By Liam Morales
Fifth-seeded Arizona State University is set to take on the fourth-seeded Université du Québec a Trois-Riviéres in the Hero of the Dorm Tournament Thursday, at 8:15 PM (MST). The Hero of the Dorm tournament is a March Madness style tournament that is open to all college students who are not in the Heroes Global Championship.
ASU, whose team name is “#1 in Innovation,” advanced into the Round of 32 after defeating the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2-0, last Sunday.
#1 in Innovation hopes to repeat the success from 2015/16, when ASU’s “Real Dream Team” won the whole competition.
“We’d like to make it to the Final Four,” team captain Kyle Noble told Sports360AZ.com in a recent interview. “We have a few teams in our way that are going to be challenges but I think my team and myself will rise to the occasion.”
The winner tournament will walk away with up to $75,000 per player in college tuition.
Often overlooked, eSports have grown immensely as a collegiate activity and is set to generate upwards of a billion dollars in revenues by 2019.
— ASU eSports (@eSports_ASU) February 4, 2017
ESPN has featured competitions and has even launched a dedicated vertical to eSports on their website.
“The best analogy a gamer can give to a non-gamer who doesn’t understand how these team games work is it’s a combination of basketball and chess,” Noble said. “You need to have the teamwork, playmaking and the reaction time that basketball players have… We have to worry about the implications that one move can have on the entirety of the match.”
These student-athletes can spend an upward of 12 hours a day perfecting their craft while also juggling schoolwork and their social lives.
“On days I don’t have school I’d have about two to three hours of solo practice and when we are gearing up we have team practice anywhere from two to five hours a day,” Noble said. “So in total I can probably play up to about 12 hours a day, but it usually falls around four to five hours.”
With all that practice, ASU is striving to bring home the championship and prove that eSports… are more than a game.