Get your bets on, players. Here are the predictions for the Winter Invitational!
University of Central Florida is a clear favourite in this match-up against University of Arizona. With a roster that features several ESEA-Main and ESEA-Intermediate players as well as an ESEA-MDL player Char-, Central Florida has the upper hand when it comes to individual skill. That being said, Arizona isn’t completely out of this match-up. Most of Arizona’s roster also played in ESEA-Open Season 28, with the exception of Corbin-hax-, and finished with an 11-5 regular season record with a 0-1 playoffs record. The odds are against Arizona, but one required condition for their victory in this match-up will be if Corbin-hax- can put on a clinic.
University of Central Florida > University of Arizona - 2-0
Central Florida: Char-
Rochester Institute of Technology has the clear edge in this match-up against Kansas State University. RIT has a solid squad of ESEA-Main and ESEA-Intermediate players, with Zxav and Feral~ being their stand-out players. Their supporting cast is also very solid, too, and their first half results definitely didn’t reveal many weaknesses. On the other hand, Kansas State will be looking to their star player Pure_Penguinz to come up huge for them in this game if they want a real shot at an upset victory.
Rochester Institute of Technology > Kansas State University - 2-0
Kansas State: Pure_Penguinz
This match-up between University of Akron and University of Connecticut will be very interesting. Akron actually recently made a huge roster change despite their good results in the first half of the season and their ESEA-Open playoff run, which also landed them a spot in ESEA-Main. Coming in to replace Jman-, spr^C, and Lept0 will be StarX, Erebus, A11ANAT0R. From an outside perspective, the past experience of these newer players do not scream of an upgrade to the roster necessarily, which is why I find it very interesting they decided to go for this move. The new additions did play on the Akron Zips Blue roster in ESEA-Open, where they finished 10-6 in the regular season and 0-1 in the playoffs. University of Connecticut has remained intact and their experience playing together will definitely help a lot when against this reformed Akron squad. If Lightyy comes out swinging again like he did in the Northeastern game from Week 7 last semester, I predict 2-0 for UConn. However, assuming he plays at more of his normal level, it will be a much closer game. If it weren't for Akron’s new roster changes, I would have said that Akron has the clear edge in this match, so I’ll be predicting a 2:1 for UConn.
University of Connecticut > University of Akron - 2-1
This match-up between Carleton University and University of Texas Dallas is going to be a really good game. Both of these teams have multiple players who have played ESEA-Intermediate before, with Snakelore being the only one who has competed in ESEA-Main. How the map vetoes pan out may heavily dictate how this match goes. Carleton University has had a tad bit more experience as a core (Snakelore, yung spud, and FrostyImperator) when it comes to best of threes, so I’ll be giving the edge to Carleton. Regardless, I believe this will be a really close game and it can go either way.
Carleton University > University of Texas Dallas - 2-1
University of California San Diego has the slight edge in this match-up against Virginia Tech. UCSD’s three man core of RoYaL, cullican, and Reecha will be the big players to look out for as the three have competed in ESEA-Main this past season. UCSD also showed good results in the last half, only falling to UC Santa Cruz. On the side of Virginia Tech, their five man roster since last year is still in-tact, but their dedication as a team has been a little bit lacklustre. As a team, they’ve played a few matches in ESEA-Intermediate, but they’re going to need more to take down UCSD. I’m picking UCSD 2-0, but the games themselves might have close scorelines.
University of California San Diego > Virginia Tech - 2-0
Virginia Tech: Koren
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign is the more favoured team in this match-up against University of Maryland; however, this match may actually be closer than it seems. University of Maryland has some solid players: Nuked has played multiple seasons of ESEA-Main and Mackrc played last season of ESEA-Advanced. The main issue with Maryland is their roster inconsistency, as it seems like they’re fielding a different set of 5 each game. UIUC on the other hand is a full team competing in ESEA-Intermediate (with the exception of BokuMboP), and their only loss last semester was against RMU, a team that could very well be winning the whole league this year. Although BokuMboP isn’t playing on the UIUC ESEA team, he can definitely do lots of damage. I’m going to go with UIUC 2-0, but don’t be surprised if Maryland make the games really close.
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign > University of Maryland - 2-0
University of Ottawa is the favoured team in this match-up against Western Michigan University. Western Michigan University did well in their group last semester, but there is not much to suggest that they’ll be able to take on Ottawa here. University of Ottawa simply has more competitive experience with all of their players having competed in ESEA-Open for a couple of seasons. MARIO is also University of Ottawa’s heavy hitter as he has competed in a couple seasons of ESEA-MDL. I believe this will be a convincing 2-0 for Ottawa.
University of Ottawa > Western Michigan University - 2-0
Western Michigan: FishE
This will be a really exciting match between University of British Columbia and Kennesaw State University. UBC is a roster mainly composed of ESEA-Main players with hero- who also competed in the ESEA-MDL. Kennesaw State is a team that has shown that they can be really good, especially in that OT game against Georgia State University (who I ranked as #2 in my most recent power rankings). Inconsistency plagues both of these teams. Despite UBC having really good players on paper, their results haven’t been that convincing,especially against the lower tier of teams in the CSL. On the other hand, Kennesaw State has also shown that they can have matches where their team simply doesn’t show up. This will be a matter of which team shows up on the day, and my gut feeling is going with UBC, 2-1.
University of British Columbia > Kennesaw State University - 2-1
Kennesaw State: Sceebo
This match-up between Georgia State University and York University could have easily been the semi-final or grand finals of this Winter Invitational tournament. It’s a shame that they’ll be playing each other so early. Regardless, I expect this to be a great match as it’s two teams with MDL and Advanced calibre players duking it out: Shakezullah, SwahN, ADIL against Skelly, denya, and tennLs. Both teams have shown that they’re not invincible. Georgia State has shown signs of weakness on dust2, especially with their close OT victory against Kennesaw State. York also hasn’t exactly had the most dominant fall semester especially with 16-10, 16-11, and 16-13 victories over St.Clair, University of Toronto, and Ryerson, which all went into double digits. The map vetoes may play a big factor in this series, but I’m expecting a three-map series with Georgia State taking it 2-1.
Georgia State University > York University - 2-1
Georgia State: Shakezullah
The match-up between Northeastern University and Michigan State University will be closer than people expect. Michigan State’s aaronsfury and aidan- have seasons of ESEA-Main experience under their belt, and the other Michigan State players have at least competed in ESEA-Open. On the side of Northeastern University, they’re a full ESEA-Intermediate team that finished 8-8 last season. While Michigan State may have the upper hand in certain players’ individual skill, I believe that the teamwork that Northeastern has will pull through for the victory.
Northeastern University > Michigan State University - 2-1
Michigan State: aaronsfury
Robert Morris University is the clear favourites in this match-up against University of Pittsburgh. RMU is the clear front-runner to win the Winter Invitational and even the entire league this year. As a full ESEA-Advanced team with a number of past MDL players, there are not many teams that can contend with them in this league. UPitt's only chance at a victory here are purely on the shoulders of magister-. If magister- can pull off a 40+ frag performance on each map against RMU, maybe then UPitt has a shot of winning. Otherwise, Robert Morris will take this convincingly, 2-0.
Robert Morris University > University of Pittsburgh - 2-0
Michigan State: magister-
University of California at Santa Cruz and George Mason University should be good match. UCSC has the upper hand in this match-up with their success last semester going undefeated while taking down teams like UCSD, UCR, and UCI. GMU has a few ESEA-Main/Intermediate players that could definitely give UCSC a run for their money if they’re not careful. Overall, as long as UCSC plays their game, they should be taking this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see GMU make one of the maps close.
University of California at Santa Cruz > George Mason University - 2-0
This match between University of Houston and Simon Fraser University has the potential to be really close. Four of the players on the Houston team played on an ESEA-Main team last season where they finished 7-9. With Houston’s only loss in the first semester against UTD, their wins against the other Texas teams (UT Austin, A&M) were actually quite convincing. SFU’s core three of yasa, JM, Norms can definitely pack a punch if Houston isn’t careful. Although SFU doesn’t practice very much together, I’m going to be optimistic and say that they can steal one map in this series if the map vetoes go their way. Overall, UH should win this 2-1.
University of Houston > Simon Fraser University 2-1
This match-up between University of Montreal and Ohio State University is a bit of a toss-up. The core of 3psilon, ^Sage, and HHqZz on Montreal has been together since the first CSL CSGO season, so they’ll definitely have that chemistry after playing together for so long. On the side of Ohio State University, they’ve competed in ESEA-Main for the past two seasons but have gone 6-10 each season. It doesn’t seem like they really strive to improve all that much, but they are at least playing the game competitively. Because of that, I’ll be predicting a 2-1 victory for Ohio State University.
Ohio State University > University of Montreal - 2-1
Ohio State: G4CShooter
Maryville University is definitely favoured in this match-up against Rutgers University. Maryville’s ttocSickk, -AM-, and -Cal- played in the last season of ESEA-Intermediate where their team finished 14-2 and went 4-1 in the playoffs. They definitely have the upper hand when it comes to individual skill and experience compared to Rutgers despite Rutgers having a few players who have played in ESEA-Open and Intermediate. They’ve been starting to practice together as a team, which will likely be their only chance at a victory here against Maryville. Although Rutgers had a good run during the fall semester, Maryville has the clear upper hand in this match. Maryville will take it, 2-0.
Maryville University > Rutgers University 2-0
This match between University of Colorado Boulder and North Carolina State University will be very one-sided. Boulder is a team composed of ESEA-Main and Intermediate players and they also captured 1st place at the Java Collegiate LAN tournament last September. Although a few of NC State’s players played some matches of ESEA-Intermediate last season, their results there were not notable. NC State will certainly have to hope that Boulder is off their game if they want to win. Boulder will take this 2-0.
University of Colorado Boulder > North Carolina State University 2-0
NC State: ScrappyGG