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Friday, June 3, 2016

CRC Preview & Predictions


The CRC begins tomorrow. We offer up our preview of each pool as well as predictions.

Pool A: Cal, Maryland, Tennessee, Arkansas State

Cal are the three time defending champions and are justifiably the favorites to not only advance out of this pool but to win the whole thing. They are bringing a star studded roster once again with the likes of Anthony Salaber, James Kondrat, Jesse Milne, Nick Boyer, Russell Webb, and Harry Adolphus all playing. Cal doesn't play a lot of 7s but every time they do they excel. They won't come into this weekend seeking to shake off the frustration of a Varsity Cup defeat but a win might propel them even higher.

Arkansas State should be the team with the best shot to challenge Cal. Zinzan Elan-Puttick is a player to watch while Alex Goff is also up there. Maryland will be led by Mike Mussina who is a handy player himself while Tennessee also has a solid team. However, both Maryland and Tennessee are big underdogs to make the Cup quarterfinals.

Take the jump to read more.

Pool B: Indiana, Notre Dame, Boston College, Kutztown

This should be one of the most wide-open pools in the tournament. Indiana and Kutztown are the favorites but there is the potential for an upset. Indiana has flown under the radar all year. They did get flushed out of the DI-A playoffs but they were a tough out. Bryce Campbell could have his coming out party this weekend similar to how other players have used the CRC to make a name for themselves.

Kutztown have been a powerhouse in years past but there is no Mike Lawrenson or Niku Kruger this year. Who they do have his Alex Faison-Donahoe. There is a reason he's been invited to Eagles camp in the past and could be a key player in the next cycle. Notre Dame and Boston College have some good players but don't have as much experience as Indiana or Kutztown.

Pool C: Arizona, Army, Navy, St. Joe's

Arizona have shown over the years that they are a very good 7s team. Tyler Sousley has great experience and then there are the Rogers brothers. The Wildcats could easily finish at the top of the pool or they could miss out. Army have had a bounce back year. Luke Heun, Jake Lachina, and Andrew Borer are capable of doing great things. Then there is Navy. Jack McAuliffe has graduated and Navy needs new players to set up. Until they have one of those players step up they may be behind Arizona and Army. St. Joe's may be the sleeper team of the who tournament. They have done decently well in the past few years and with a home crowd behind them they may be able to find another notch.

Pool D: Drexel, Life, Penn State, Virginia Tech

Pool D belongs to Life. It would be a shock, a major shock, if Life were to not top this pool. The Van Schalkwyk's, Cody Melphy, Matthew Koroi, Sam Cowley, Harley Davidson, and the list goes on of outstanding players. Life will want to reclaim the overall title after years of having it in the hands of Cal so look for them to come out firing.

Penn State will have Malcolm May on their roster. He's going to surprise a few people. The team also has a good infrastructure that should help them do well. Virginia Tech could surprise Penn State to cause an upset while Drexel will probably finish at the bottom of the pool.

Pool E: South Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, UCLA

This is another pool that could have a surprise winner. If we had to bet at the moment we'd pick UCLA. Niall Barry, Devin Lim, and Seb Sharpe are talented players. If there is one thing Californians love to do it's get out and run and that lends itself well to 7s. Michigan, Wisconsin, and South Carolina are going to be very tough to beat as well. It's going to be a real dogfight to see who finishes second. Unfortunately for these teams the fact that it's going to be close could hurt them when it comes to one of the two second place spots for the Cup quarterfinals.

Pool F: Clemson, Temple, Dartmouth, Utah

Pool F also seems close on the surface but we like Utah here. The Utes have impressed us as the season has gone along. They are better now than they were when they won the CRC qualifier bracket back in March. They may not have a star player on their roster but they have a bunch of great players that have a lot of rugby experience. Dartmouth and Clemson are good teams as well and it wouldn't be a surprise to see either in the Cup quarterfinals. Temple is a local team but they might struggle.

The men's bracket is just one part of the weekend. There is also a women's, Philadelphia, and NSCRO divisions. Here is the breakdown of who will play who

Philadelphia Division

Pool A: Delaware, Villanova, Univ. Penn

Pool B: Rowan, Mount St. Mary’s, West Chester

NSCRO

Pool A: Babson College (BAB), Louisiana State University – Alexandria (LSUA), New Mexico Highland University (NMHU), Susquehanna University (SU)

Pool B: Clermont Colleges (CC), Franklin and Marshall College (FM), Ithaca College (IC), St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMC)

Women

Pool A: Penn State, Rutgers, NSCRO Select, Delaware

Pool B: Life, Michigan, Temple, Notre Dame

Pool C: Navy, Boston, Princeton, Bloomsburg

Pool D: Lindenwood, Ohio State, Kutztown, Arizona

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