Ben Jagt of Minnesota throws a backhand against Texas A&M at the 2015 D-1 College Championships. Photo by Brian Canniff of UltiPhotos.com.
Some thoughts from the Florida Warm Up notebook. See the full results here.
Years ago, a perennial-College Championship coach told me to be weary of early-spring results. Specifically, he was talking about Warm Up, and the sporadic results the tournament can be known for. Why was this tournament known for its strange results? "Team's don't play defense." The defensive intensity you see later in the spring, or in the post-season, isn't present at a tournament like Warm Up, and that makes all of the difference. So long as the defense isn't at the same level, Warm Up will continue to have some wacky results. I didn't think that the defense was atrocious this weekend, but a tournament like Easterns usually features better defensive match-ups.
- Ben Jagt for Minnesota is very good at ultimate. I don't remember Jagt sticking out this much when watching Minnesota last season, but this year he's making a huge impact next time he's on the field.
- One of the games I watched Jagt play was Minnesota versus Northwestern. Minnesota dominated the game, but #7 for Northwestern Sahaj Kumar did a great job matching up against him. Kumar doesn't have the same height advantage that Jagt has, but played extremely well in limiting his options and pressuring Jagt each time the disc came his way.
- Saying all of that though, Trent Dillon was still a dominant force on the field for Pittsburgh and his play (in my mind) helped cement his place atop the Callahan-favorite list.
- For the finals of Minnesota versus Florida (Minnesota Grey Duck would win), there was an obvious need for observers. A lot of points, especially in the second half, became call-fests. It didn't make the game completely unwatchable, but it wasn't a pleasant experience either. A tournament of this caliber should have observers anyway, this is one of the premier events of the college season - why not play it under the best conditions possible?
- Minnesota had brief moments when their defense lagged, and it let their opponents claw into the game a bit. Come later in the season, that simply can't happen if they expect to advance from Regionals or at the College Championships.
- Bobby Ley and Billy O'Bryan are the keys to Florida. Even with one of them off of the field, their team took a hit.
- Florida feeds off of their speed. Over and over and over their cutters and defenders turned what looked like a sure overthrow, or a contested play to the disc, into a positive for their team.
- I wonder how Florida will do against a team with more physical defense than Minnesota though. Will they be able to generate the same space on in-cuts?
- Texas A&M had a great weekend, they just need to watch out for those North Central teams - all three in attendance seemed to give them a lot of trouble.
- Pittsburgh is still putting things together, and that was none more obvious than during their consolation game on Sunday against UConn where lines seemed more free-flowing than at other points during the weekend. No doubt that when they take the field at Stanford and Easterns, they will be a much different team with a better handle on their offense as players like Jonah Wisch and Patrick Earles return to the lineup.
- Virginia Tech had a great weekend as well, showing that they belong in the conversation amongst the top of the Atlantic Coast region. Look out for them at Easterns.
- Carleton CUT shook off that early loss to UConn to make the championship bracket, where they lost a close game to Texas A&M. The first loss was described to me as 'shaking off the dust' more than anything else.
- Surprise, surprise! The Wisconsin Hodags are still much better than your favorite team on defense.
- There's going to be a lot of talk about BYU, and what could be done to accommodate them after another strong showing at this tournament. Unfortunately for them, I can't think of a single solution that allows them to fit into other major tournaments that are restricted to two days due to when they fall on the calendar. Or a way they can fit into the post-season in a fair way, because again it is a two-day restricted tournament for Conferences and Regionals. And of course, should all of that be worked out, their inclusion could potentially derail all of the format changes USAU has worked in as a result of the ESPN contract. They are without a doubt a very good ultimate team this season, and watching them play other very good teams is a pleasure. But I just don't think it can work out for them.
- As a whole, the results were very good for the Open Division. I'm interested to see how it impacts Ultiworld's Power Rankings, but more interested to see how it impacts the bids for each region. @bamasecs have been all about the #SEBidParty, but combine these results with the President's Day results and they may not be partying too hard in the Southeast.
- Pitt-B and Florida-B played a heated finals game. It was going on at the same time as the Florida/Minnesota game, and seemed much more chippy.
- Tampa's 70+ (even with the wind) beats the below zero temperatures I escaped in NYC. Sign my petition for all tournaments to be only in beautiful weather.