Well folks, it is that time of the year again. Each region has produced a handful of valiant competitors after a grueling regular season to compete for a Regional Title, and more importantly, a guaranteed spot in the National Championship bracket this upcoming May. This week, we preview four of the most intriguing matches across the regions to see who will ascend to victory, and who will stumble along the way.
NORTH: #2 UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA vs. #7 KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
University of Manitoba
- Run it down bot lane. On Ward Up, Manitoba was singled out by host and guests alike as a question mark heading into the playoffs, despite being the 2 seed in the North. However, Manitoba ADC Hartwig has been putting up ridiculous numbers throughout the season. The most impressive is % of team damage per game, where Hartwig hovers around an average of 33%. If Hartwig can avoid careless deaths and/or survive a massive camp from KSU, Manitoba has an easy route to victory through the bot lane.
Kansas State University
- Open up other lanes to carry. KSU is eerily similar to Manitoba in playing through their ADC, Dem Boyz. Where Manitoba has the upper hand though is being able to carry through their mid lane and jungle if bot lane goes astray. KSU has not shown this ability much throughout the season, so if Dem Boyz falls behind early, it may spell trouble for the Wildcats.
SOUTH: #4 NORTH CAROLINA STATE vs. #5 GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
North Carolina State
- Continue playing in the Shadows. NCSU mid laner, ShadowVisions, has proven himself to be one of the best mid laners in the South Region yet again. In Week 4, Shadow posted a 12/4/20 KDA in the series against GMU. If Shadow can continue his lane dominance against his counterpart, NCSU will be sitting pretty.
George Mason University
- Keep riding the momentum wave. After being swept by NCSU in Week 4, George Mason went on a tear in weeks 5 and 6, dominating in all four games played. In these games, GMU has demonstrated the ability to carry across all three lanes, decisive team fighting, and strong pick/ban phases. If able to keep up these strong points going into this series, history just might be changed.
WEST: #3 UC SAN DIEGO vs. #6 UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
UC San Diego
- Unleash the two-lane terror on the Utes. In every series so far, even in a loss to Simon Fraser (West #1), UCSD’s ADC, Evexus, and mid laner, Pransie, always win or go even. Having priority in the majority of the lanes has helped UCSD push ahead of tough competition like UC Berkeley and Arizona State. UCSD can make it 3-0 against Pac-12 conference schools this weekend if they continue to take advantage of their strengths.
University of Utah
- Trust in the process and infrastructure. Having already made their inaugural varsity season a success by making playoffs, the Utes need to keep trusting in their system. The road to these quarterfinals has not been easy at all, as the red and white were humbled by British Columbia in Week 4. Even now, Utah is still viewed as a heavy underdog in the West. Despite this, Utah still has major support from their program, administration, coaches, and players. You can believe that being an underdog does not faze them at all, so prepare for a lot of fight this weekend.
EAST: #4 UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO vs. #5 NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
University of Toronto
- Dominate the objective game. A common factor amongst the top-tier teams in the East is the ability to control objectives really well. Toronto might not have the strong teamfight style they did last year, but this new group has found victory in their ability to control the macro-game. Toronto will need to stay true to this tactic against a bloodthirsty NYU team in order to ensure victory.
New York University
- Stay true to personal preferences. A unique aspect about NYU is their ability to play a very controlled chaotic style to win games. NYU doesn’t put as much focus on objectives as they do on skirmishes and quick teamfights, building advantages off of death timers instead of rotations. If NYU can set the tempo to their own pace, Toronto can be thrown off of their controlled macro-game and slip up quite easily.
Be sure to follow Collegiate Starleague on Twitter, Facebook, and Twitch to keep up with which matches will be casted live, how the playoffs are going, and more collegiate content! Let us know who you think will come out on top in each of the regions!
George Crook is a Junior Interdisciplinary Studies major at Mississippi State University, with concentrations in Sports Studies and Public Relations. Alongside being a Staff Writer for the Collegiate Starleague, he also works as a Marketing Intern within the university’s Athletic Department. You can find him on Twitter @gcrook__.
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