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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

LVI Preview: Upsets Could Make CRC Qualifier Interesting


It was clear last year at the CRC Qualifier that there are a few teams that are leaps and bounds ahead of the others. AIC finished second to Arkansas State last year and both teams were easily the class of the tournament. That said, there were upsets along the way with both Air Force and St. Joe's making it to the semi-finals. That trend could easily continue this year as there are once again favorites but with big upset potential ready to rock the boat. 

Pool A: AIC, Miami (OH), Ithaca 2, Colorado State

This is a pool that AIC dominate. They were strong last year and are looking even better this year. They have legitimate stars on their team that should get national team looks sooner rather than later. Not only are AIC favorites to win their pool but they have to be favorites to win the whole thing. It will likely be between Miami and Colorado State for who finishes second. 

Take the jump to read more.Pool B: Notre Dame College, James Madison, Colorado, UNLV

This will be a tough pool with only one team guaranteed to advance. The others might savage each other enough to hurt their chances of being one of the second place teams to advance. James Madison had an outstanding summer playing 7s and they are going to want to show that it wasn't a fluke. They may be a small program but they could be the surprise. Notre Dame College has the recruiting power while Colorado draws on good local talent. UNLV has the home pitch advantage and shouldn't have the distractions that other teams have. 

Pool C: Air Force, Delaware, Colgate, Citadel

Air Force were disciplined last year and it paid off in a big way over Lindenwood. They will be looking for more of the same this year but will have to go up against a Delaware side hungry to show that they are still one of college rugby's best. They've had to rebuild from their suspension but are capable of beating Air Force. Citadel has players that can surprise but other teams have siphoned off some of them to play Men's Elite. 

Pool D: Lindenwood-Belleville, Ithaca 1, Dixie State

New England College was a late withdrawal from the tournament thanks to some administrative issues that means that Lindenwood-Belleville (coached by all around good guy Pat Clifton) probably is the favorite to advance. However, don't sleep on Dixie State. The St. George, Utah school has athletes on the roster and draws from the solid rugby community in Utah. 

Pool E: Utah Northeastern, Pitt

This is another pool with only three teams. Utah is the heavy favorite in this pool and along with AIC is a favorite to go far. The Utes have done a good job rebuilding from their suspension and are looking strong. They have a lot of players that have played 7s and are ready to go. 

Pool F: St. Joe's, Harvard, Millersville

St. Joe's made the semi-finals last year and there is no reason to think they can't do so this year. Harvard could be a challenge but St. Joe's likely has the edge. 

If you have to pick pool winners you are looking at AIC, James Madison, Air Force, Lindenwood-Belleville, Utah, and St. Joe's with teams like Colorado State, Colorado, Notre Dame College, and Delaware fighting for the final two spots. 

Play starts on Thursday with pool play. The quarterfinals are on Friday along with the Bowl and Plate finals. The Cup semi-finals and finals are on Saturday with the final in the stadium. 

2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Las Vegas Invitational. The big tournament that runs alongside the Vegas 7s.

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