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2021 Post NCT Thoughts Empty 2021 Post NCT Thoughts

Sat Apr 24, 2021 5:16 pm
Ziegler Division:
UMBC
Tufts
UCLA A
Duke A
Wesleyan*
Harvard*
Patrick Henry B**
Florida A*
Penn State**
Northwestern

---------
Florida State*
Chicago B**
Miami

*in from “Bubble”
**Unpredicted in

Out from “Possible Champs”
Miami A
Virginia A

Out from “Expect to Place”
UC Berkeley A

Thoughts:
This division gave us a champion from outside the traditional AMTA powers for the first time in a very long time. If it was going to be anyone to shake up the traditional AMTA hierarchy it would have been the top three schools we have listed here. First and foremost kudos to UMBC who have been rapidly building up a head of steam as they shoot to the top. Even as recently as 2017, they were taking their first trip to the NCT. Now, just five years later they are back and winning it. This is a fitting year for them to win too with their consistent top performers, Thomas Kiley and Sydney Gaskins in their final year.

Following behind we have Tufts and UCLA, two programs that have had very strong showings this year. Tufts made a leap last year into the top echelons of mock trials, but nobody was around to see them carry it through to NCT. This year they have been consistently placing in the top couple of spots at every invite and they pulled off a truly impressive record at ORCS and regionals, not losing a single ballot (although they tied two). Just a slightly different outcome in the third round would have changed Tufts’ fortunes and put them in the formal round. We see a similar story with UCLA. UCLA has had a very strong season, with an ability to attend more invites this year than they ordinarily do, culminating of course with their win at the prestigious GCF. UCLA went into round four with the same record as Tufts and split, with Tufts.

We also want to shout out Patrick Henry B, who, although they ended up placing a little lower in the rankings, went into the fourth round 10-0 with the full possibility for making the final if they swept. Quite an impressive feat for a B team!

In terms of record spread this division was less of a wild ride than the other division. While the case bias was noticeable, there was not as bad of a split in round one leading to less of a pile up at the end of round three. Isnead there was a more classical split with two teams at 10 ballots, two at 9, two at 8 etc.

The surprises in terms of low placement were, of course UVA and Miami. Both of these teams have done quite well all season. Miami in particular won GAMTI and had a very strong showing at ORCS. Both of these teams have demonstrated that they can win at the very top level. If we had to guess as to why they failed here, it would be that the zoom format really needed a level of excitement at the top level that neither of these teams traditionally bring. What might seem clean and polished in person, and precise at zoom ORCS, may have just seemed less interesting than the flashy teams at NCT. But that’s just a guess.

Nelmark Division:
Yale
Patrick Henry A
Florida B**
Emory A*
Duke B**
Stanford
Minnesota*
Northwood*
Michigan**
Boston*
---------
UC San Diego*
Wheaton**

*in from “Bubble”
**Unpredicted in

Out from “Possible Champs”
Chicago A

Out from “Expect to Place”
Fordham Lincoln Center A
UC Irvine A
UCLA B
Cornell A

Thoughts:
Well…...Yale did it again. Nobody knows exactly how they are pulling it off, but they did. And this time we haven't heard any hubbub on Impeachments suggesting they did anything wrong in the final. Yale had an interesting schedule to get there too. ¬†They seem to have played their tournament in reverse based on what you would expect, earning a sweep with high differentials in R4, a closer sweep in R3, a 3-1 split in R2, and a 2-2 perfect split in R1. This included playing the second place team, Patrick Henry in Round 2 and winning.

In part these kinds of schedules contributed to the massive pile up at the top at the end of R3. Usually at NCT, there are 3 or maybe four teams that are realistically in contention for the final after round 3. This year in the Nelmark division there were 8 teams in four different rounds sitting between 8 wins and 10 wins. A sweep for any one of those teams combined with the correct set of splits for the others could have put any of the tem in the final. This happened in part because of a wildly imbalanced set of Round 1 results in this division due to a combination of unlucky random draws and the case bias. No teams won more than 2 out of 4 ballots on P in round 1. As a result we saw 1.5-2.5 teams up against 4-0 teams which resulted in some skewed round 2 results as well and much more parity of results going into the later rounds.

In terms of stand out performances, credit has to be given to Patrick Henry College. They came back from a 1-3 loss to Yale in Round 2 and simply swept most of the rest of the field, ¬†losong exactly one ballot to a team that wasn’t Yale, leading them to a second place finish in the division. We also wanted to point out the two B teams that managed top 5 placements: Florida B and Duke B. We will be expecting both programs to be very strong going into the next couple of years.

The most surprising negative results here were Fordham Lincoln Center and Chicago. Chicago has done pretty well this year with strong finishes at invites and a strong ORCS record. They even started the tournament strong splitting with eventual division winner, Yale. But they seem to have been polarizing at best on D and weak on P this year. This is perhaps unsurprising for a team that specializes in being technical with a case with so much complexity and so little time. Fordham, similarly had an impressive ORCS record going into this tournament, having split with the eventual second place team in the Zeigler Division, Tufts and otherwise swept their rounds. But this is a team that has continued their streak of excellence during the main season and then inability to crack the new case.

Season In Review

Last year, about 100 teams had their seasons ended early due to the cancelled ORCS and Nats and coming into this year, there was a lot that we didn’t know. Now over a year since those tournaments were cancelled, we have a lot to look back on and see their impacts on this year and how this year’s results will impact next season and beyond.

Let's start with TPR. One of the biggest questions headed into this year was how TPR would be calculated. While we weren’t able to finish last season, there were many teams that did better than they ever did last year. We soon found out that those improvements (and the teams who did significantly worse than normal) would not be noted in the 2021 TPR. The impacts of TPR on regionals, ORCS, and nationals have been mentioned in other posts, but the place we wanted to focus on here is how that’ll impact next year.

First, we don’t know what formula AMTA will use to find next year’s TPR. If they just shift everything down, with results from 2021, 2019 and 2018 being represented, we will have a similar problem to this year where we’re relying on results from competitors who are no longer competing to help predict next year’s results and that will cause similar problems to this year. However, the other alternatives cause different problems. If we remove 2018 and weight 2019 how it would be weighted normally then that puts way too much emphasis on this past year. So the remaining options would be to weigh 2019 more or to somehow include 2020 results but those both have their complications as well.

It’s also worth looking at how TPR will impact regionals next year when (hopefully) everything is in person and we’re back to geographically assigned regionals. This year, we were able to look at teams on a national level and therefore some regions outperformed others. Specifically, we noticed the midwest excel at regionals and the northeast excel at ORCS with both earning more bids to nationals than in a typical year. Areas like the pacific northwest underperformed at regionals and the south underperformed at ORCS. Especially if TPR is weighted more towards this year than normal, this could cause more imbalance at regionals and ORCS if not properly taken into consideration so we’re interested to see if there’s a reallocation of tournament placement and if so, how that will impact future results.

The last thing we want to talk about is the most obvious which is the zoom format. While not ideal, there were a lot of cool things that came out of this year. First, we saw more invitationals with teams from across the country. Without travel costs, we saw so many tournaments with teams from both coasts and teams were able to compete against schools they would have never seen if we were in person. In addition, we saw more scrimmages! It was easier than ever to dm a team and schedule a scrimmage or have multiple scrimmages in a week. Lastly, we saw the use of more creative demos. For example, in the final round where Yale put a greenscreen background and had their witness do a walkthrough of a virtual room. That’s just not something that would have been possible in person and it created some really fun zoom moments. Now despite some cool opportunities, we’re sure everyone’s excited to compete in person again and we can’t wait to see if some teams just mastered the zoom format or if they can master the courtroom once again in the fall. We are also interested to see how our brief experiment with Zoom will impact in person performance. Will there be new techniques people learned from zoom that get carried back to the in person tournaments? Or are we just going back to normal?

MAIMD Review
A few weeks ago, we wrote up a pre-nationals power ranking of all 48 teams with the hope of highlighting each team and creating a more accurate ranking headed into nationals. As we did in 2019, the last time nationals happened, we compared our list as well as TPR to the final placements to see how accurate both lists were. To start, some history. When we did this in 2019, TPR was on average 10.2 places off and it was off 10.6 places in 2018. Compared to our list, we were off by 8.4 places in 2019. This year, we saw some pretty surprising results. To start, our list was far less accurate than it was in 2019. Our list was 12.7 places off which is 4.3 places worse than the last time we did it. Shockingly, TPR was actually more accurate than our list, although not by much. TPR was 12.6 places off, still 2.4 places less accurate than in 2019. There’s a big reason why that might be the case and that would be the cavaliers of UVa.

We had UVa A ranked 2 and UVa B ranked 19 while TPR had them ranked 4 and 34 respectively in the field. Both teams significantly underperformed their TPR and where we put them with UVa A placing 39th and UVa B having the worst record in either division. Combined, we had UVa 66 spots above where they actually placed so that made a large impact. However, they weren’t the only team that underperformed our placements. Another team that underperformed is UC Berkeley A who we had at 6 and TPR had at 12. Their 6 win finish placed them at 37th.

There were also some teams that overperformed both our list and TPR. Most notably, B teams! Duke B, Florida B and Patrick Henry B came in at 34, 36 and 41 respectively on our list and 41, 35 and 43 respectively on TPR, but all placed in their divisions! In addition to those B teams, Penn came in at 47 on our list and 44 on TPR, but finished 15th overall.

We also compared our list to TPR. Our most impressive predictions were us being 17 places closer on Florida State, 15 places closer on Lafayette and 13 places closer on Cornell. We were also 9 places closer on Chicago B, 8 places closer on UMBC and 7 places closer on Tufts A, Boston, Duke B, and Maryland. Our worst deviations from TPR were 15 places farther off on Virginia B, 11 places farther on Wheaton and Fordham Lincoln Center, 10 places farther on Wesleyan, 9 places farther on both Emory A and Emory B and 7 places farther on Northwestern, South Carolina, and Northwood.

The last thing that’s worth pointing out is the divisions. We did our ranking before we knew which team was in which division and this year, that seemed to backfire. Our top 7 were all in the Ziegler division and on a whole, the Ziegler division averaged 4 places higher on our list than the Nelmark division. When looking at accuracy of our list, that could have caused some of the inaccuracies. While we had Yale number 1 in the Nelmark division which should have resulted in an accurate placing, we placed them eighth overall which caused a six place difference.

We would also like to look back at our predictions from the very beginning of the year. While we weren’t the most accurate, there were some predictions that were close! We had UCLA at number 4 headed into the season and they placed 3rd in their division, we predicted that Yale would be in the final round (although that’s a pretty safe bet at this point), and we had a good number of teams who placed in our top 15 including Duke A and Patrick Henry A tied for 6, Tufts A at 8, UMBC A at 11, Stanford A at 12 and Northwestern A at 15. We also posted a competitor to watch list and 10 of them were recently announced at competitors at Trial by Combat.

As a final note, we will be opening up applications to join for the 2021-2022 school year shortly so if you are interested in becoming a part of MAIMD then keep an eye out!

101scope, MockOG and joe_king like this post

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