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NCT Analysis/Season in Review Empty NCT Analysis/Season in Review

Thu Apr 14, 2022 12:57 pm
Doss Division:
1. Chicago A
2. Tufts A
3. Yale A
4. Virginia B**
5. Duke A
6. Georgia Tech A**
7. Dickinson A**
8. Stanford A
9. Rhodes A
10. American A**
---------
Patrick Henry B*
Irvine A*

*in from “Bubble”
**Unpredicted in

Out from “Final Round Favorites”
UMBC A

Out from “Expect to Place”
None

Streseman Division:
1. Harvard A
2. UCLA A
3. Georgia A*
4. Patrick Henry A
5. Berkeley A
6. Howard A**
7. Florida A
8. Northwestern A*
9. Tufts B*
10. Washington St. Louis A*
---------
Wisconsin A**
Boston A
Miami A
Juniata A**

*in from “Bubble”
**Unpredicted in

Out from “Final Round Favorites”
Emory A
Virginia A

Out from “Expect to Place”
Boston A
Miami A

NCT Review:
Well here we are, another nationals in the books. Coming into Lancaster, our big question was how would last year’s online results impact this year’s results, and we think for the most part we have our answers.

Let’s start with the biggest headline: UMBC. Our reigning national champions finished with a losing record and only walked away with one all american award. We do think this is more indicative of the subjective nature of the activity than of a fundamental problem with UMBC. Not for nothing, the majority of this team was still on the team that won NCT last year. But it’s worth noting that not only did they not place, but their CS wasn’t incredibly high either. At 22.5, they only faced one team that placed and that was Stanford who placed 8th. How they recover next year will be one of the biggest storylines to follow.

Some other storylines were how veteran nationals teams like UVA, Miami and Rhodes would do after disappointing years last year. It wasn’t too long ago that these three teams were in the final round in 2017, 2018 and 2019, but last year Rhodes didn’t earn a bid and neither UVA or Miami placed. We had to question if maybe it was just the zoom format that caused the falter, but after Lancaster, it’s clear that none of these teams were what they used to be. Virginia A didn’t place for a second year in a row (although their B team did place 4th, saving their TPR). This suggests that the issues this team faced weren’t entirely due to the format change. Similarly, Miami repeated their honorable mention placement from last year, which, while not bad,suggests that their slip out of the top placements they were achieving circa 2018 and 2019 isn’t just a fluke of zoom. Last, we have Rhodes. Now clearly, Rhodes making it back to nationals and placing means they’re doing something right this year. But after placing 2nd in their division in 2017, 3rd in 2018, and 1st in 2019, coming in 9th is still a sign of hard times.

To finish off our set of disappointing finishes, Emory A and Boston A both placed last year, and both came up just short with 5.5 and 6 wins respectively. However, it’s worth mentioning that both teams had some rough splits that got them there, notably both to Juniata. Boston went +16, +6, -1 to Juniata in round 1 and Emory followed that by going +25, +18, -1 to Juniata in round 2. To place at nationals, you need more than skill, you need some luck in your judges. We think it is unsurprising that if a school was going to take ballots off traditional Nationals powers in wild splits, it would be a school that is playing with a home field advantage as Juniata was in both rounds.

Now onto the fun surprises! For that, we have to start with Lucas Eco… we mean Dickinson’s team. They not only placed, but they were in the high high round going on Sunday, fighting for that final round spot. They were the only team to take a ballot off division winner Chicago during the preliminary rounds and they managed to place despite facing three teams who placed. Even more impressive, their All American Attorney, Isaiah Banuelos, is only a freshman! So look out for this team to make waves for the next few years.

Some other stand outs were American and Georgia who all had rough year’s last year, but bounced back better than ever. American has had a down few years after a streak of strong performances in the early new-case era. But this year, under new coach Amanda Mundell, they played their way to the top of their division in the first three rounds, finding themselves in the second ranked match up against Tufts. Their only losses were to Dickinson, discussed above and to Tufts who swept them in the last round to take second. Given the close proximity of their A and B teams at ORCS we expect this is only the first victory for a team that is on the rise. ¬†Georgia has traditionally struggled to break out of the brutal Atlanta ORCS (with their last qualification occurring in a year where they were shipped to Memphis), but at Nationals they can shine. This year they took third in the Streseman division with their only loss coming from the second place team, UCLA.

And of course we have to discuss our division winners. Ordinarily we expect a division winner to have 9 or 9.5 ballots. This year it took a lot more (much to the chagrin of a team like Tufts who’s 10 ballots would have been enough to qualify in most years). Harvard made the final taking healthy margins in most of their rounds, despite facing four teams who placed. Their only ballot loss was a second round drop to the eventual fourth place team, Patrick Henry (who seem to have a bad habit of hitting the eventual division winners in round 2). Harvard also managed to walk away with five (five!) All-American awards in the process, which is made even more alarming by the fact that most of their team are just sophomores and juniors.

Chicago, meanwhile, managed to go undefeated all the way through the first three rounds, including sweeping third place team Yale and sixth place team Georgia Tech. Their round was less “star-studded” in terms of awards, taking home only one All-American for Juliana Mothersbagh who played the defendant in the final round (although she won her All-American on P). We suspect this is because of the impressive level of parity in their bench such that they were all stealing ranks off each other. Chicago also managed fairly consistently high margin victories against their opponents with the exception of a single loss by 21 points to Dickinson.

MAIMD Year in Review
As with any predictions, you’re bound to get some right and some wrong. This section is to recap our pre-season predictions, nationals power rankings and some of our biggest successes and surprises this year.

Let’s start with some overall analysis. The goal of these predictions is to be more accurate than TPR. While TPR does a good job of indicating how teams have done in the past, we try to incorporate our own experiences this year to predict more accurately than the ranked TPR. Now when we say ranked TPR, we mean the 48 teams who competed in Lancaster ranked by TPR 1-48. Of course a team like Dillard or Wisconsin will be over 100 spots better than their TPR simply by making nationals, so we look at the 48 teams ranked to get a more accurate analysis. So this year, TPR predicted each team an average of 10.71 spots off from their ranked TPR. In our power rank, we predicted slightly more accurately with each team 10.33 spots from our rank.

There were some results that neither our rankings nor TPR predicted. These were the true surprises if you will. These include Dickinson (placed 35 spots higher than we predicted and 29 spots higher than TPR predicted), UMBC (27 lower/33 lower), Emory (24 lower/20 lower), Howard (22 higher/21 higher), and Virginia B (22 higher/20 higher).

Meanwhile, there were some teams that both our list and TPR predicted almost spot  such as UCLA (1 off on our list/2 off on TPR), Rhodes (2/1), Dillard (2/3), Irvine (2/3), Yale (0/4), Duke (4/2), Washington and Lee (2/4), and Northwestern (3/4).

However, there were some that we got significantly better than TPR including Wisconsin (13 spots closer on our list), American (12), Chicago B (9), Northwood (9), Cincinnati (8 ), Florida (8 ) and some that we got less accurate than TPR including Georgetown B (16 spots farther off on our list), Virginia A (15), UC Santa Barbara (11), USC (11), Yale B (11).

Looking all the way back at our pre-season predictions from August, we had some accurate predictions and some not so accurate predictions. Starting with some of our misses, of our predicted top 25 teams, 20 competed at nationals and only 12 placed (three with honorable mentions). We predicted Tufts would be defeating Yale in the final round and while both came close (second and third respectively in the Doss division), neither managed to get there. On the flip side, we predicted Harvard at 7 and Chicago at 17. We predicted Stanford B would outplace Stanford A and not only was that not true, but Stanford B didn’t even make it out of regionals.

Now onto some things we got right. We predicted Miami would go undefeated throughout regionals and ORCS and while no team managed to do that, Miami went 15-1 which tied for the best record with Southern California so we’ll call that a win. We also predicted Patrick Henry gets two teams to nationals which they did.

As a final note, we will be opening up applications to join for the 2022-2023 school year shortly so if you are interested in becoming a part of MAIMD then keep an eye out!
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