WUGC starts today so now is the last chance to make predictions. Ravi Vasudevan has filled out a bracket for the Men’s, Women’s and Mixed divisions and is going to talk us through each division briefly. Here is his Women’s bracket.
In the Women’s division, there are no power pool rounds. You just have to get top three in your pool to move directly to brackets. Pool winners move to quarters with a crossover for seeding, while the second and third of each pool have to play a prequarter to get in.
I choose all pool winners to go to seed here. I think the top four will assert themselves with the only closest contested game being Canada vs Germany in pool C. In pool A, I think that after Japan, things can get really interesting between Belgium, Sweden and New Zealand. I know very little about Mexico and Hong Kong so they could make a jump as well, but I expect that it will be a tight three-way race for second and third between Belgium, Sweden and New Zealand. Pool C is a really tough pool with at least one European powerhouse between Switzerland, Germany and GB not making bracket play. GB had a weak showing at Windmill a couple of weeks ago and I expect Germany to roll through the competition. However, expect a really tough match between GB and Switzerland. Pool D will be brutal as well. Colombia and Australia will be battling for the top two spots to try and secure a spot in quarters while Russia and Italy will fight for the third spot. I pick Colombia to win the pool and Russia to take third but all four of those teams have a shot to take any spot in this pool. Russia were silver medalists in WCBU 2015 and Windmill 2015. I haven’t seen much of them from 2016 but I imagine they will come out firing but will probably be a bit weak for the top two.
On to bracket play where I expect to see a rematch of the 2012 WUGC final between Japan and USA. I do think the Japanese women have the best shot at taking a gold medal from the USA as they have done in 2012 and at U23s last year. However, this American team is incredibly talent-heavy so I have to predict them to take gold as well. In the rest of the bracket, I think the most interesting matchup would be that quarter-final between Colombia and Germany. Germany have looked incredibly strong this year and I think they can push themselves to semi-finals, but I expect that quarter to be close and intense. I am not sure the Germans quite have enough firepower to contend with the Japanese in the semi, but we have yet to see their ceiling this year as they have been tearing through European teams during preparation tournaments with ease.