colorado were both presumed to be in that next tier of programs that could be a threat to the association’s top dogs if they got on a a hot streak. Both were ousted on Tuesday evening. No. 11 Florida State rallied for a 10-8 victory over the Spartans while No. 10 Boston College held off a late charge from the Buffaloes to advance.
In the span of two hours, the conventional wisdom about these two teams has been reevaluated. Florida State has gone from a charlatan boasting an 18-1 record on the backs the weak SELC to an undervalued traditional power that is ready to flex its muscle. BC’s one-goal win over Colorado stands on its own, but is enhanced by fellow PCLL member Buffalo’s narrow, 11-8 loss to Arizona State.
With all of the teams dealing with the same physical and mental strains, the team with the carefree, underdog mentality – combined with the obvious skills – is at a distinct advantage. Both the Seminoles and Eagles have proven themselves worthy of single-digit seeds, but just not to the criteria’s liking. That’s why they have the seeding process and why team’s get to prove themselves. Now they also have the motivation of knowing that they can play with anyone.
What this has created is a very uneasy bracket. BC and Florida State reside on one side of the draw where they gleefully take on No. 2 Colorado State and No. 3 BYU in Wednesday’s quarterfinals at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver. On the other side of the bracket, No. 1 Michigan faces No. 8 Oregon – a team that has taken the Wolverines to overtime the last two times they faced, including a double overtime affair this spring – while SLC archrivals No. 4 Chapman and No. 5 Arizona State also tangle.
The Top 4 seeds are still the right bet to make it to Saturday evening, but they’ll all have to prove that they belong.
Here are the quarterfinal match-ups, along with their new times, which have moved up because of the expectation of inclement weather in Denver on Wednesday evening:
No. 5 Arizona State vs. No. 4 Chapman, 1 p.m.