2012 College Cup Preview and Predictions

Eriq Zavaleta (2) tries to control the ball against a Northwestern defender - Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Here's some team previews and notes of Indiana's competition, with my predictions for the College Cup.

Maryland (20-1-2)

Nov. 13th NSCAA ranking: 2nd
Nov. 13th RPI: 3rd


Path to the College Cup:
Win vs Brown 2-1
Win vs Coastal Carolina 5-1
Win vs Louisville 3-1

Maryland spent a lot of time at the top of the rankings this season, and would argue that they should've had the tourney's top seed, but they enter as the top-rated seed in the College Cup, so it matters little now. They played only home games, but did face a seed #10 Louisville squad that tied the Hoosiers, and the Terps soundly beat the Cardinals 3-1. Without a couple of point-blank saves by the Lousville keeper, this could've been an outright blowout. They seem like a team on a mission, their offense is firing on all cylinders, and I would be very surprised if they are not in the Final game.

Results against foes that IU also played: T v. Penn State 2-2, W v. Louisville 3-0, W v. UNC 1-0 (OT), T v. Clemson 2-2 (2OT), W v. Clemson 2-1 (2OT), W v. Louisville 3-1

Statistical notes & per-game averages
Maryland leads the nation in goal-scoring per-game with a 2.61 average.
16 of their players have scored goals this year (IU has had 9 players score a goal).

Offense:
Goals scored per-game Average (GSA):2.61
Shots per game: 16.6
Shots on Goal (SOG) per game: 7.1
SOG % .427

Defense:
Goals Allowed Average (GAA): .96
Shots per game: 7.3
SOG per game: 2.9
SOG % .393

Georgetown (19-3-2)

Nov. 13th NSCAA ranking: 6th
Nov. 13th RPI: 4th


Path to the College Cup:
Win vs. Charlotte 1-0,

Tie vs. Syracuse 1-1, OT (advance on PKs)

Win vs. San Diego 3-1

The Hoyas faced no seeded teams on their way to their first final four. This is the best team in Georgetown history, and the players sound like they are happy just to be at the College Cup. And frankly, when facing a foe like Maryland, that's probably healthy. They should stay loose and feel good about their accomplishments even if they do get walloped by the Terps. I don't mean to demean the Hoyas, but they just don't look nearly as good as Maryland.

Results against foes that IU also played: L v. Notre Dame 2-3 (OT), L @ Notre Dame 3-0, W v. Penn State 2-1, T v. Wisconsin 1-1 (OT),

Statistical notes & per-game averages
Brandon Allen has scored 15 goals, and leads the nation with 10 of those being game-winners.

Offense:
GSA:1.62
Shots per game: 16.2
SOG per game: 6.4
SOG % .397

Defense:
GAA: .83
Shots per game: 11.7
SOG per game: 4.7
SOG % .401

Creighton (17-3-3)

Nov. 13th NSCAA ranking: 8th
Nov. 13th RPI: 11th


Path to the College Cup:
Win vs Washington 4-2
Tie @ #5 Akron 1-1 (advance on PKs)
Win @ #4 Connecticut 1-0

The Bluejays are a talented squad, no doubt. They spent much of the year in the top ten (although falling down for a while in the middle of the year). Creighton has two quality road wins in the tourney also, but have gotten by with a couple of very close calls. They played a man down for the final 19 minutes of overtime, and dodged a penalty kick early in the OT, and then won 5-4 on PKs over Akron. Creighton went at Connecticut pretty aggressively in the round of eight, keeping the Huskies without a shot for the 36 minutes of the first half, but Connecticut still outshot them for the game 13-10. The game looked like another OT match when the Bluejays struck with a mere 90 seconds remaining, with Christian Blandon heading in a cross from Jose Gomez to secure the College Cup berth. They are technically the favorites in Friday's game, as they are seeded #12 (vs IU's #16). They've got a hot keeper in Jeff Gal who is 13-0-1 in starts this season as well as a flair for late-game heroics, so IU will need play full-out from horn to horn to get past this squad.

Results against foes that IU also played: T v. Akron 1-1 (2OT), W @ Evansville 2-1, T v. SIU-Edwardsville 1-1 (2OT), L v. St. Louis 1-3, T v. Akron 1-1 (2OT)

Statistical notes & per-game averages

Timo Pitter is Jays' leading goal-scorer as a freshman, notching 10 goals so far.

Offense:
GSA:1.70
Shots per game: 15.7
SOG per game: 6.6
SOG % .421

Defense:
GAA: .67
Shots per game: 12.3
SOG per game: 5.0
SOG % .406

Predictions:
Soccer is notoriously hard to predict, and any team can get hot at the right or go ice-cold at the wrong time. All it takes is one bad bounce. That said, I do think that Maryland stands head and shoulders above the others statistically. Indiana would look to be a statistical longshot, but the good news is when you subtract the games where Bushue was injured, the Hoosiers only second to the Terrapins.

Game 1:
Georgetown comes out loose and scores the first goal, but Maryland has way too much offense for a team that is good, but not great defensively. There's not actually a lot to say here, for the Hoyas to advance, it would be a pretty big upset. I think Maryland takes this one easily in a bit of a shootout, 4-2.

Game 2:

Creighton will be a very interesting match-up for the Hoosiers. While the Hoosiers' most impressive wins have come in the tourney, Indiana played teams like St. Louis, SIUE, and Evansville much better than Creighton did this season. I'm always leary of facing a goalkeeper on a streak, but the Bluejays allow too many good looks for the Hoosiers not to score. Creighton's ability to come through in the clutch may catch the Hoosiers off-guard, and I do definitely foresee a tight match: Creighton could win, certainly. But I like Indiana in this one. I'm thinking the Hoosiers come out strong in the second half and get up 1-0, but Creighton rallies to send it into OT. That's where the Bluejays' magic ends, though, as these Hoosiers have just thrived in OT and will make Creighton pay early in the first overtime period. 2-1 IU (OT).

Championship game:
Historically, noone can shut down an offense like the Hoosiers. Maryland is going to find a much rougher go of making their offense click against the Indiana Hoosiers, and it'll take them some time to adapt. The Hoosiers have had a potent offense throughout the season, only being shut-out by Notre Dame and Akron, and the weather-affected San Diego State game. And looking at the tough times that Maryland had against Clemson and Penn State, I do have hope that Indiana may prove to be the better team. But Maryland is putting as many shots on goal as their opponents are getting in sum total, a hallmark of the dominant Jerry Yeagley teams. The Hoosiers will fight bravely, and have their chances at the end of this one, but ultimately I think Maryland prevails, 2-1.

That's the result that I think the numbers point towards. But don't doubt for a second that I will be rooting like mad for the Hoosiers to overcome the other teams at the Cup, and claim a national championship. Go Hoosiers!

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