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2019 Regionals Analysis Week 2 Empty 2019 Regionals Analysis Week 2

Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:11 pm
Please share your own thoughts below. This is intended to start a discussion, if you have seen a team and you think we are over or under valuing them let us know! Good luck with regionals! If you aren't on here, then prove us wrong! If you made our list, then prove us right! - MockAnalysisIsMyDrug

To all those who have been reaching out to us here and on MTC asking for this post, thank you for your support, and we are sorry it took so long (we all had finals)!

Chapel Hill: “The wolf in sheep’s clothing” (MAIMD Rank 17/28)
(5 in top 100, 6 in top 200)

First in:
American A
Washington and Lee A
Georgetown A

Washington & Lee B
Duke C
Wake Forest A
Florida E

Initial thoughts:
This is one of the regions that doesn’t really have a top dog. There are no teams here who made nationals in 2018. Instead, at the top of the field we have a lot of teams who just fell short including the A teams from: American, Washington and Lee, Georgetown, GW, and UNC. This makes it a scary regional for all of those teams in that all 5 should probably make ORCS but any of them could take ballots off of each other and so they have a lot of teams to avoid. Joining these 5 are the B teams from GW and Washington and Lee and we are already at 7. The problem is that we also have Duke C, Georgetown C, and Florida E, and those programs have all been known to get lower teams to ORCS as well, and they are likely to be making waves in this middle heavy regional. Teams like Liberty and Davidson are probably very frustrated as up and coming programs who have had decent showings at regionals in past years that were probably hoping this was the year they would break through. If we had to bet on a single program to get two teams through this region, it would be GW. GW has had some very very strong invitational performances this year including a first place finish in Yale’s B division, as well as 5th at Black Squirrel, 6th at Charm City Classic, 4th at Colonial Classic, 6th at Habeas Hippopotamus, and 3rd at Toro. Showing up so consistently in the top 7 at these invitationals makes us believe that GW should have no problem continuing the trend with a regional field that is likely weaker than the fields at the tournaments they have been attending this Fall. But frankly, these middle heavy regionals are so difficult to predict, so who really knows.

Team to Watch:
Wake Forest. Wake Forest was a team that nobody was paying much attention to, but now under the guidance of Dani Kunkel, and with several strong invitational showings, they are looking quite formidable. While they may have their work cut out for them this year, they are certainly a team to be on the lookout for as they will have their year soon. In a middle heavey field, they may play closer to their competition than they would in a field where they had an absolute top team to contend with. On the other hand there are a lot more teams that could pull ballots off of them. Who know, maybe this is their year.

Columbus: “the lone wolf dies, but the (middle of the) pack survives” (MAIMD Rank: 7/28)
(4 in top 100, 8 in top 200)

First In:
Patrick Henry A
Penn State A
Pittsburgh A

Ohio State B
Patrick Henry B
Illinois-Chicago A
Ohio State C
Penn State B

Initial Thoughts:
As with chapel hill, there is no top echelon power team in this region. Both Patrick Henry A and Penn State A have been to Nationals in the past three years - Penn State in 2017 and Patrick Henry in 2016 & 2018. Penn State has bookended their Nats appearance with two strong showings at ORCS, while Patrick Henry stormed through the AMTA season last year, going 15-1 through Regionals and ORCS before an Honorable Mention at Nationals with two All-Americans (both of whom are returning this year).

But the lack of a truly top tier power is made up for by the middle of the pack of this region. Pittsburgh A has shown well at ORCS each of the past three years - never finishing with less than 4 ballots. Ohio State B will be an enigma too. Last year at the Hamilton ORCS, OSU B was the team that secured the Buckeyes’ only bid to Nationals, instead of OSU A. Last year’s A team only graduated one member, All-American Eric Roytman, and the core of the rest of that A team has been together for most of the year. So we’ll be interested to see how much of this B team has returned and if they can continue their success in the AMTA season. And the rest of this field is chock-full of depth teams from quality programs that can all qualify through given a couple lucky breaks.

Team to Watch:
Patrick Henry A: Traveling all the way from Virginia, Patrick Henry College is looking to build on their return to national prominence from the 2017-18 season. Losing star seniors Shane Roberts and Brenna Bakke will be a tough task to overcome, but they have All-American competitors returning like Cooper Millhouse and Christopher Baldacci who can provide a strong foundation to build on for their competition this year. Patrick Henry went 8-0 at Regionals last year (including a +8 +4 sweep of UVA A) and will undoubtedly be hungry to continue that undefeated streak.

Jackson: “The smorgasbord” (MAIMD Rank: 17/28)
(4 in top 100, 7 in top 200)

First In:
Georgia Tech A
Florida State A
Georgia State A

Millsaps A
Georgia Tech B
Auburn A
Samford A
Georgia C

Initial Thoughts:
There is no single way to classify this region. It has a current top tier power in perennial nationals contender Georgia Tech A. It has the ghost of national champions past in Florida State A. It has an upstart young program who broke to Nationals after not making ORCS for a while in Georgia State A, led by Claudia Cornelison. And even beyond those three, there are programs still looking to get their breaks to the next levels of AMTA competition like Samford and Auburn as well as depth teams from upper tier programs like Georgia Tech B and Georgia C & D.

It’s genuinely very difficult to predict which of the Bubble teams will break from this region. Millsaps seems like the most likely, but outside of that there are really no obvious candidates to earn a bid. We’ll be very curious to see if Georgia’s historic depth is still present, and to learn which new programs will break to ORCS in this region that definitely has some bids up for grabs.

Team to Watch:
Georgia Tech B: Going 3-4-1 at ORCS last year, GT B was a team that didn’t qualify for Nationals in Minneapolis. But the next step for this program on the rise is to get two teams to Philadelphia, and this team has the talent to get there. With strong players like Pranav Gandham (who awarded at GAMTI last year), Katie Burdette (who was on the GT A team that placed top 10 at Nationals in Minneapolis), and Edouard Goguillon, this team is battle-tested and ready to take this region by storm. With a couple exceptions (like Yale, Rhodes, and UVA), it’s really easy to lose sight of the B teams from the top tier programs. Georgia Tech B is out to prove that’s a mistake.

Lawrence: “Midwest Mayhem” (MAIMD Rank: 12/28)
(5 in top 100, 7 in top 200)

First in:
Northwestern A
Kansas A
Illinois A

Northwestern B
Illinois B
Drake A
Central Missouri
Truman State A

Initial thoughts:
A region where both of the Nationals returners come from the same school, the power in this region is found in Evanston, Illinois with the Northwestern Wildcats. NU stormed back in a big way last year after a disappointing 2017 finish, qualifying both teams to Nationals where they earned a top-10 finish and 3 All-Americans. Two of those All-Americans - Nick Anderson and Michael Zhou - are back this year. They did lose two of their three A team captains (Joy Holden and Katherine Cusick) and the difficulty of making up for that has been shown with some performances at top invitationals that aren’t quite up to their standards, finishing 3-5 at Haverford’s Black Squirrel and 4-4 at Yale Invite. But they’ve returned over half of their A team from last year and have some strong new recruits, so we think Northwestern will soar through this region.

The rest of this region is made up of a bunch of teams with a TPR rank but not a ton of big names. A decade ago, the Kansas Jayhawks were a true national power, and they still expect a lot of success (qualified for Nats in 2016 & 2017) but are definitely going to be eager to come back from not qualifying out of Wilmington ORCS last year. The only other team who has been to NCT recently is Illinois, who didn’t perform very well in Los Angeles. There are several other consistently mid-level ORCS teams here as well in Central Missouri and Truman State. As far as we can tell, all of Kansas, Central Missouri, and Truman State only have appeared on one tab summary so far this year, so it’s somewhat difficult to evaluate what their current strength is like. Most of this field will be wide open for almost anyone to take a bid.

Team to Watch:
Northwestern B: One of the more surprising teams to qualify to Nationals last year, was Northwestern B. Northwestern was one of the few programs that had two teams appear in MSP. The B team didn’t do very well, finishing 2-10 and last place in the Minneapolis division. But there were bright spots to come out of the tournament as well, like the ballot that this team took off of UVA A, the team that would eventually place second in the division. The tough part about evaluating B teams from a previous year is that you never know how many of their players will be moved to the A team for the next year. But Northwestern had 16 competitors at Nationals last year, and only graduated 5, so it’s definitely possible that this B team has some experienced veterans on it that can help push for a bid out of this region.

New Haven: “Redemption” (MAIMD Rank: 5/28)
(3 in top 100, 7 in top 200)

First in:
Yale A
Brown A
Boston University A

Yale C
Vermont A
Bowdoin A
UMass Lowell A

Initial thoughts:
This regional looks an awful lot like it does every year. It features Yale A and Yale C of course as hosts and traditionally both Yale teams will make it out (last year the team that made the national final was half made up of people who has been on C as of regionals). Joining Yale as usual at the top of the field are a couple of Boston University teams. BU have come close to making Nationals the last couple years but have just missed and have had a solid season this year with a 4-4 finish at Tufts and a 5.5-2.5 finish at Yale. It is unclear yet whether they will have the power to make it through ORCS but they seem set for a good regional run. AMTA seems to save the last spot in the top of this field every year for a team that has made nationals in the past but has had an erratic season. This year that’s Brown who have managed records everywhere from 5-3 to 1-7 at various tournaments and whose success doesn't seem to correlate with the strength of the tournament they are at.

In the middle of the field we have a number of teams who have had patchy success out of the Northeast regionals in the past few years including MIT, Vermont, Bowdoin, and UMass Lowell. Most of these teams are being pushed into this field by the transition of the Boston Regional to an ORCS which has forced the Northeast south this year. And of course balancing out the top of the field there is the perennial collection of unranked teams that always end up at New Haven. This is a very large regional (Yale, after all, can host a 50 team Invite so they can hardly complain when AMTA sends them a large field) so there are a lot of unranked teams, which may stop the top teams from playing each other in the early rounds and create some randomness in the placements early on.

Team to Watch:
MIT. Is a very young program. They started just three years ago when the current seniors were freshmen, and they have already made it to ORCS twice. Some of this may be the result of some good coaching. They have had a string of former competitors from other top programs helping them out in their early years. Some of it is that these competitors are just smart and creative. They process the case well and come up with case theories that make sense, but can sometimes be a little too brainy. This season they have had mixed records. At easier tournaments they have done very well, placing 3rd at Brandeis’s tournament and 2nd and the University of New Haven. But they struggled when the hit the ORCS/Nats level field at Rutgers and Tufts where they went 3-5 and 1-7 respectively. What this means is that MIT has a very good shot as long as they stay in the large bottom pool from this Regional (very possible), but they have to hope they don’t hit more than one of the top teams.

New Rochelle - “Different region, same outcome ” (MAIMD rank: 6/28)
(3 in top 100, 8 in top 200)

First in:
Tufts A
Harvard A
Wesleyan A

Brown B
Wellesley A
Harvard B
Holy Cross A

Initial Thoughts:
Starting at the top, we think there’s no reason that Tufts A, Harvard A, and Wesleyan A shouldn’t qualify out of this region, unless one of them has the extreme misfortune of hitting the other two. All three are fairly historically strong teams (Harvard the most) who haven’t performed at the top level recently and have had meh invitational performances, but each also brings some top performers to the table (Katherine Milano & Will Porter for Tufts, Maria Mendoza and Christian Navarette for Harvard, and Heather Pincus for Wesleyan). We still expect these three established powers to soar through this region with ease.

For the teams on the bubble, it becomes more difficult to predict. As always with Regionals and ORCS, a good schedule can make a huge difference in a team’s chances of qualifying to the next round. So we think that everyone on the bubble should be able to make it out as long as they don’t get screwed by the schedule. Wellesley usually gets out of Regionals but has had some luck with avoiding the bigger powers in recent years which may or may not hold. Brown has never really struggled with getting out of Regionals either. Holy Cross performed really well at Regionals last year. And Harvard B is probably the biggest wild card on the bubble. We think their case theories and program talent will carry them through, but it could very easily go the other way.

Team to Watch:
Harvard B: Harvard’s B team went to Yale post-stacking and had some mixed results. On the good side, they swept Georgia State and split with Rochester A, both of whom were at Nationals last year. On the not so good side, they also split with Haverford’s B team. The performances against the Nationals level opponents are encouraging for Harvard’s chances to secure two bids out of this region. But one of Harvard’s biggest problems recently, ever since the graduation of Jordan Alston-Harmon, has been the lack of sheer star power. A lot of A teams can make up for that with a team full of solid players, but one of the places where that lack of superstars can show up the most is in a B team because of the lack of raw talent to carry the less experienced members that tend to make up B teams. We’re interested to see if that shows up here.

Tempe - “The California Takeover ” (MAIMD rank: 6/28)
(4 in top 100, 6 in top 200)

First in:
Pomona A
UC Irvine B

UC Riverside A
UC San Diego B
UC Irvine C
Arizona C

Initial Thoughts:
This tournament is led by the perennially strong UCLA who are bringing their A and C teams (the strongest combo of UCLA teams at any regional). This team has fairly consistently landed in the top ten in the last decade and doesn’t seem poised to stop anytime soon. They also have an alarming depth of program making their C team almost as frightening for an unranked program to hit as their A or B team. Following UCLA we have USC and UC Irvine B both of which have been on and off about making nationals in recent years. Irvine in particular is attempting to regain lost glory from their Bernstein years and has had success with both their A and B teams. We are confident that both will do well at this region. Pomona doesn’t have the same Nationals track record as the others but has a strong record of making and doing well at ORCS so we are fairly confident in them too.

In the Bubble we have the usual alphabet soup of California schools with USC B, UCLA C, UCR A, UCI C, and UCSD B (let’s hope the AMTA reps write full names rather than acronyms on the tab cards or this will get very confusing). Our lone non-California school on the bubble will be Arizona C. So far all of our bubble teams have done well at fall invitationals. Clearly it’s a little hard to tell with many teams unstacked but these programs have had good showings at UCSD, Irvine, and Gunslinger. Because there is a shortage of West coast tournaments, many of them have also been to the same tournament and faced each other so it will be interesting so see some rematches (particularly if we get a UCLA/USC matchup since these inter-city rivals managed to get a double tied ballot round at UCSD).

Team to Watch:
Pomona has been on the cusp of winning a Nationals bid for far too long. 3 of the last 4 years have ended with 4 or 4.5 wins at the ORCS level and all 4 years ended with an empty handed weekend. Just before this stagnation however, Pomona was a force in the West during the 2014 season. In fact, not only did they place at ORCS, they won ORCS, and even went on to receive honorable mention at Nationals. This year, Pomona has steadily progressed as the invite season went on. Though beginning with a 3-5 showing at UCSD, and 2 teams going 5-3 and 3-5 at AAMTI, their more recent showings resulted in 2 teams going 3-1 at UCI and a final 6-2 showing at Cowtown Classic. To top it all off, they’ll have competitors like Hannah State, Rachel Marandett, and Grace Campos, to draw from who all got perfect ranks this Fall. If Pomona manages to keep up this pace, UCI won’t be the only west coast school making a return to former glory.

Williamsburg: “The Bubble Bowl” (MAIMD Rank 2/28)
(4 in top 100, 7 in top 200)

First in:

Delaware A
Johns Hopkins A
Richmond B
Rutgers B
William & Mary B
Georgetown B
Penn A

Initial thoughts:
This is a buzz-saw regional if there ever was one. Over the past two years, this region has had a total of three Nats appearances. All three of those appearances belong to UVA. Like Lawrence, this region’s only Nats returners both come from the same school. The fourth highest ranked team in this region, Johns Hopkins A, played UVA B (that didn’t qualify out of ORCS) at Regionals last year and went a combined -49 on two ballots! We fully expect UVA to run away with two bids from this region - although UVA A is probably happy to see Patrick Henry A move into a different region and feeding into a different ORCS after getting swept last year at Regionals.

As a result of the restricted first in group, the bubble at this regional is huge. There are a bunch of teams in different spots on their trajectory. Johns Hopkins qualified last year but has graduated great players like Ayesha Durrani and will be hard-pressed to make up for those top performers. Delaware used to be a top-10 Nationals power, but in recent years has fallen off, and last year didn’t qualify out of Regionals. Richmond B earned a bid out of Regionals last year and just added former 2x Gladiator finalist Meghna Melkote - but after the graduations of program stalwarts like Trial by Combat competitor Dylan McAuley and his TBC coach Jabari Lucas, they may have lost some depth. Penn A is a team that didn’t qualify last year but had made it to ORCS two years in a row before that, and we have it on good authority that they’ll be hungry to get back. The B teams from William & Mary, Georgetown, and Rutgers are all in programs that expect to make it at least to ORCS each year, so the depth of those programs will be on display as well. Georgetown B specifically has qualified to ORCS the past two years and we think they probably will again.

Team to Watch:
Delaware: Not too recently, the Blue Hens of Delaware were making consistent appearances in the Nationals field and fielding All-Americans like Ellie Wallace. But over the past 3 years, their appearances have become consistently less and less dominant. With the graduation of strong competitors like Sarah Fritz, it will be a tall task, although they still have players like Marissa Onesi around. We’re eager to see if Delaware can stem the tide and return to the mountaintop of AMTA.

Ypsilanti: “Lets God West” (MAIMD Rank 6/28)
(3 in top 100, 7 in top 200)

First in:
Michigan A
Rochester A
Hillsdale A

Michigan State A
Case Western A
Michigan C
Rochester B
Eastern Michigan A
Northwestern C

Initial Thoughts:
The top dog at this regional is clearly Michigan A. They have recently lost a number of top competitors, but they have still has solid performances at good invitationals like Black Squirrel and placements at invitationals just below our “Top Tournament” line like Illini and Case Western. They capped off their season with a 6th place finish at GAMTI, so they should have no trouble getting a bid out of this tournament. Behind them we have Rochester, who have been transplanted into this region as part of AMTA’s efforts to get people out of the overcrowded east coast. Normally we would say that there is a pretty big fall off behind Rochester and by the numbers there is (we jump over 40 ranks). But Hillsdale university has been performing incredibly well this year with 6-2 records or better at every tournament. Below that we have a group of A teams all of whom have made it to ORCS in the last few years but have struggled with higher echelons of competition including Michigan State, Case Western, and Eastern Michigan as well as the lower teams from some top calibre programs (Rochester, Northwestern, and Michigan).

Team to Watch:
Hillsdale has barely missed nationals a lot recently. They had 4 ballots in 2018 when they needed 5, 5.5 in 2017 when they needed 6 and 4 in 2016 when they needed 5.5. When they lost Johnathan Church a couple years ago it looked like they might stay in that limbo, but this year things have picked up for them. They have managed 6-2 at Illini, 6.5-1.5 at ISU, 8-0 at Red Cedar, 6.5-1.5 at Spartan Throwdown, and (notably since it means they can also stand up to a national field) 6-2 at Yale. They have take ballots from National level teams like Yale, Northwestern, Arizona, Michigan (notable because they are in the same region), Miami and Iowa. In particular they seem to have strong witness talent in Konrad Ludwig who has won three awards so far this season. We are excited to see how far this Hillsdale team goes now that programs are starting to stack.
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