The round of 8 is upon us, and it is time we look at the games to come. In the top half of the bracket, Stony Brook University faces University of Michigan, and University of Toronto faces University of Illinois at Chicago. Of the four teams, Illinois has the weakest record, yet their recent games have been very impressive. The bottom half of the bracket has UC Berkeley battling University of Wisconsin Madison, with the victor facing Roche-... I mean the winner between Ohio State University and Rochester Institute of Technology. Each of these teams has an impressive record across the season, but it’s pretty obvious that RIT is the favorite here.
Stony Brook vs Michigan will be a really tight series where the draft heavily influences the outcome. Most teams already put a lot of emphasis on the draft, but both SBU and Michigan have fantastic drafters. The only concern I have is that the teams don’t out-draft themselves. Toronto vs Illinois should be a really crazy series with lots of action in the early game, whichever team can snap up key supports early on in the draft will do well. Each series should be close and while we always hope for more games in a series, these teams should not disappoint.
Berkeley and Wisconsin each have flashy players, especially their offlaners. Unless either team have done specific research on each other, I expect the offlane to receive a lot of bans by both teams. Much like the Toronto vs Illinois series, Berkeley vs Wisconsin should have a lot of action early on as teams feel each other out. Ohio have a pretty daunting task to defeat the returning champs and only time will tell if they’re up to the task. That said, RIT have a history of getting cocky--as do all CSL teams really--so in a sense, RIT will be battling themselves as well as Ohio.