The last stretch, CSL sharpshooters! We've seen some amazing teams make unbelieveable comebacks and horrible frag decisions, but these teams were the ones to make it through the chaos regardless of their strategies. So who's going to make it to the next round?
York is the clear favourite in this match-up against UT Austin. York had some troubles in the regular season and lost to Georgia State in the first round of the Winter Invitational, which hid much of their real power. But they’ve come out swinging for these playoffs with their most convincing result so far against UBC, where they beat them very convincingly (16-9, 16-2) in a two map series.
UT Austin has had decently close games in all of their playoff matches so far, even against admittedly worse opposition than what they’re about to face in York. However, UT Austin is not completely out of this one. All five of their players currently play on the same ESEA-Main team where they current sit at a 7-8 record. The chemistry built from playing together on this team will be their one advantage over York.
I predict a 2-0 series win from York, with potentially one of the maps having a close score-line.
Robert Morris University is the favourite coming into this match-up against Maryville University, but with MU's form recently, I wouldn’t count them out of this match-up at all.
Despite RMU having the most stacked roster in collegiate this year, we haven’t really gotten the opportunity to see how they compare to the best teams in collegiate. With their FFL against Georgia State in the Winter Invitational, we’re still left in the dark. RMU played a very nail-biting series against SFU, where there was a very real chance they could have lost the series, winning only by 2-1 (16-13, 16-19, 16-7) against the Canadian squad. They’ve shown signs of weakness, which will be up to Maryville to capitalize on.
Maryville University haven’t necessarily had the toughest road to get to this point, but they have shown signs of good consistency. They’ve been able to pull together good victories against Ryerson, Rutgers, and UConn in this playoff run, and were also able to make it to the round of 4 in the Winter Invitational, only losing to Georgia State (the eventual winners). The core of ttocSickk, -AM-, and -Cal- played ESEA-Main together last season, which should hopefully give them a fighting chance in this one.
I predict 2-0 from RMU, but the two maps will be very close score-lines.
This match-up between Virginia Commonwealth and University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign has the potential to be a great game. I think VCU has the upper-hand in this match-up, but UIUC is going to come out swinging.
VCU had a rough road this year, especially with the suspension of Lep in an account sharing incident earlier in the year. Coupled with CEGUS deciding to retire from competitive play, VCU were left to find two new replacements. Zen and Wolfeye is their newest additions and they have been performing well. VCU also competes in the ESEA-Main division, currently with a 13-3 record.
UIUC has always had a solid team, but this playoffs run is shaping up to be one of their best yet. They’ve come out on top in close matches against UCR, Akron, and Carleton, who are all formidable opponents in the scene. UIUC also finished ESEA-Intermediate this season with a 9-7 record.
I’m predicting 2-1 for VCU, as I think UIUC will be able to pull out a map victory, depending on how the map vetoes go down.
This match-up between Michigan State and UC Santa Cruz is probably the most interesting match in the upper bracket round of 8.
Michigan State came out of nowhere to upset UCF in the round of 16, beating them by a series score of 2-0 (16-5, 16-14). Four of Michigan State’s players play on an ESEA-Intermediate team, sporting a 9-6 record, while aaronsfury is currently on a 13-2 ESEA-Main team. These guys have definitely flown under the radar, but with this victory I’m sure more teams are going to become more aware of them.
UCSC has been solid all year-round. Although they lost to RMU in the Winter Invitational, the UCSC roster has called up previous long-time player saiyo back into the roster. This should be an improvement to their roster as saiyo has played in a number of seasons of ESEA-Main.
I’m predicting UCSC to win 2-1. Although with Michigan State’s upset over UCF, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go the other way depending on the map vetoes.