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2018 Regionals Analysis Week 3 Empty 2018 Regionals Analysis Week 3

Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:08 pm
Cedar Rapids: (26 teams) ‘We aren’t mad, just disappointed’  (avg. power ranking: 231)
3 Teams in top 100, 6 in top 200

First in:
Indiana A
Chicago A
Chicago C
Cornell College A
Drake A

Grinnell A
Illinois State A
Cornell College B
Indiana C
Iowa C
Minnesota C

Initial Thoughts:
We jokingly called this region a disappointment since this region has begun to have a reputation of sending teams to ORCs who then do not perform as well as we would have expected. We hope to see that trend broken. Just last year, we saw Cornell College A and B, along with Grinnell combine for a total of 3.5 wins at the Geneva ORCs. Those three teams all had 6 wins at this regional last year. Additionally, teams like Illinois State were disappointed to not go to ORCs last year - going into the last round at 4-2 they dropped both ballots by 1 point each to Minnesota C, so ORCs evaded them for the first time in recent years. Hopefully Cornell College and Grinnell will prove to us that they can actually succeed at ORCs and Illinois State will prove to us that last year was just a down year and a fluke. Strong programs like Illinois and Chicago should see little to no resistance in making it out of this region. Lastly, it should be noted that there are a large number of C and D teams in this region, which can always be unpredictable seeing as they are coming from strong programs (the aforementioned Illinois and Chicago, along with Minnesota, Iowa, and Macalester). We hope to see someone surprise us this year and prove the name of this region wrong.

Team to Watch:
Illinois State - We have some concerns with Illinois State. In 2015, their A team received an Open Bid. In 2016, their A team earned 6th place, and B team received an Open Bid. Last year, they failed to make it to ORCs for the first time in 8 years. It is also important to note that they only fielded one team last year. Weirdly though, last year Illinois State was 4-0 on Prosecution and 0-4 on defense. Their top two witnesses earned an impressive 35 ranks for the prosecution - this means that this pair (Aditya Bukkapatnam [19 ranks] and Kelly Franklin [16 ranks]) had the top two spots on all but one of the 4 prosecution ballots. If Illinois State can translate what went well on their prosecution side last year to success with the rest of their case, they may be able to return to ORCs. But should this small success just be a fluke, they may have a lot of rebuilding to do. Considering this is a larger university which actually recruits and gives out scholarships (Thomas Eimermann Mock Trial Scholarship), we would hope that they can get back on track and return to ORCs again. But then again, it’s always fun to root for the small schools who had to scrape together enough money to get to regionals when they go against larger schools, who have enough funds to give scholarships!

Cincinnati: (25 teams) ‘place your bets here’  (avg. power ranking: 238)
2 Teams in top 100, 5 in top 200

First in:
Miami A
Miami B
Cincinnati A
Cincinnati B

Wheaton C
Xavier A
Notre Dame B
Tennessee C
Michigan State C
Middle Tennessee State University B
Case Western C

Initial Thoughts:
This region will give many cause for anger at AMTA--and, we think, rightly so. Teams from Miami and Cincinnati will enjoy one of the easiest regions ever constructed in a year in which most regions are unusually difficult. Miami and Cincinnati’s A teams are both top 20 teams, but with only two other teams in the top 200 and unless they hit each other, these programs are unlikely to face real competition. This is especially problematic for Miami’s and Cincinnati’s B teams, who are protected against having to compete against their A teams. For these teams, the effective average TPR (the average TPR of all teams excluding themselves and their A team, a measure of how difficult a field they are facing) is even lower than the already low overall average (about 251 compared to 238). This is not a new problem for AMTA, who normally resolves this by grouping a program’s A and C teams in one region and sending the B team elsewhere, but has not done so here. Without disparaging other programs in this region, we believe that this arrangement effectively gives a free pass to these two programs. Especially with the addition of the very competitive Columbus regional nearby, we would have liked to see a fairer balance between the two.

A silver lining may be that this region affords several chances for less developed programs to earn a trip to ORCs for the first time. Given how rapidly AMTA has been growing, it is nice that there are still some regions where new teams have a chance at succeeding. But, at the cost of better teams elsewhere facing more difficult paths to ORCs, is it worth it?

Team to Watch:
Miami University - You Know Who they are (that joke will make sense after you read this): Miami will have no problems qualifying out of this region. Miami has had a strong invitational showing, but because this region is so lopsided and unexciting, we want to focus on the fact that Miami has chosen to emulate Hogwarts in their mock trial program. Separate from their A, B, and C teams, they have the four Hogwarts houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw. They even have a Head of House and a prefect. Props to you, Miami. We dig that. As far as Miami’s teams go, their A team has 8 seniors on it, so it will definitely be an experienced and seasoned team that won’t need any magic to do well. The loss of those upperclassmen next year may make for a more interesting season, though they do have 12 freshman and 9 sophomores now, so next year’s team will certainly not have to Riddle their way through the 2018-19 season. We just hope no one ~snitches~ on their case theory--that sort of foul play might get a team Azkabanned from AMTA. We just wish we had a time turner to go back and fix this region! All Harry Potter related jokes aside, this region is dumb, and we are expecting Miami A and B to earn straight Os (okay, we lied when we said no more HP jokes: Google O.W.L.’s if you don’t get that last reference)!

Dallas: (28 teams) ‘good ‘ol favorites’  (avg. power ranking: 216)
5 Teams in top 100, 8 in top 200

First In:
Rhodes B
Baylor A
Texas A
Texas B
Southern Methodist University

Baylor B
St. Thomas
Houston Baptist
Austin College
Texas A&M
Texas Dallas B

Initial Thoughts:
This is a region in which teams will be extremely familiar with each other—indeed, almost this exact constellation of teams appeared during the invitational-season at Baylor's November invitational and, to a lesser extent, at Hustle City in October. Both these results confirmed what this year's TPR suggest: southwest powerhouses Baylor and UT remain in good form, while perennial Nationals competitor Rhodes B leads the pack. Also in this region are a fair number of mid-tier teams for whom an unlucky first round draw against one of the favorites may spoil qualifying hopes.

Team to Watch:
Baylor University – Baylor's program has historically struggled to field successful teams outside its A-squad, but this year's invitational performance gives us occasion to think this will change. A few impressive performances by Baylor B (7-0-1 at Hustle City) and Baylor C (7-0-1 at Hustle City, 7-1 at Baylor) indicate that Baylor B has the ability to break its two year dry streak and qualify for ORCs. Baylor's success in its B and C teams should also give fans hope for its A team: we firmly believe that program depth yields success at the top-end, so, buoyed by the ready scrimmage partners beneath it, Baylor A may prove to be a team to watch this year. If that is the case, A team members should be certain to credit some of their success to their B and C team counterparts.

Jackson: (24 teams) ‘The battle royale’ (avg. power ranking: 205)
4 Teams in top 100, 9 in top 200

First in:
Millsaps A
Tenn. Chattanooga A
Vanderbilt A
Alabama Tuscaloosa A
Alabama Birmingham A

Tenn. Chattanooga B
Alabama Birmingham B
Louisiana Monroe A
Alabama Tuscaloosa B
Mississippi A

Initial Thoughts:
After being an extremely tough regional last year, Jackson is again the site of a battle royale of the top southern teams. There are 8 teams in the top 150 of Power Ranked programs, meaning someone is going to be sorely disappointed. Based on historic performance, Millsaps, Chattanooga, Alabama Tuscaloosa, Alabama Birmingham, and Vanderbilt have earned our confidence that they will break from this region. But other programs who have consistently made it to ORCS, like Louisiana Monroe, have something more to prove. Louisiana Monroe has been steadily declining in recent years, and had a very disappointing performance at ORCs last year after scraping by with an Open bid. On the other hand, we have some up and coming programs like Samford and University of Mississippi. Both of which made it to ORCs for the first time just last year only, but posted fairly poor showings. We are looking for them to prove that they deserve to be back at ORCS. All this is not to mention C teams from strong programs Baylor and SMU, who were unfortunate enough to draw this very difficult region. Both of these programs have shown their depth throughout the invitational season and we would have more confidence if they weren’t in such a difficult region.

Team to Watch:
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa - For the first time in recent years, University of Alabama sent a second team to ORCs last year. They saw great success from both squads with a 5-3 showing from both A and B teams. But, this makes their A team one of only 3 teams in the top 75 power ranked teams to not make it to nationals in recent years (meaning despite consistently positive performances at ORCs, they haven’t managed to qualify for Nationals). Their A team is looking to finally make it all the way to nationals while their B teams hopes to return to ORCs with another strong showing. This invitational season has also been quite impressive for Alabama. Although Millsaps and Mississippi are still yet to post their Tab results, based on hearsay we understand that Alabama in fact took 1st at Millsaps, then 2nd and 3rd at Mississippi, and we were able to see that at the Mid-South Invitational their C team received an honorable mention (6th place). While Alabama is led by their President and Outstanding Attorney at ORCs last year, Chance Sturup, they had a very impressive individual outing last year as 7 different people earned awards at Regionals and ORCs from their two teams. With 5 of those 7 individuals (Sturup, Kitchin, Moore, Miller, and Laroche) all returning, this is a promising time for Alabama Mock Trial, and despite being in an extremely difficult regional we expect their A team and hopefully their B team to both make it out without much trouble.

Joliet: (28 teams) ‘The big baddie in the midwest’  (avg. power ranking: 226)
4 Teams in top 100, 8 in top 200

First in:
Michigan A
Michigan C
Northern Illinois A
Depaul A
Northwood A
Hillsdale A

Northwestern C
Northwestern D
Illinois Chicago A
Hillsdale B
Lewis A

Initial Thoughts:
Since it is in the Midwest, Joliet's power rank is 20-30 points above average. However, this tournament will host several competitive C and D teams whose power rankings have not been considered. Michigan C, Northwestern C, and Northwestern D all have a lot of talent, and when coming from such strong programs, they could definitely steal a bid. Although Northwood has historically been hit or miss, based on a strong showing at Yale from their A team, we feel confident that this is a hit year for their A team. But, after a much poorer performance from their B team, we have concerns that their B side may struggle. Similarly, Hillsdale and Depaul have a strong handle on this region, and while they would not necessarily be a lock in most other regions, they seem like a safe bet here. Hillsdale and Northwood faced off at Yale this December, and Northwood beat Hillsdale by a jarring 33 points! After this shocking result, we would love to see a rematch at Joliet, and hopefully HIllsdale will keep it a little closer if they do.

Team to Watch:
University of Michigan - University of Michigan is one of the prominent powerhouses of College Mock Trial. Nobody needs to know to watch them, but we did want to spotlight the fact that Michigan has had some very large changeover this year. Captains Gabe Slater, Victoria Wystepek, and James Lowell have recruited a very young class this year and that team has already been performing at a very high level this invitational season. This young team turned out a second place performance at GAMTI: dropping only one trial to tournament champs Ohio State, while sweeping strong teams like Miami and Cal Berkeley, and splitting 2-1 with Rhodes. Alongside their Captains, up and coming talent like All-American Bianca Blanshine (sophomore) and ORCs outstanding attorney Jacob Levin (sophomore), as well as strong senior performers like Garrett Burton look to replace strong seniors from last year like Joey Hansel (All-American Witness), and Laura Brodkin (ORCS outstanding attorney and Regionals 19/18 outstanding attorney). We would like to take a moment to spotlight Burton who has received a witness award at every tournament he attended last year: regionals, ORCS, and Nationals! We expect Michigan to return to Nationals this year despite a disappointing performance at Yale this year (A went 3-5 and B went 4-4). While competition at Yale is always difficult, we would have liked to see a slightly stronger performance here. That being said, Slater and Blanshine both won attorney awards (competing for A and B respectively) and were two of the top 3 attorneys at the tournament (alongside Elizabeth Bays of Yale). We look forward to watching Michigan put on another clinic here at Joliet, and we feel sorry for any teams who have to face them.

Kansas City: (26 teams) ‘Where’s the middle class’  (avg. power ranking: 220)
5 Teams in top 100, 7 in top 200

First in:
Truman State A
Loyola A
Loyola B
Wash U in St. Louis A
Kansas A
Illinois A

Missouri A
Missouri B
Illinois B
Wash U in St. Louis B
Arkansas A

Initial Thoughts:
This is one of the most intriguing regions because of the sheer number of top 100 teams (5). Sadly, this means that there is a strong chance that these top teams may end up knocking each other out, and it is quite possible for a weaker team, which avoided these top teams (since there is a disproportionately large number of unranked teams) to end up making it out of this region unscathed. The group of top teams is small but it is a very strong group. This makes our predictions for the top 5 fairly easy. Truman State, Kansas, Loyola, and Wash U have all comfortably made it out of regionals for the last few years, so we feel confident that they will should make it out again. Teams like Missouri and Illinois have been slightly more hit or miss, both making in two of the last 3 years, and both always having their B teams in the mix as well. Speaking of B sides, Loyola’s B team has also been comfortably making it out of regionals most years, and we see no reason to expect otherwise from them. This will be a tough call to see who the final two teams are, seeing as the top 5 (Truman, Kansas, Loyola A and B, and Wash U) are so consistent. It would be very surprising to see Illinois miss out, but with so many top teams, and many of their B sides as well, it could be a real toss up for that last spot.

Team to Watch:
Truman State University - This relatively unknown school is an absolute force in the mock trial world. In 2015, 2016, and 2017, their A team’s regional record has been: 8-0, 6-2, and 8-0. That is absolute domination coming from this Missouri school. They are also extremely young this year. Sophomore President Jordan Vassel is coming off a strong performance at last year’s regionals as a top attorney and looks to continue to lead this team of majority freshman and sophmores. This team is looking to continue its past success, so we have high expectations for this team. They are going to definitely keep this regional interesting.

New Haven: (30 teams) ‘Avoid Yale’ (avg. power ranking: 235)
- 3 teams in top 100, 7 teams in top 200

First In
Yale A
Yale C

Tufts B
Princeton A
Clark A
Brown B
UMass Lowell
UMass Amherst

Initial Thoughts
Despite the unusually high average TPR, this will be one of the most exciting tournaments to watch as a robust field of mid-tier teams compete alongside 3 time nationals finalists, Yale, to make it out of New Haven. As in past years, we expect Yale to dominate the top end of the tournament followed closely by a strong B-team from Boston University that has seen successes at Yale's and Brandies' invitationals this season. Beyond these three teams, though, the remaining slots are anyone's to grab. Teams like Quinnipiac, UMass Lowell, Tufts B, and Brown B have all posted mixed records this season and it is anyone's guess if February will see them in good form. Meanwhile, traditional powerhouse programs like BC and Princeton have struggled to match performance with reputation this past invitational season. This region’s avg. TPR is pulled down by the fact that there are 18 unranked teams (not including C/D teams). One of the drawbacks of such a large region (30 teams) is that it can be just as easy to run into all unranked teams as it is to hit Yale and BU.

Team to Watch
Boston College – a normally strong program, BC seems to be faltering this season after posting a dismal performances at Yale (0-Cool, Tufts (2-6), and UPenn (1-7, 0-7-1). It seems that BC is smarting from the loss of award-winners like Cristine Oh, Monica Coscia, and  Emma Coffey (who now attends Boston College Law and may remain involved with the program). Perhaps, these results were simply the product of BC's rumored program structure: instead of creating stacked teams based on individual ability, BC is said to field four autonomous teams whose members compete together for their entire tenure in the program. If this is the case, the above results may misrepresent the ability of other teams in BC’s program. Regardless, the onus will be on BC to prove that they can match their impressive 8-0 performance at the New Haven Regionals last year in the wake of a disappointing invitational-season.

Tempe: (23 teams) ‘The best in the west’  (avg. power ranking: 220)
4 Teams in top 100, 6 in top 200

First in:
Fresno State A
UC Irvine A
Arizona State A

Pomona A
UC Irvine C
Fresno State B
UC San Diego A
Pepperdine A
Arizona C

Initial Thoughts:
To everyone’s surprise, UC schools dominate this region. UCLA, Fresno State, UC Irvine, USC, UC San Diego, all should claim spots at this region. The team to beat is obviously UCLA. Even their E team will be quite formidable. After strong performances at San Diego as well as Anteater, UCLA is poised to test just how many of their teams should qualify for ORCS, but it should be noted that hilariously, of their 5 teams last year, the B-E teams all had records of 6 wins or more, but their A team came in at just 4 wins (CS: 21). This made them the only UCLA team to not qualify for ORCS. Hopefully, their A team will manage to make it out this year. A surprise here is UNLV, who we expect may advance based on their strong performance this invitational season. With historically deep programs like USC, UC Irvine, and Arizona, we can also expect some C teams to come out of this region. Fresno State had a concerning showing at Anteater this year, sending two teams that combined for only one win: over an 0-4 Claremont McKenna. Look for them to put away any doubt that they are an ORCS caliber program. One of the only small schools in this region, Pomona, has been a very consistent performer from this region. We would like to see them return to ORCs again, but after a concerning showing at Anteater, along with the loss of many strong seniors, we definitely have concerns and have put them on the bubble here to reflect this. This region will be tough, and it is probably the hardest western regional to break from. We are excited to watch though since it will give many teams an opportunity to prove their mettle.

Team to Watch:
University of Nevada in Las Vegas - UNLV had a nice showing at this regional last year only to flop with 0 wins at ORCs in Fresno. But, after a strong showing at San Diego this year (as the tournament champions), UNLV may very well make another run at ORCS. Two years ago, UNLV was quite disappointed to have both teams go just 3-5 from this regional, but both with very high CSs. This program is definitely on the rise, and after such a strong performance through the invitational season, this team is looking poised to steal away a spot again. Let’s just hope they can then go on to improve upon their ORCS record. This program saw many individuals do well last year: 2 witnesses from the A team (3-5 at regionals) both won awards: Rachel Howard and Katarina Roach. A witness from the B team (6-2 at regionals) won an award: Elan Eldar. Most interestingly, despite going 0-8 at ORCS this B team saw their first  attorney receive an award: Nick Dion. Interestingly, Dion had 20 ranks. Only two people received 20 ranks, so look for Dion to be a force in this region. We do want to note that there are definitely concerns with this program, between their performance at ORCS last year, their usual 3-5 showings, and their performance at Gunslinger (2-6, 0-8 ), they definitely need to prove that they deserve to be back at ORCS.

Topeka (23 teams) ‘Middle heavy in the mid-west’  (avg. power ranking: 224)
2 Teams in top 100, 8 in top 200

First in:
Rhodes A
Rhodes C
Iowa A
Iowa B

Central Missouri A
South Dakota
Kansas B
Kansas C
Hendrix A

Initial Thoughts:
Rhodes has two teams here, so that automatically narrows the field down to 5. Iowa has seen tremendous success, and we see little reason to expect otherwise from them. We don’t see many teams challenging Rhodes or Iowa for it least 4 spots at Topeka, so we are down to a field of 3 with a lot of past ORCS teams left on the block. South Dakota and Washburn are both teams that have previously made ORCS quite consistently, but failed to return to ORCS last year. Both of these teams are looking to bounce back after their respective disappointing ends last year. Hendrix and Central Missouri are both programs who consistently get between 4 and 6 wins. They always are just on the border between making it and not, so look to see them keeping it interesting for those last couple spots. The other strong program here is Kansas. While Kansas hasn’t historically been as deep as Rhodes or Iowa, we hope to see strong performances from their B and C side and maybe contest a spot from this region.

Team to Watch:
Rhodes College - Rhodes is the example to everyone that you can be a small school and still be good at mock trial. With an undergraduate body of just 2000 students, Rhodes still manages to put up not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE teams that are consistently ORCS caliber. This would be impressive for a big state school, let alone for a school of just 2000 students! Although Rhodes has 5 sides, the one tournament where all 5 competed (Rhodes Blue City Scrimmage) Their A and C side were the top two teams, both going 7-1, and splitting with each other. Hopefully, this means we are not just getting any other Rhodes team at Topeka; we are getting the best of Rhodes teams. Rhodes C is almost all freshman and sophmores, led by Jeena Piriano (sophomore) and Alex Schramkowski (sophomore).* So we look forward to watching these teams succeed not only this year, but for years to come. It is truly sad that only two Rhodes teams are allowed to move on beyond regionals. We can only wonder how many of them would have continued on to nationals.

* Information obtained from Rhodes team website was conflicting with tab reports from Mid-South Invitational, so it was omitted. Website stated that C team (with mentioned members) won Mid-South, but based on tab results, team went 5-3. No other Rhodes team attended the tournament. Additionally, Rhodes website stated that Anna Baker-Olson won a witness award, but tab result stated that Matthew Hobes won the witness award from Rhodes. If anyone from Rhodes sees this please comment so we can correct this!
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