But I'm trying to catch up and the first part is that the draw is out! I'll have an excel file out shortly, but the quadrants are as follows (21st century teams in red):
- Kyushu Gakuin (Kumamoto) vs. Hachinohe Kousei Gakuin (Aomori)
- Osaka Touin (Osaka) vs. Toukaidai Sugao (Tokyo)
- Jyousou Gakuin (Ibaraki) vs. Yonago Kita (Tottori)
- Imabari Nishi (Ehime) vs. Touin (Wakayama)
- Ritsumeikan Uji (Kyoto) vs. Shizuoka (Shizuoka)
- Kisaradzu Sougou (Chiba) vs. Okayama Ridai Fuzoku (Okayama)
- Naradai Fuzoku (Nara) vs. Tsuruga Kehi (Fukui)
- Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi) vs. Kamimura Gakuen (Kagoshima)
- Urawa Gakuin (Saitama) vs. Ryuukokudai Heian (Kyoto)
- Eimei (Kagawa) vs. Oomagari Kougyou (Akita)
- Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou (Gifu) vs. Matsushou Gakuen (Nagano)
- Oumi (Shiga) vs. Kyushu Sangyoudai Kyushu (Fukuoka)
- Itoman (Okinawa) vs. Tenri (Nara)
- Ube Koujyou (Yamaguchi) vs. Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)
- Nishogakushadai Fuzoku (Tokyo) vs. Matsuyama Higashi (Ehime)
- Toukai Dai-yon (Hokkaido) vs. Toyohashi Kougyou (Aichi)
I'll talk about each team's chances in their review page (which I hope to catch up on today), but it feels mostly balanced with the exception perhaps of the area in blue. Tsuruga Kehi and Sendai Ikuei facing off in a probably 2nd round matchup is a must-see game. Probably a bit too early for most people's liking, but just fine for me.
Osaka Touin may have finished low in the super-regional, but I think they got a soft draw. I really do hope karma bites them in the ass for what happened last summer. If I didn't like them before, I despise them as much, if not more than Nichidai-san now.
Urawa Gakuin, gets a favorable draw as well. Heian might be their biggest competition in the bracket and they face them first-up. There's a rust factor that might come into play, but if they get past that, it could be open sails.
The more balanced bracket is the last one, with a potential semifinalist in each of the opening games - the only exception being the last one (sorry Toukai Dai-yon, I like you, but you're not good enough). Tenri gets no favors opening the tournament with Itoman, then a potential 2nd up with Kendai Takasaki who always plays up to the competition. Nishogakushadai Fuzoku can't be ignored either, and they have perhaps the softest first 2 games to enter the tournament - by which time they perhaps have warmed themselves up and/or rest their players for the stretch run.