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StarCraft II Preview: Group Stage 2

Regional groups begone! With the New Year behind us, we face reshuffled groups based on performance in the first group stage. This means we’ll be seeing new matchups, new maps, and hopefully new rivalries. The top four from each new group will make it to the playoffs and it’s anyone’s game! Just kidding, it’s still all about University of California, Berkeley, Temple University, and Universite de Montreal. You can find the new groups here and information about maps and playoffs is found here. Read on for a preview of the upcoming season and my predictions about who will come out on top (and please forgive my jumbled Star Wars references).

Group 4 – A New (Canadian) Hope

This group will likely be led by Universite de Montreal and University of Connecticut. Both of these teams did well in the first stage, but the Alex ‘Semper’ Dimitriu-led Montreal team will likely outclass Connecticut’s finest. Fighting for third and fourth will be Southern Illinois University: Carbondale and University of California, San Diego. The rest of the teams in this division probably won’t qualify for playoffs. The only caveat here is I think there’s a very real possibility that SIU: Carbondale will be knocked out of the top four. After all, it  would be wrong of me to suddenly go back on all of my Midwest bashing.

My prediction:
1. Universite de Montreal
2. University of Connecticut
3. University of California, San Diego
4. Southern Illinois University: Carbondale

Group 3 – The Raze Awakens

Jay ‘Raze’ Whipple’s Temple University team is my favorite in this group. However, they will have a harder time getting through this stage undefeated; University of Caifornia, Irvine will likely put up a good fight. Nick ‘Pokebunny’ Taber will most likely be able to bring Rochester Institute of Technology to the playoffs (but not much farther). Once again, I have to disrespect the Midwestern team in this division because I really think they played in the weakest group in the first stage. As such, I think they will qualify for playoffs last in this division, if at all.

My prediction:
1. Temple University
2. University of California, Irvine
3. Rochester Institute of Technology
4. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Group 2 – The Midwest Strikes Back

I had a hard time coming up with a prediction for this group, mostly because it features the top Midwestern team, University of Chicago. This undefeated team will put to the test my theory that the Midwest group was full of scrubs. To complicate things further, Jarod ‘JonSnow’ George’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and University of Washington are both in this group as well. I feel less confident about the order of my predictions here, but I definitely expect these four teams to make it to the playoffs.

My prediction:
1. University of Chicago
2. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
3. University of Washington
4. University of Florida

Group 1 – Return of the Berkeley

Finally, we move to Group Berkeley. Close behind University of California, Berkeley will be University of Waterloo, a team that managed to take second place in the stacked North division during the first group stage. While, these two seem like certain picks to make the playoffs, the rest of this group is fairly weak. Is this the Midwest-type scrub group of the second group stage!? No, of course not because Berkeley and Waterloo are in it. George Washington University and Michigan State University seem likely to take the second two playoff spots due to their previous records, but that’s shaky foundation for a prediction.

My prediction:
1. University of California, Berkeley
2. University of Waterloo
3. George Washington University
4. Michigan State University

If I know anything about North American collegiate StarCraft II, the round of sixteen will look something like the teams I’ve listed above. Also, not to brag, but my predictions for the last stage were nearly perfect. That said, let me know if you think any of my predictions are off in the comments (or on Twitter).

Once matches get going the weekend of January 14th, be sure to tune in to Twitch on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm PT/10pm ET for exciting Collegiate StarLeague StarCraft II action!

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