The Heroes of the Dorm tournament is down to the final 16, and any team entertaining thoughts of a National Championship will have to turn up the intensity and put their best on display in this weekend’s games. All 16 matches in the Round of 32 were 2-0 sweeps except for one (UC Irvine knocked off Penn 2-1), and that should be proof enough that these teams are hitting their stride. The pre-tournament nerves are gone, competition days are on a regular rhythm, and the Heroic Four is in sight.
UCONN and UT-Arlington, two of last year’s Heroic Four teams, seem to be proving the value of experience in this tournament. Combined, these teams have put up a 42-2 overall game record and are undefeated in 21 matches in Heroes of the Dorm 2017. That kind of dominance goes way beyond talent and speaks to the comfort level of each roster. Having earned the trip to Seattle last year for the Heroic Four, these teams, along with Arizona State (17-2 in games in 2017) and Tennessee (a relatively pedestrian 16-4 in games in 2017), know the path to national semifinals and, even with different rosters, appear to have a significant advantage.
All four 2016 semifinalists surviving this long is good news for their fans, but there are plenty of other teams in action this weekend that are looking to begin legacies of their own. UC Irvine faces Arizona State in what will be one of the higher-profile battles in the Round of 16 as the Southern California school puts their 11-1 match record, and the university’s collegiate esports reputation, on the line against the school that produced last year’s champions.
The Université Laval has done Canada proud, and has one of the lower average game times in the tournament. Taking care of business quickly and efficiently has put Laval into a Round of 16 matchup against UT-Dallas with a potential meeting against UT-Arlington on the line.
The Round of 16 matches get underway on Saturday March 25, and by Sunday evening we’ll know the Heroic Four that will be heading to Las Vegas for a shot at the National Championship and tuition for the remainder of their college careers.