The Ozark Conference Championship is just days away and the seedings for the tournament have yet to be announced. With that in mind, Ozark Ultimate is going to take a stab at what the seeding and the tournament could look like.
11-9. B-Teams. It is sad that the B-teams do not have a conference of their own. It would be very beneficial for them to play games where each opponent was more evenly matched. That being said, none of these teams are legendary – like Wisconsin-B in 2005 (29-17) – and they should be the bottom seeds going into the tournament.
8. Central Arkansas. Central Arkansas is for all purposes a new team this year. They won two games in their first tournament at Hendrix and notched four more in the Heart of Texas Huckfest. Central Arkansas has fielded a team before, but the last time UCA competed in the series was 2004, and it did not go well. While this team has barely anything in common with the 2004 team, they are still young, inexperienced, and this weekend will be an eyeopener.
7. Missouri State. The Bears started the season off right with a second place finish at Hendrix Ultimate Experience in a close championship game loss to Harding. They played respectably at a shortened Mardi Gras, but started to show issues at Chicago Invite. At Huck Finn the Bears had real problems on Saturday, beating only Wash U-B. Things started to click again on Sunday, but it does not look like this young team has quite figured out how to win tough games.
6. St. Louis. Loki is in much the same boat as Missouri State. They started off on a high note at Music City Tuneup, had trouble at Chicago, and started to figure things out at Huck Finn. St. Louis gets the nod over Missouri State since they beat Southern Illinois and lost by fewer points to Hendrix at Huck Finn.
5. Missouri. Missouri is an unusual team. They beat Arkansas to open their season, and put up quite a few points on Kansas and Kansas State. However, they severely hurt their chances by taking a small squad to Centex and winning just one game – against UCLA. At the Kentucky Classic last week, Missouri finished third, losing only to Indiana. The MUtants have the talent to go far, but they have only showed glimpses of that ability so far this season.
4. Oklahoma. The Apes of Wrath have one of the deepest teams in the conference, but their ability to use all of that talent successfully has been streaky. Oklahoma has had several close games this season – eleven out of twenty four games have been decided by three points or fewer – and some mid-season personnel adjustments seemed to have helped. The Apes are the dark horse of the conference and can beat any team at the tournament.
3. Kansas. Some teams look good on paper but do not play up to that ability on the field. This season, Kansas is one of those teams. The HorrorZontals have not had the best season in team history, but they always come prepared for the postseason. They earned this spot with wins over Missouri and Northwestern, and by splitting games with Illinois and Kansas State.
2. Washington University. “Consistently inconsistent” is a term that could describe Washington. At Huck Finn the Contrabears barely beat Harding, but then turned around and clobbered Ohio State. Contra has had a good season by winning the Midwest Throwdown and almost beating Wisconsin and Illinois. Unfortunately for them, Kansas State has put together a slightly better year.
1. Kansas State. The Huckstables have had a breakout season, utilizing a handful of stars and many athletic role players. This year, Kansas State won Big D in Little D, got second at the Free State Classic, and finished fourth at Centex. The Huckstables have a legitimate shot at Nationals but have to win the conference first. Several strong foes stand in their way, including Washington, who slides in just under Kansas State on the basis of point differential on head-to-head opponents.