The largest, and last, Ontario sectional will be played this weekend in the most important city in the world/universe: Toronto. Despite their perceived importance the south section will receive the same number of bids as the east section: four. Having by far the worst team to bid ratio the section features many strong teams that will have home turf advantage should they make it to Ontario Championships.
Read on to find out a bit more about each team as well as their chances of making Ontario Championships.
*the original article stated that Canadian Nationals were in Ottawa. They are in Montreal in 2018, they were in Ottawa in 2017.
**the original article contained a bad joke that contained confusing wording. Further details available in this post.
The others sectionals have played over two days and the South Sectionals are no different. Both Saturday and Sunday starts will be at 0750 and will end at 1155. The early starts are likely to disadvantage teams traveling from out of town requiring earlier wake up times.
Due to the odd number of teams the round robin is organized into three pools of 3 and a fourth pool with 4 teams. The round robin structure differs from other sectionals where all teams were organized into one large pool which eliminated the need to seed teams. Also different is that teams will enter playoffs with everything still on the line. Theoretically a team could win their pool and still not make it to Ontario Championships. However, if the top teams in each pool win their first playoff game on Saturday they will have a bid to OC.
- G’s Pot – Toronto
- Tetraphobia – Toronto/Hamilton
- Trent Steele – Toronto
- YUM – Bowmanville
- SGS – Toronto
- TBA – GTA
- Stranger Things – Toronto
- Force – Barrie
- Tupperware Party – Toronto
- Bubbles – Toronto
- TO4O – Toronto
- Flicksie Chicks – Toronto
- MONSTERS – Toronto
Due to the large number of teams, and small number of bids, I have chosen to focus on general expectations for the tournament rather than the path to success for each team.
G’s Pot (1) is the superstar team that one would expect to come out of Toronto. With many TC players and CUC gold medalists this is the team that is a favorite not only to win the region but is already amongst the favorites at C4UC in Montreal (original article said Ottawa, thanks to GStar for pointing this out). There may be an outside challenge from one of other top 4 teams but they should have an easy time making Regionals, if they can make it to the games in the morning.
Tetraphobia (2) were underestimated in 2017 but this time around they start near the top. Featuring veteran players this team is known of making quick runs, grinding out the late game, and good spirit (they finished first in spirit at O4UC 2017). Part of the allure of this team is their brashness, drive to win, and sometimes sloppy play. All of this means that they should make it through the top 4 even when they are behind in a critical game.
Trente Steele (3) boasts over two centuries of combined touring experience which is impressive considering that some of their players played in Junior division at CUC 2017. Their speed and experience should hold them through the top four. The only issue they face is that imbalance in their lines.
YUM (4) has the longest journey into Toronto and the biggest target being in the fourth seed. A mix of experiences place this team firmly in fourth without much opportunity to move up. They will be challenged in their pool and then immediately into playoffs making their path, and for those in their pool, to O4UC the toughest out of anybody.
Outside of the top 4 the bracket goes through many twists and turns where they battle each other to get to the game to go. For most it may be reasonable to avoid playing the top 4 teams on Sunday morning by focusing on other teams seeded in the mid-tier. That is where the most drama is likely to occur where teams may chose to sandbag their last game of Saturday in order to setup a favorable set of early morning games on Sunday.
At this time, the reality is that there are 6 teams battling for the last bid with Yum (4) the favorite to take it.
Now, with the dark horse pick: Force (8). Consistently within a couple of points at O4UC 2016, this team grinds and never gives up. While they have been relatively winless their ability to stay close gives them a good chance to make the game to go. Their path would start with finishing second in pool A which needs a win against Tupperware Party (9); they would lose to G’s Pot (1) in that pool. They then have to determine their path in the playoffs but they have the best path. Now, should they be upset in pool play then still have a path but would need to win all of their games in the bracket. The latter may actually be a better route by giving them easier games in the morning leading up to the game to go.
And…with the size of the tournament I have a second dark horse pick: TBA (6). They’re high up in the rankings and already within distance of the 4th seed (correction, previously this stated 6th seed). Hard working but with experience in winning those clutch games they have a better opportunity than Force. Their path is similar and at some point Force and TBA will meet in an elimination matchup.
For teams outside of the top 8, and those used to partying at tournaments, this will be a difficult tournament. Sectionals and Regionals have the harsh reality of ending a season that feels full of promise. They also offer the opportunity to understand limitations and start working on them prior to tryouts for the summer. Those tryouts, by the way, are two months away.
Predictions for top 5 teams (capture bid to O4UC):
- G’s Pot (1)
- Trent Steele (3) – because I like to see Tetraphobia play with a chip on their shoulder
- Tetraphobia (2)
- TBA (6)
- YUM (4)
Good luck to all teams this weekend and I sincerely hope you receive more bids next year.
Also published on Medium.