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2023 NCT Analysis and Rankings Empty 2023 NCT Analysis and Rankings

Wed Apr 12, 2023 11:27 pm
As we come to the end of another AMTA season, we just wanted to say how much fun it has been for us to write about the world of competitive-fake-lawyering that we all know and love. This is our sixth year of writing posts, and we hope that our posts will help continue to foster a community for mockers in coming years. Thank you to everyone who reads and comments and participates in MAIMD Monday’s on Instagram. We hope that we have helped people learn a little bit more about the teams around the country, although we recognize that we can never give every team the amount of discussion and research that they deserve. After the National Championship, we will be looking for new contributors to help us expand our knowledge and keep writing about mock trial. If you’re interested, be on the lookout within the next month or so.

We know this is an extremely long post, so we’ll break it down.

First, you’ll see our usual Placement Predictions and Division Analysis. Next, we have Power Rankings and Team Write Ups. At Mock Analysis Is My Drug, we love the AMTA Team Power Rankings, but AMTA TPR is always a year behind—at the best. This list attempts to update the power rankings to better reflect the results we’ve seen in the 2022-2023 AMTA season, based on our own competitive experiences this season. Now we want to be very clear, these are predictions. As correctly stated on MTC, these will not pass a 702 test in the court of law. But nonetheless, here’s our foundation to meet 702c. Each member of Mock Analysis Is My Drug submitted their own ranking, which was then compiled into the final result found here. As always, we expect surprises. We recognize that these types of rankings are inherently subjective, and hope this starts a conversation and gives all teams at the National Championship Tournament a bit more information about their competition. If you have additional information you’d like to add about any team or have a correction to something we said, dm us or comment below!

Thank you to everyone who has made this year’s AMTA season great. We are excited to see how everyone does at this year’s National Championship - good luck to everyone competing!

Marcus Pohlmann Division:

Final Round Favorites:
Chicago A
Virginia A
Rhodes A

Expect to Place:
Florida A
Emory A
Northwestern A

Ohio State A
Notre Dame A
UC Santa Barbara A
Tufts B
Hillsdale A
Patrick Henry B
Fordham LC A
Georgetown A

Initial Thoughts:
Most people would say that the Pohlmann division is easier, and we agree. Statistically speaking, it comes in with a slightly worse ranking on average, slightly fewer TPR points per team, and even a slightly cheaper average point total in our Fantasy NCT. And looking at the field, you can see the missing power right at the top. On paper, it certainly seems easier to get to the final round in the Polmann division than the BPJ division, because most of the teams we have been touting as favorites are over in BPJ.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t have our strong contenders for a title. How about the runner-up from the final round last year? Or three teams with a collective 11 national championships in UCLA, Virginia and Rhodes? And even beyond our championship favorites, the number of teams that can realistically jockey for a spot on the podium is massive. The truth about the Pohlmann division is that there are a good 15+ teams in this division who could place and we wouldn’t be shocked. So it might be easier for a top team to hop into that top spot in this division, but we expect quite the scrum for spots in the mid placement range.

Let’s start with our teams who’ve won the championship before. UCLA haven’t been to the final round since 2014, but they have been close the past few years. This year, the lack of a clear front runner in the division might mean it’s UCLA’s year to return to their pre-new case glory. Standing in their way could be Virginia A, who they actually hit in Round 4 of NCT last year. Last seen in the final round in 2017, they’re looking to make it back after a 5 year gap, and to avenge their lack of a podium finish after last year’s A team disappointment. The last former champion in this division is the hometown favorite, Rhodes. See our write up for more, but anytime you have Rhodes competing in Memphis, you should expect them to win ballots. And although they haven’t won it all before, we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about our reigning runner-ups, Chicago A. Returning 5/7 of their team from the final round, this team is looking to finish what they started in Lancaster.

One thing that stands out about most of our top picks for this division (with the possible exception of Chicago) is their general steadiness as programs. Most of these programs are the kinds of heavyweights who have been around at the top of Nationals for a long time. They have gone through thick and thin as programs and learned to adapt to the conditions at tons of different national tournaments. These programs are steady and consistent in their excellence, with less of the volatility that you often see in some of the flashier programs (even those that have done objectively quite well over the last few years). With Nationals in a region with a notoriously picky judging pool, and the spectre of an aggressive CIC hanging over everyone’s heads at Nationals, that may stand many of these teams in good stead. If anything, the fact that there are so many of these teams in this division may make it more competitive because there are fewer teams to crash and burn.

Burch, Porter & Johnson Division:

Final Round Favorites:
Yale A
Tufts A
Harvard A

Expect to Place:
Patrick Henry A
Georgia A
UC Irvine A

Michigan A
Wisconsin A
WashU A
UC Berkeley A
Boston A

Initial Thoughts:
Welcome to the land of firecrackers. If the Pohlmann division could be characterized by their steady, historically successful programs, the Burch, Porter, & Johnson division is full of teams that like a little flare and flash.

For teams aiming for round five, the division our members have named “PB&J” is about as flashy as they come. Our top three teams overall—Yale, Harvard, and Tufts—are all here. All three are Northeast, student run programs known for their wacky ways and, this year, all three have chips on their shoulders that may lead to even more shenanigans than usual. Yale just broke their six year final round streak last year and are looking to get it back. Tufts are looking to break their string of second place finishes, and Harvard just needs to prove they deserved to make it out of ORCS in the first place this year. On the one hand, this is going to make the division tons of fun for those of us who love watching that kind of mock trial. On the other hand, it’s TBD whether or not the judges in Memphis will be into it.

So if our top team’s stylistic foils won’t come from each other, they’ll surely come from teams like UGA and Patrick Henry, the peanut butter to the Northeast’s jelly. Both of them have been swept by one of the big three this year and will be hoping Memphis is their chance to play the Uno reverse card and make a run for the final. And make no mistake, these teams don’t play the same kind of showy style that the Northeast plays, but they aren’t teams to play it safe either. Patrick Henry is known for their unique, complex argumentation and UGA can make even the most standard arguments seem more performative than anyone.

And then there are the wild cards: Josiah Jones’s Irvine has been building steam all year, WashU is becoming a consistent performer behind Demsky and Stern, and UCLA and Berkeley are both flying in powerful B teams—the former is a straight B team, the latter is a B team with a few added superstars from their 9-3 GCF roster. Michigan is here to prove those invite wins were only the beginning, and Wisconsin is in the mix after a second straight Cinderella run. Any one of these teams could have a good weekend and find themselves at the sharp end of the field come Sunday.

And, yet, for a lot of the teams in this division, the immense power concentrated at the top of the field won’t matter. The difference between hitting WashU and Irvine, Georgia and Rhodes—the difference between even Yale and UCLA B—just isn’t gonna matter for a team just trying to place: all of those rosters will probably take your ballots. If you’re gonna hit a juggernaut, you’re gonna hit a juggernaut. And that’s where this division's strength-related silver lining comes in. The teams in the bottom half of the division, pound for pound, are more or less equivalent to their counterparts over in Pohlmann, maybe a little easier. And there just isn’t as much congestion in the middle. So while a final round hopeful should want to have been placed over in Pohlmann, if you just want to be on the podium, BP&J might be your best bet.

Power Rankings:

1. Yale A:
Yale is back at the top of our rankings after an absolutely dominant season that saw the Bulldogs go undefeated at ORCS with a CS of 21, tied for the highest in the country. We want to be crystal clear about how historic an achievement that is. Yale is a team that has made its bones at the NCT: they get through ORCS by the skin of their teeth and then they tear up the competition at Nationals. Not one of the Yale teams that competed in a final round at NCT in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2021 went undefeated at ORCS. This year’s Yale team stands alone above the rest. And only now are they entering the part of the season in which they are most dominant. How do they do it? With talent like you wouldn’t believe. Everett Parker-Noblitt has destructive objection arguments and passionate rhetoric up his sleeve. Quinn Moss is quinntessential Yale: fast, aggressive, smart. Madeline Levin and Tacey Hutten round out their benches with rare technical ability. And it doesn’t stop with their bench. Grace Dodd has a cornucopia of awards. Fanney Bjargardóttir is the witness we all wish we could be—her Icelandic witness portrayals are charming and credible on direct, and the only thing frostier than her cross responses are the tips of cryer José Sarmiento’s award winning hair. The only negative thing to say about the Bulldogs is that they finished 6-6-0 at GCF against top talent—and we’re talking full-on sweeps of the Bulldogs. But they annihilated Patrick Henry A at ORCS in Cincinnati, which would seem to indicate that they’ve taken massive strides forward since January. On paper, based on talent, results, and history, Yale is the number one team in the country heading into NCT. Our only real question is how geography will factor into their results. Yale is heading into, shall we say, enemy territory. We have questions about how their aggressive, occasionally haphazard style will be received in Memphis. But we think that Yale can answer those questions and win it all. And let’s be honest, if Yale does win, if Yale even competes in the final round—if they can do it in Memphis—well, it’ll be the biggest spectacle AMTA’s seen in exactly four years.

2. Tufts A:
We always think Tufts is going to do well. And to our credit, they usually do. The last time Tufts truly fell short of our expectations was in 2019, when we predicted them to make a run and they sputtered to a 12th place finish. Since then, it’s been an absolutely dominant couple of years for the Jumbos—a run that features two consecutive second place division finishes at NCT. This team, like always, leans on its witnesses. Glorious Bombo is a reliable crier and Wesley Jansen is a silky-smooth character who has quite the sack of hardware for a sophomore. And then there’s Fatima Lawan. According to Tufts’ website, Lawan has won 11 witness awards in the last two years. Our membership has seen her as a crier, as a character, and as an expert—trust us when we say: anything you can do, she can do better. The attorney benches are hyper-technical and very consistent in something of a departure from the Lawan-Wilson-Marsden-Demsky benches of a few years ago. Those teams were more likely to blow their opponents up, but they could also implode on themselves. The Veglahn-Carson-Arora-Reese bench isn’t going to be as needlessly flashy—but they won’t make mistakes, they won’t overreach, and they will cut you to death with a thousand knives. Veglahn, in particular, is coming off of a double All-National award in Arlington and is among AMTA’s best right now. Here’s the catch: in 2021, splits with UMBC and UCLA sunk the Jumbos’ championship aspirations. The same kinds of results have been popping up on Tufts A’s tab summaries all year: splits with UVA, UCLA, and OSU at GCF, more splits with Emory and Baylor at ORCS. We have Tufts ranked right near the top of our NCT Power Rankings because they have absolutely insane talent and the track record at NCT to back it up. But do these pesky splits at GCF and ORCS signal a weakness—an inability to differentiate themselves in top rounds? We think it’s possible—but unlikely. Like Chicago showed everyone last year, if you consistently field great teams at Nationals, you will eventually end up in the final round. One of these years, it’ll be Tufts A’s turn.

3. Harvard A:
The team representing Harvard in Memphis will feature the greatest assemblage of talent in AMTA right now: Travis Harper II, Audrey Vanderslice, Jessica Alexander. An assemblage of talent so great that it couldn’t cut it in New Rochelle. How are we supposed to reconcile these two simple facts? How are we supposed to evaluate the defending NCT Champions when they’ve been knocked to the mat by UMass Amherst and UConn? The answer is a little easier than most people think. Nationals Harvard and main season Harvard are two completely different teams. Just look at the numbers: in 2022, the Crimson barely snuck through Regionals with 5.5 wins. Then they barely snuck through ORCS with 5 ballots. And then they lit the whole town of Lancaster on fire and burned it to the ground, slaying the puritans of Patrick Henry A, the libertines of UCLA A, and also the University of Chicago, where fun went to die. Sure, it’s easy to point at Harvard A’s 5-3-0 record at ORCS and say that they have no chance at defending their title, but they won the exact same number of ballots at ORCS last year, and it’s not like that record mattered in Amish country come April. And this time, they’ll be buoyed by members of a B team that earned 7 ballots. Harvard is sending a split-stacked team. They’ll send some stars, and they’ll also send some of those B teamers. A glance at the New Rochelle tab summary tells us that might be pretty good for Harvard: Dariana Almonte won a witness award at ORCS, and she’ll join her fellow All-National witness and final round standout Anant Rajan on a star-studded witness bench. Harvard’s signature blend of aggression, presentational pizzazz, and ruthlessness is always out in full force at Nationals—they simply hit another gear. Armed to the teeth with talent from their NCT-winning squad and their 7-win B team, we have them ranked right up near the top because we think they’ll find that gear again.

4. UCLA A:
Let’s not make this any more complicated than it needs to be. In 2019, UCLA placed 7th. In 2021, the next year nationals were held, 3rd. And last year, they placed 2nd. We don’t think we need to tell you where that trend is pointing. The Bruins come at this tournament from a pretty special place: they now hold the title of longest current nationals streak—not an easy feat when you’re fighting through the West Coast ORCS year after year. And even without TBC competitor Camille Schaefer and “Mister Funny” Andrew Moon, they’ve spent the last season reminding us that with the insane depth of their program and some of the smartest coaches on the circuit, this time they’re coming for the title. All-National seniors Emily Spears and Connor Nickson lead the team, paired alongside Ria Debnath, who several of our members describe as “scary good” and took the top award at GAMTI last fall. But the point, dear readers, is that the UCLA playbook is so effective at developing talent that everyone on this A team has the technical skills, presentation, and polish to outperform almost anyone else. But UCLA isn’t in old reliable Santa Monica anymore. They’re in Memphis, where we know less about how their style will play. This is a team that defines West Coast mock trial: hyper-performative, big witnesses, flashy exams. And at GCF, we saw that style yield respectable but not superlative results: 7-5 and an honorable mention. Is that a sign UCLA’s style might hold them back in Memphis? We’re not sure, and even if it does, this team is so good it might not matter. Since the new case problem was introduced for nationals in 2015, UCLA hasn’t quite made it to the final. Let’s see if this is the team that will break the streak.

5. Chicago A:
To quote the greatest piece of media produced in the 21st century (the smash hit mid-2000s television show Glee), being part of something special makes you special. So we’re pretty sure everyone on the Maroons’ A team roster this year should feel pretty special—and not just because they’re returning to Nationals this year as division champions. We mention this because, while we’re relatively confident this lineup from Chicago A isn’t a glee club (in fact, to the best of our knowledge, they’re a mock trial team), we do think they fit some archetypes from that show. Who else in the country could say they have a sports enthused, awkwardly milquetoast leading man and an all-time talent, unrivaled diva to parallel Finn Hudson and Rachel Berry? UChicago can, because they’ve got All-American Attorney Sam Farnsworth and All-American Witness Juliana Mothersbaugh. Who else could say they’ve got an absolute breakout star triple-threat and audience fan favorite to parallel Kurt Hummel? UChicago can. They’ve got returning TBC competitor and double All-American Ali Alekri. Don’t forget All Americans Max Fritsch and Judy Zhang, or Rookie Rumble Double Threat Ethan Donovan. They may have a little bit less name recognition than Mothersbaugh, Farnsworth, and Alekri, but just like Brittany, Artie or Tina, they’re stars in their own right. With all that talent, and the fact that they’re the second highest-performing team from Lancaster who’ll be in attendance in Memphis, will the Maroons be looking to go in a New Direction and walk out of another final round, this time with the Richard Calkins trophy along with them? We can’t tell you for sure, but we can tell you this: don’t stop believing.

6. Virginia A:
The nice thing about the University of Virginia is that even when we’re ranking them as the sixth best team attending this year’s National Championship, we don’t have to eat crow about saying they were experiencing a fall from grace at the start of this season. Because the facts are: the University of Virginia has had an objectively fantastic season—3rd place at Great Chicago Fire, a virtually untouched ORCS record, and enough individual award gavels to serve as kindling for a decently sized campfire (at the advice of some of our critics, we’ve decided to ‘get outside and touch grass’ more–and have learned a thing or two about how to survive in the rugged wilderness). Make no mistake, this team from Virginia is exceptionally talented. Julian Mosley has a fair case for being the best witness—or at the very least the best crier in the nation right now, Anna Dubnoff is a dark horse candidate for Virginia’s best shot at a TBC championship since Sabrina Grandhi, and Ethan Marx—for all the shit we’ve given and will continue to give him—is a captain with a resume no one in the country can sneeze at right now. And in choosing those three to sing praises for, we’re leaving out All-American expert Albert Kwon and All-American quirky™ expert Ryan Smith. So sure, there’s a lot you can say about this team being impressive. But facts are, for Virginia, none of this is particularly remarkable. Lest we forget, last spring this was also a team who was first place at last year’s Windy City Invitational, lost only a single ORCS ballot on their path to Lancaster, was filled with virtually the same talent pool this team has (and the cherry on top of all-time crier Indiyah Mabry and TBC big dog James Orr)—all to sputter to a mediocre, 5-7 record in April. Really, our analysis here is simple. The Cavaliers will always have extraordinary talent. They’ll always have great content. But none of that means a thing unless they can compress the timeline they can churn that level of quality out in, and we haven’t seen them able to do that in a long time—almost four years now. If the University of Virginia’s failure streak at Nationals was a child, it would be forming complex sentences. We’ll see if that streak comes to an end in Memphis.

7. Patrick Henry A:
It’s no surprise to see Patrick Henry in a top 10 spot in our rankings after their dominant run over the past few years. But let’s recap our logic anyway. You may recall that in the past 4 years that NCT has actually occurred, Patrick Henry has been right at the top. With two 4th place division finishes in that span and the likes of TBC champion Ben Crosby pacing the way, the Patriots have steadied themselves in the conversation for one of the best teams in the country. The question is: when is it gonna be “moving through to the final round” instead of “near the top but not quite there.” We’ve got them in our 7th position because we think they consistently have the knowhow and the talent to do well in Memphis. Don’t believe us? At a glance, you’ll of course notice TBC second chair and All National Attorney Caleb Knox. But if you “look a little closer,” you’ll see some less common awardees who are just as scary to go up against in the courtroom. Starting off, we’ve got a true double threat in Trinity Klomparens who took an attorney award at GCF earlier this year and just received All National witness honors. Then you’ve got former Gladiator Calvin Huh who has made the jump from their talented C team who qualified to Nationals a year ago. All of this is to say that Patrick Henry is primed to do well. They always are. So what stands in the way? If they want a shot at the final round, they might have to collide with the team that swept them back in Cincinnati in a close round 3. Keep your eyes peeled for a potential rematch between them and the only team to go perfect at ORCS, Yale. They might have to collide with the team that beat them back at NCT in Lancaster last year in a closed round 2: Harvard. Patrick Henry can break through to a final, but they have to start winning these big trials and beating these big opponents. If history tells us anything, though, we expect this team to prepare this new case cleanly, efficiently, and with the signature rhetoric that just about any judge will appreciate.

8. Rhodes A:
We have been doomsaying about Rhodes for a while. We have consistently ranked them lower than their TPR in recent years, and have pointed out weaknesses in their style. But that was before we found out that NCT will be in Memphis. Memphis is Rhodes territory. They have earned a bid from every single ORCS ever hosted in Memphis. That area is known to have an idiosyncratic judging style, but it’s one they play well to, so they will be facing an advantage over every other team. More notably, Rhodes has a long history of recruiting their loyal alums to judge in droves, and while they obviously won’t be judged by their own alumni, their signature style will play perfectly to the expectations of the Memphis judging pool—an advantage enjoyed by any NCT host. But even without a judging pool built for the Lynx to succeed, this team is rock solid. All-Regional awardees Julia Blackmon and David Caddle anchor the team’s witness benches, providing realistic yet entertaining characters and stunningly believable party witnesses. When it comes to attorney power, All-National attorney Veda Krumpe brings a style to the courtroom that’s drastically different from the legions of copy-paste attorneys who learned everything they know from watching the 2016 final round. While it may seem atypical to those who are accustomed to a particular style of mock trial, her distinctive argumentation will likely be appreciated by a judging pool that notoriously shies away from over-the-top performativity. That being said, don’t expect Rhodes to play boring. Their wild theories during the regular season showed that they’re willing to take risks when they want to, and they pair it with a clinical way of executing content that’s basically ingrained in the souls of their competitors. Rhodes will not be the most exciting mock trial team you’ve faced all season, but they will feel like real attorneys, real people, and that alone will be a  real threat to every single one of the teams on the circuit.

9. Florida A:
The University of Florida is nothing if not consistent. After a lackluster finish in 2019, their A team emerged from the pandemic to put together two nearly identical seasons: 8th place on Zoom in 2021 (their B team placed higher in the Nelmark division) and then 7th in Lancaster last year. We’ll be shocked if they don’t end up with their third podium finish in a row this year in Memphis. We know where their floor is. But where is their ceiling? Well, this team is carried into battle on the shoulders of their fearless leader, All-American attorney Mia Venezia. Historically, Florida isn’t a team whose success can be attributed solely to one or two spectacular competitors. They’ve never sent someone to TBC, and that’s in part because every single member of their team is incredibly talented—they take ranks from each other and ballots from other teams. Mia Venezia breaks that mold. She is a bona fide superstar with an enormous trophy cabinet. And also, everyone else on Florida A is as good as they always are. Nathan Heastie awarded at GAMTI. Brandon McKay is an absurdly underrated competitor—he should be on All-American watch in Memphis. David Ott is their program president and is just as good in the courtroom as he is managing the logistics that go along with running a five-team program. We don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this Florida team’s ceiling is as high as it has ever been—if not higher. The only thing that gives us some measure of concern are their results so far this year. Dropped ballots to Brown and Texas at Ramblin’ Wreck and to UNC Charlotte at Regionals are part of the cost of doing business. Very few teams at NCT this year escaped invite season or Regionals without a split here or a tie there. But UGA A soundly defeated Florida (-14, -15) at ORCS in Greenville a few weeks ago. Curiously, we have Florida ranked one spot ahead of their Georgian conquerors, which has little to do with the ORCS result and far more to do with Florida’s reliable track record at NCT. But it’s worth paying attention to the loss. If Florida wants to break through to a final round, they’ll have to beat teams as good as UGA—and teams that are better. We’ll see if they can.

10. Georgia A:
You know them, you love them and you certainly have heard these Bulldogs and their signature barks at closing ceremonies. But UGA defies the cliche of “all bark and no bite”, backing up their boisterous celebrations with talent that rivals some of the Ivy-League blue bloods that sit at the top of our list. But let’s start at the beginning. Coming to Lancaster, many of us doubted UGA’s ability to compete at the higher levels of the tournament, and they proved us wrong. Their good-for-all-timezones style and legitimate talent secured them a 3rd place finish on the national stage. Now, a year later, we’re expecting more of the same. Georgia walked through their Tallahassee regional with 6.5 wins and left ORCS with 7.5 wins and the first bid out to Memphis. But what’s impressive about the Bulldogs performance is the result in their A bracket round. Unlike their mediocre GCF performance, when they finished in the middle of the pack with just 6 wins, Georgia dismantled Florida’s A team in their highest round, +15 +14. But there’s something else that puts UGA in the top ten of our list, and it’s experience. No, not Nationals experience: Memphis experience. Georgia traveled up to Memphis for ORCS last year, and was one of just three teams in the field with proven success in the Memphis judging pool. And with the individual talent on their team, we expect UGA is ready to capitalize on that advantage. All-American attorney Bryan Walker and All-National attorney Justin Xu are the one-two punch on the UGA bench, the former with explosive charisma and the latter with steady, compelling poise. And then there’s their witness lineup: captain Rosie Coffie and exceptional sympathetic witness Sophie Tisinger form the backbone of the Bulldogs’ witnesses, and we’d be remiss not to throw in freshman Ryan Varma, the top witness at GCF. So whether you’ve got UGA in your final round predictions or not, watch out: UGA is only getting started.

11. Emory A:
They’re back again. Two years ago, Riya Lakkaraju’s Emory stormed to 4th place in their division and came home with their best result ever. Twelve months ago, Riya Lakkaraju’s Emory went into Lancaster as one of the favorites for Round Five and didn’t put the pieces together. And now, even though this isn’t Riya Lakkaraju’s Emory, even though star opener Sara DeLacey is gone, even though All-American witness Carson Sanford has hung up his British accent, we’ll be honest: this team still scares the crap out of us. Want proof? Since stacking this team late in the fall season, they went second at CUBAIT, second at GCF—and that latter record is notable because it’s exactly what happened a year ago when the Eagles went to Chicago in 2022. But stylistically, they’ve switched things up: the star on this bench is Danielle Jacoby, an All-American in her own right with some of the best objections in the country and methodical, incisive crosses that leave you nowhere to hide. Jacoby is joined by GCF award winner Guyberson Pierre, Rayna Gordon, and Fiona Liu, who keep things interesting with the same plentiful objections and aggressive crosses we’ve seen from tables of Emory past. The star of the Emory witness bench has got to be Hadley Byrant. She’s joined by veteran character Saanya Kapasi and freshman expert Pranay Mamileti. But while it’s undisputed Emory can bulldoze lesser teams, they’ve got two potential weaknesses against the teams they’ll find in high-high rounds in Memphis: first, they sometimes will try to push content farther than it’s written to go, or make ambitious in-round decisions that don’t quite pan out. And second, talented as they are, there are witness lineups that can probably outperform the Eagles. But Emory will arrive ready to avenge last year and we’ve got good odds that’s exactly what they’ll do.

12. Irvine A:
Tiny but mighty, the 6 person squad of UCI A is quite possibly one of the most terrifying names on our list here. Irvine A barely squeaked out of Santa Monica last year, and finished at Nats with a modest (but still respectable) honorable mention finish. Since then, they’ve upped their game to the max. They left ORCS this year with 5 All-National awards and a 7-1 record. Their path through wasn’t a cakewalk either. They swept TPR 10 team Stanford A during their A bracket round and ended their tournament against UCLA B (who, according to tab summaries, they’ve seen quite a lot of) with a +7, -1 split. The tight knit group has some of the highest concentration of talent you’ll see in a team. Their entire witness lineup are either All-Regional or All-National performers (expect tears from sympathetic Dianna Chang). Their two All-National attorneys, Josiah Jones and Varshini Srikanthan, hold down the bench on both sides of the case. The most beloved coach on the west coast, Emily Shaw, has produced the most frightening squad their program has had in a few years. If people want to take down the Anteaters, they’ll have to rely on some off-the-wall theory choices. Irvine knows how to write scripts and perform them well, but take them off what they’ve prepared and things can get dicey. That being said, a 7-5-0 record at GCF is evidence that they know how to hang in a pool of high profile teams. Their witnesses are engaging, their attorneys are powerful, and their content writing is sublime. It doesn’t matter what judge they get, chances are UCI A will know exactly how to win them over. So watch out for the Anteaters, because they are shooting for the top. Who knows how well they can perform now that Dylan Darwish actually has a reason to wear his cowboy boots.

13. Northwestern A:
Ninthw… I mean Northwestern has been perhaps one of the most consistent teams in recent NCT memory. Every year, as we sit on the edge of our seats waiting to find out which teams will advance to the championship round, we find solace in the knowledge that some things really never change. Northwestern will finish somewhere close to 9th place in their division. Although it may be fun to joke about, let’s be clear, you won’t be laughing when it’s your turn to duke it out with the Wildcats in Memphis. This is a team that effectively curb stomped Miami’s record as the program with the most consecutive National Championship appearances out of existence. Which tracks given the talent that this team brings to the table. Let’s take it from the top. Tahj Burnett and Will Hopkins are double threat forces to be reckoned with. Burnett is an All-American opener with not one, not two, but three All National awards as an expert, crier, and attorney. When Burnett enters the well, he’s smooth, clean, and concise, which we expect will fit nicely with Memphis’s slow-speaking, Southern judging pool. Hopkins is also an All-American, winning a witness award in Lancaster last year with what can only be described as the best “I-am-a-teacher” expert portrayal in the country. This duo will be joined by Abigail Roman-Ahlgrim and her jaw-dropping openings, as well as the perennially charismatic Ben Swedberg. With a lineup like this, it may finally be Northwestern’s year to advance themselves about eight positions ahead in their division. Here’s the issue: sometimes Northwestern just does too much for their own good. Their character witnesses are big, their experts have gimmicks, their speeches are dramatic, their crosses are accusatory, and it’s great for those of us that love a show. And yet, when everything is as big and flashy as it possibly can be, nothing is. Whether Northwestern chooses to play it safe or stick to their guns, beware. This is not a team that you want to underestimate in Memphis.

14. Michigan A:
Michigan, for the past few years, has been living whatever the AMTA equivalent is to the myth of Sisyphus. During the fall season each year, without fail, was their duty, they would roll their rock up the hill (winning invitational tournaments, terrifying the circuit, et cetera). Then, at ORCS, something would fail—they would drop ballots in strange places, fall short when it mattered most. The rock would come tumbling back down the hill. And these poor Michiganders, our Sisyphus, would have to follow it all the way down and begin pushing it up again. But maybe this year is different. Maybe this year, this team has what it takes to take the rock all the way up to the top of the mountain. This year, Michigan didn’t just push the boulder all the way up the slope—they ground it down, turned it into concrete, and poured it over their opponents’ heads. Michigan won CUBAIT and took the first bid out of Geneva with a record of 7-1 and a CS of 18. Michigan’s strength lies in their versatility: a glance at their ORCS instagram post shows a small team where the witnesses on one side are attorneys on the other. These include attorneys who, on most programs, would be double sided superstars: Roni Kane, for example, is a devastating crosser—and Michael Wilson will beat you on close before you even get the chance to get in the well. The question, of course, is how this team will respond to fast-prep. Michigan is proudly student run, and given their gap between NCT appearances, it may be difficult to adjust to the time frame. If they can come to Memphis with the same level of poise, polish, and controlled aggression they showed during the regular season, they will break the cycle, conquer the myth, and take home a title. If they can’t? They will start all over again. Either way: the struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill these Michigan competitors’ hearts. One must imagine Michigan happy.

15. Wisconsin A:
After their A team suffered a heartbreaking ending at the Des Moines Regionals, Wisconsin seemed to be teetering on the edge of a stunning end to their season. Enter Wisconsin B. The Badger’s B team stormed through regionals  at 7-1 and then improved on that performance at ORCS, winning 7.5 out of 8 ballots and sweeping Chicago A in Round 4. Now, here’s the thing: this is a B team in name only. Wisconsin split-stacks their teams, meaning that—in theory—their A team and B team have the talent equally divided between the two. That being said, Wisconsin’s A team was the team that went all the way to NCT last year. So the idea that their other team is just as good, if not better, is wild. Now, Wisconsin B has tweaked their roster just a little bit: their A team’s All-American and model for L’Oreal hair products Jackson Kunde will be rostered on this team, with an incredible cast around him. Lauren Stoneman is a closer on a tear for the Badgers—she’s on a three tournament awards streak, with more ranks at each one than the last (17 at Hoosier Hoedown, 19 at Regionals, and a perfect 20 at ORCS). She’ll tear you to shreds on close while senior Matt Moorhead will argue flawless objections and post identical outfit pics on his VSCO at the same time. This is an excellent mock trial team, and their biggest challenge will be the most obvious one: Nationals is an environment unlike any other, and the overwhelming majority of this team has no experience at this tournament. How much that will hold them back remains to be seen. But let’s be honest, any team capable of sweeping Chicago A at ORCS is worthy of being feared at any mock trial tournament, regardless of where or when it takes place. On, Wisconsin, to Memphis.

16. WashU A:
Before Regionals, we told you this team would tear through their competition, and they struggled. Before ORCS, we voiced some hesitations we had about this team, and they dominated. We almost decided to give up on predicting or analyzing anything about WUSTL and just make a bunch more nepo baby jokes here, but that wouldn’t really be right. The entirety of the Washington University in St. Louis team has proven themselves to be terrifying in their own unique way, and we would be doing a disservice to them to ignore it. Let’s start with what most people have come to realize this season: this is one of the sharpest groups of fake attorneys in AMTA. They’re incredibly responsive: if there is even the slightest logical inconsistency in your material, Demsky, Wiesman, Stern, and associates will put it through a paper shredder. Speaking of Demsky, Wiesman, and Stern—while we know those are the three names you’re most familiar with on that team (each with their own distinct style), WashU A’s incredible potential is really formed by their lesser-known members. William Choi (who, based on a very cute Instagram airplane graphic, joined WashUMT this year) is an incredible talent, as is Daniella Resch. If you’re thinking you’ll be able to avoid them, or hit them on a bad side… well, during the competitive season, WashU A was a six person squad. They didn’t have a side where their talent wasn’t active. Their problem may lie in the writing: sometimes, the content WashU produces can be hit or miss, even if the performance never misses. If their content is at 100% in Memphis, there’s a good chance this will be a great year for WUSTL.

17. UCLA B:
In 2011, UCLA B won Nationals. A team absolutely chock-full of superstars in their infancy—Iain Lampert, Brandon Hughes, Amanda Mundell, James Caress, Alexander Hill—won it all. This B team can too. After taking home a paltry 5.5 ballots at UCLASSIC this January, UCLA B went on a tear: 7-1-0 at Ramblin’ Wreck, 7-1-0 at Regionals, 7-1-0 at ORCS. Those two dropped ballots at Regionals and ORCS both came against UC Irvine. Their roster is stacked. Like their counterparts in 2011, UCLA B is chock-full of superstars in the making. Mayank Killedar and Nasier Muldrow both won All-National attorney awards after signing their names on practically every tab summary where their team appeared all season long. Drew Ashlock won a GAMTI award and has made his case to be the Drew Polito of the west. Arneet Gurtatta has been around for a long time—on both UCLA A and B, she has played emotional and character witnesses for the Bruins with gusto. The only thing standing in their way is how their style will be received in Tennessee. UCLA is known for a bombastic, performative California approach to mock trial. Aggressive crosses, big witness portrayals, oftentimes very “mocky” in how they speak. Will judges like this in Tennessee? It’s anyone’s guess. Now, we have a lot of faith in UCLA to adjust to the region they’re in—this is the most successful mock trial program of the last two decades. But it’s the only red flag we could think to mention. Everything else about this team looks downright dangerous. So how will they do in Memphis? Well, a few weeks ago, Bennett Demsky picked UCLA B to make the final on his publicly streamed phone conversation with Phil Pasquarello. We know what that means. UCLA B: congrats on just missing the final round.

18. Ohio State A:
We know, we know. “This team isn’t the same since they lost Eric Roytman/Mahmud Bari/Maddie Driscoll/Matt Besman/(did we mention Eric Roytman?).” It’s a narrative we admittedly have fallen back on a bit too much in the past few years, especially considering that most of Ohio State today didn’t even compete with those aforementioned superstars. But, in fairness, they hadn’t really looked the same. At one point, OSU had two teams placing top 5 in their respective divisions at Nationals. In the past two years, however, they didn’t place, finishing with losing records in Zoom Purgatory and in Lancaster. But there’s something about this Buckeye squad that feels a little bit different this year—in fact, it could be the best one we’ve seen at OSU since the Besman/Driscoll era. Let’s start with the results: Ohio State had an uncharacteristically strong invitational season, posting just two total losing records across all three teams. After getting a bid out of Regionals, they sailed through Cincinnati at 7.5 wins, their best record at ORCS in over 4 years. And as a team that constantly preaches about “having that dawg in em,” they’ve got just as much bite as they do bark. All-National Attorney Michael Ragnone can certainly make sparks fly in closing, and two-time All-American Witness and Secretary of Transportation Tamara Joseph is, in no uncertain terms, one of the best character witnesses of all time. Both of them are able to sway ballots in OSU’s favor and we expect both of them to be in contention to win an All American this year. But what makes this Buckeye squad even more impressive than the past two years is that their other pieces are just as strong. GAMTI award-winning attorney Leah Salit rounds out an impressive bench, and if opener Drew Polito spends half as much time prepping his parts as he does attempting to fix his hair in the courthouse bathroom, he’ll be a threat at NCT. Add in spectacular freshman talent like All-Regional crier Hana El Nemr, and this is a team that we think could make some waves in Memphis.

19. Notre Dame A:
Here at MAIMD, some of us have been calling this one for a while now. Some of us were made fun of for repeatedly insisting "this is Notre Dame's year" every year since 2019. And some of us are proud to say, yet again: this is Notre Dame's year, this time with evidence to back it up. Heading to Nats for the second straight season after a seven-year drought, Notre Dame certainly seems to be back. They've got some standouts in this year's squad, many of whom you've heard of before, including TBC 2023 selection, double attorney (we're ignoring his stint as a witness) and name-we've-run-out-of-bad-puns-for Charlie Stock. Their witness lineup is anchored by All-American Isabella Leak, and their roster is rounded out by All-Regional attorney Brendan McFeely along with some young talent we should all be keeping an eye on, like freshman James Loudenslager. Notre Dame punched their ticket to Memphis with about as decisive of an ORCS run as you can ask for—they swept Vanderbilt A and split with Michigan A, both of whom dropped no other ballots in Geneva, and definitively dismantled a Dayton team that had just swept Miami. So the big questions for the Fighting Irish are these: what changed to get them here in the first place? And will their trajectory be enough to take them further in Memphis than it did in Lancaster? While the latter will have to wait to be answered next week, we have some guesses on the former. Maybe it has something to do with their coach, Henry Leaman, who seems determined to build a #legacy out of Notre Dame Mock Trial to match that of his alma mater. Maybe it's the developing depth of their program that extends well beyond their big names. Or maybe they really have been good for the last four years and finally caught the right breaks at ORCS to show it. Either way, we're excited to see what ND does at the NCT, and we have a feeling they might be taking home some hardware.

20. Santa Barbara A:
Here at MAIMD, we do not doubt the words of The Queen herself. And no, we aren’t talking about the one who died this past year. We are talking about Beyoncé. So when Queen Bey said, “Who run the world? Girls,” we are inclined to take her at her word. Coaches Maddie Whalen and Hunter Wright have mixed sugar, spice, and everything nice to create the Powerpuff girls of the AMTA circuit. Except instead of adding Chemical X, it was Ballot Taking Juice. The Gauchos girlbossed their way to an 8-0 record at the Fresno regional and then reserved their ticket to Memphis by sweeping 2022 NCT team SLO A. UCSB is one of the cleanest teams you’ll ever see—every in-round decision is executed with precision. If you’ve taken a glance at any West Coast tab summary, you’ve probably seen Aleyna Young and Madison Thomas’s names under the Outstanding Attorneys column. But make no mistake, they’ve got strength on the stand as well. We’d recommend being on the lookout for party representative extraordinaire Emily Cardona. The second the case committee (the Bernstein Bears, as we like to call them) kills or wrongfully imprisons anyone, Cardona is going to be ready with the waterworks. Now, we know UCSB had a lackluster run at Nats last year. A 5-7 finish isn’t anything to write home about. And most of the members of that squad have since graduated. But remember how they started that tournament: a 2-1 victory over Tufts A that ruined Phil’s chance at another WatchMock episode with Bennett and co. UCSB knows good mock—all they have to do now is execute it. A UCSB win wouldn’t just make the feminists of AMTA happy, it would also bring a smile to the many many teams that have given the Gauchos SPAMTA in the past.

21. Berkeley A:
On paper, this team has the potential to go all the way. They won GCF, placed at UCLASSIC, placed top 5 in their division last year and are 13th in TPR. All the signs are there for this team to be in contention for the final round. And then you look closer and realize it’s not actually that team. A few weeks ago, Santa Monica had one of the biggest shocks of the season when Berkeley A didn’t earn a bid. Although they earned 5.5 wins, an amount that would have earned a bid at a few other ORCS, they lost out on a CS tiebreaker. Fortunately for them,the team that took their spot was their very own B team. The question now becomes, who’s actually going to Memphis? From what we know, the team competing in Memphis will be made up mostly from the team formerly labeled as Berkeley B, but will also have a few standouts from the team that won GCF. We’re not sure how big a role GCF award winner Daniel Sosa and All-National Attorney Ravi Patel will play on this team, but their Nationals experience and overall talent are sure to increase Berkeley’s odds at placing. And those increased odds might go a long way. While Berkeley A and B had similar records at UCLASSIC and similar records at ORCS, their similar records stop in LA. This isn’t the team who won GCF, this is the team who barely escaped the Seattle regionals with 5.5 wins. This isn’t the team who placed 5th in their division in Lancaster last year, this is a team with almost no nationals experience. If this was the team that competed as Berkeley A in Santa Monica, there’s a very good chance they would have been in our top 10. But even with a majority of this team coming from Berkeley B, we still think they still have a good shot at placing. Their attorneys will keep up with any team, featuring pre-season top competitor Pourobee Saha and All Regional Attorney Rachel Raps. They’re joined by All Regional Witness Paige Barrella to make a dynamic team ready to take Memphis by storm.

22. Tufts B:
Getting two teams to Nationals is very hard. When you’re a student-run team, it is damn near impossible. Emory did it in 2021. UGA did it in 2019. Yale did it a few times back in the day, and then they did it again in 2022—because Yale is a unicorn. Well, Tufts might be a unicorn too. For the second straight year, Tufts has qualified two teams to Nationals. Led by mustache-man Max Mitchell, the Jumbos stomped their way through New Rochelle and are headed to Memphis to try and repeat their appearance on the podium last year. But aside from Mitchell, who added another All-National award to his trophy cabinet in New Rochelle, this iteration of Tufts B appears quite different from the one that went toe-to-toe with Miami and Boston University last April. The team appears to comprise several Regionals award winners from Tufts D in Marsha Germain and Paige Duff (which makes sense, given that Tufts B initially failed to qualify out of Princeton Regionals), as well as some rising freshman stars: Aidan Connors and Seamus Gallagher, who both won awards in New Rochelle—the former as an attorney and the latter as a perfect 20 rank-witness. It’s difficult to use ORCS results to predict Tufts B’s performance in Memphis: this group split Brown A in Round 4 to earn their bid after crushing a Wesleyan A team that was a shell of its former self in Round 3 (+20, +5). They’ve yet to beat another team going to Memphis with them—it didn’t happen at ORCS and hasn’t happened all season. But they’re more than holding their own against that top competition, as the split with Brown would seem to indicate. With Mitchell in the driver’s seat again, this team has the talent and know-how to make it back to the NCT podium. They certainly won’t careen off the road. But we’ve yet to see a truly dominant result from this Tufts B team, a victory on multiple ballots over an elite team that says: we’re here, and we’re not going away. Memphis 2023 will be their opportunity to do just that.

23. Georgia Tech A:
Per the team’s request, we have not written about Georgia Tech.

24. Hillsdale A:
It’s the first morning of the Geneva ORCS, and Hillsdale Captain Caleb Sampson wakes up feeling… hungry. Not for his usual breakfast of Kellogg’s corn flakes dipped in ranch dressing. Not for another vest to add to his collection. No, this fine, frigid Geneva morning, Caleb Sampson is hungry for ballots. Rest assured—he (and the rest of his Charger Comrades) had plenty of opportunity to feast in the following days. The Chargers seized the means of ballot production from the befuddled judges in Geneva and cleaned clocks—taking home two bids, an All-National Witness award for Allison Dillow, all with a not-too-shabby CS of 14. There’s a roster here that’s a real and present threat. They’ve got Abigail Davis, a firecracker of a closer and a Midwestern menace. They’ve got Abbee Ewell, a sharp and polished opener who offsets her co-counsels’ aggressive style with pure charm. They’ve even got all-Regional witness Abigail Wagner, a Mundell-esque expert who is an absolute guarantee for a quagmire on cross. They also have some competitors who aren’t named Abigail or a derivative of it: for instance, down-to-earth expert Curtis Herbert and cyborg designed only for mock trial Caleb Sampson. Add to that list the team’s head coach, Johnathan Church, who’s been the man behind the curtain for Hillsdale’s rise to success the past couple of years. While we don’t often talk about coaching when we do these writeups—besides springing on occasional opportunities to take potshots at middle-aged men—we ought to acknowledge Church is a real factor in the potential we see for Hillsdale in Memphis. Of course, we have our worries about regional preferences here. Hillsdale’s “Yale but make it Midwestern” style might be a tough pill to swallow for a judging pool that, to put it lightly, might not be too keen on either component. But in the world of Midwest mock, without the looming, ever-present eyes of Schuett overlooking his kingdom, everything is topsy-turvy. We’ll see if Church looks to pick up Miami’s fallen crown.

Last edited by MockAnalysisIsMyDrug on Thu Apr 13, 2023 10:32 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : To insult Wisconsin more)
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2023 NCT Analysis and Rankings Empty Re: 2023 NCT Analysis and Rankings

Wed Apr 12, 2023 11:28 pm

25. Boston A:
If we told you that there was a team who has competed at the last three Nationals and finished honorable mention or above all three times, you might have some assumptions. You might assume that team would be at the top of our rankings. You might assume that team sailed through regionals and ORCS. You might think that it’s a team like Virginia or Berkeley or Emory. You would be wrong. While some of the top teams in our rankings have missed hearing their name called out at some point over the past three years, the Terriers of Boston have heard it in every single one of the last three years. So you might be asking, you just massively hyped this team up, why are they all the way down at 25? Well, that answer is simple. They haven’t shown they can beat the best this year. They didn’t attend any of the big invites this winter, so we can’t judge their performance against top competition, and they didn’t hit any team that advanced to NCT at ORCS. Our only sample size of how Boston has done against Nationals teams comes from Yale invite, at the end of the fall, and at Regionals. At Yale invite, they got swept by both Notre Dame and Haverford, and at Regionals, NYU A swept them, sending them to the open bid list. 0 for 6 against Nationals teams doesn’t look promising. But if there’s one thing that this team has, it’s the historical knowledge to do well at Nationals. Even though this seems like an off year, BU knows how to succeed when preparing a new case problem, and their knowledge of how to prep a Nats case could be enough to carry them to an honorable mention or better once again. Look out for All-National double threat and MTC celebrity Max Bearinger to add All-American to his resume and lead his team to another year of having their name called out at closing ceremonies.

26. Patrick Henry B:
For a brief moment in Columbus, Ohio, it seemed that Patrick Henry’s miraculous history of getting B teams to nationals in weird ways was at an end. Six bids were announced, and the behemoth that is Patrick Henry earned just one spot at the Opening Round Championship Series in Cincinnati, Ohio. However, in the famous words of the Mad Titan (Sue Johnson), “Dread it, run from it, destiny still arrives.” And now, it’s here—or should we say, Patrick Henry is. While this team did have to travel through hell, high water, and the absolute clusterfuck of the St. Paul ORCS, it was a small price to pay for yet another bid to the NCT. This certainly isn’t to say this team isn’t strong; they’re here for good reason, and with talent like All-National Witness GraceAnna Schmidt and All-Regional Witness Andrew Bleiler, we expect that PHC B will be able to bring the same aggression to the courthouse and competition that they have all season. Our main concerns with this team lie in the opponents that they’ve faced so far; simply put, they’re dropping ballots to teams that they have to beat if they want to earn a spot on the podium. Splits against Loyola and Pitt are concerning enough, but only two teams swept a Patrick Henry squad this AMTA season: Yale A took two off of PHC A at the Cincinnati ORCS, and the only group to do the same to PHC B was…Ohio State C. Losing rounds to teams that mathematically can’t attend ORCS, let alone Nationals, is not the most promising sign. However, this team is nothing if not resilient; if their comeback in St. Paul indicates anything, it’s that they won’t let the past hold them back in Memphis. Either way, we’re excited to see what they do on AMTA’s biggest stage.

27. Chicago B:
On Thursday, March 9th, 2022, we said Chicago B had a fair shake at being the best B team in the nation. That was a different world. A world where Patrick Henry, UCLA and Tufts hadn’t regained their prestige as two bid programs. A world where Harvard B hadn’t had their best run at ORCS in recent memory. A world where we didn’t yet know teams like NYU B were lurking in the C and D brackets of ORCS. But while Chicago B didn’t take the crown in their Round 3 matchup with Patrick Henry B (tying and dropping by a margin of one), we still have hope that they’ll make that prediction come true a little later than we called it by performing well in Memphis. Because nothing about the basis of our prediction has changed. This team is still just as chock-full of talent as it was at ORCS. Stephanie Yu and Elijah Bulie each walked out of St. Paul as All-National attorneys. And with larger than life characters like Carter Beckstein and Emberlynn St. Hilaire, as well as expert extraordinaire Alison Oh, this B team has been on or near the podium all season. But at Nats, the rest of the season isn’t what matters: when that new case drops, the entire slate is wiped clean… and that might be an issue for this team. We saw Chicago B struggle at NCT in Lancaster last year on the short turnaround, coming up just short of last place in their division. But if history is anything to go by, Chicago B’s other two NCT appearances on the nationals stage in 2021 and 2016 had them leaving with an honorable mention trophy, so this team will be hoping to show that 2022 was a fluke. And given that this is perhaps the most experienced B Team Chicago has had in a long time, we think they have a good chance of doing just that. In the race to B the (B)est you have to (B)eat the (B)est and we think this B team might just be the B’s knees.

28. Fordham Lincoln Center A:
Fordham LC are here to do what they have been unable to do in recent years: place at nationals. And this team might just be able to do it. This FLC team has had an incredibly strong season up thus far, going 7–1 with a 17 CS at both Regionals and ORCS. The best way to describe this Fordham team is CLEAN: it is not uncommon for this team to go an entire round without objecting. This may point toward a weakness in their team or it may point toward a strategic choice. Either way, this FLC team has gotten the job done and well. This success is due in part to their great witnesses like 2021 All-American Jessica Ball, who has awarded twice this season, including a perfect 20 ranks at ORCS. Their attorneys—Levi Griesling, Ava Weiner, and Nicholas Wesley—haven’t awarded at Regionals or Orcs this year. But, it would be a mistake to underestimate this bench because of that. Given all this, however, it is difficult to predict FLC placing in the top 10 this year. Fordham is no stranger to NCT, but they have failed to break into the top in recent history. Just last year, they finished with a strong 7–1 record at ORCS—winning the tournament—but then went just 5–7 at NCT, while hitting no teams who placed in the top 10. Similarly, in 2021, FLC went 10–2 at ORCS, placing second, but could not replicate that success at NCT, going only 7–8–1. The bottom line is that NCT is much tougher than ORCS. Even repeat NCT teams cannot crack the top ten; FLC is only of those teams, and, although we have reason to think they will have a strong performance this year, we aren’t convinced this team will fare any differently from their predecessors.

29. Florida B:
Don’t let the B moniker fool you. We have this team within striking distance of the podium for good reason. After all, there’s two things the Litigators are known for. 1) being one of the friendliest teams on the circuit. And 2) being the deepest team in the circuit. After all, every competitor for Florida for the last two seasons has qualified to attend ORCS. Yes, you read that right, they have gone 9 for 9 at Regionals. That’s both a startling and critical statistic, because it gives the dozen or so Gator coaches in the stacking brain trust a virtual all-star draft of competitors to choose from, even after they stack the A team. Historically, we know this produces strong results. The B team has qualified for Nationals in two of the last four tries. And in the most recent run, the B team placed 3rd. Just a single fourth round ballot away from a final round showdown with UMBC. This year’s group has already shown its ability to make a similar deep run towards Round 5. They’ve split teams like Texas, and South Carolina B. And even more impressively, they managed sweeps against uber-talented A teams from Furman and Georgia Tech. These are jump off the page type tab results that teams ranked higher can’t claim. These results come at the hand of competitors like Lorena Manasturean, a 20 rank All-Region witness, Evangelina Gavrilos, a 20 rank All-Region attorney, and Jayden Adjodha, their All-National attorney who was pulled up from the C team for ORCS (remember that all star draft?). With the Gators deep bench of veteran coaches, we feel confident the young talent of this team will be able to navigate the new case as well as or better than the competition. And with their signature out of the box demonstratives, zany character witness, and undeniably likable attorneys, we’re wondering if it might be great to be a Florida Gator come April 16th.

30. Texas A:
Mock trial is all about stories: the ones we tell to our two-person juries with blue ballots in front of them, the ones we create with our teammates and friends. UT Austin is a successful team because they know just how to tell a really fun story—and how to create one, too. Whether they’re dancing with you before round or afterwards in a parking lot, they’ll bring the fun. And the Longhorns won’t just be stealing hearts, they’ll be stealing ballots. This is a phenomenal squad who is returning loads of talent from their NCT team last year. At any point during round, it’ll be hard to steal the spotlight from All-American Witness Josianne Alwardi and her counterpart All-American Madhavi Subramaniam, both of whom have taken their fair share of awards this season too. Keep your eyes out for Sophomore sensation Anu Pillai as well. While this team is clearly talented, they haven’t yet had quite the level of success against top teams to move them closer to the upper echelons of our rankings. Finishing with a record of 5.5 after being swept by Rhodes in a high-high round in Arlington may be evidence that points to a middle of the pack finish in Memphis. But never count out what talent mixed with some NCT experience can do in the short turnaround time prepping for Nationals. At this time last year, Texas was qualifying to nationals for the first time in 7 years. Now, for a second year in a row, we expect this team will be back with a vengeance and competing for a spot on that Memphis podium.

31. Brown A:
If you keep knocking, eventually they have to let you in. It has been five long years for Brown. They had a brutal schedule that kept them from a bid at ORCS in 2019, they didn’t get to compete in Princeton in 2020, they lost in painful fashion in 2021 with a 4-7-1 record at their online ORCS, and they came just short of a bid last year in 2021 after splits with Wesleyan A and B. Nevertheless, they kept on knocking. And this year, at long last, they kicked the door off its hinges. They burst onto the scene in Georgia, one thousand miles away from home, winning Georgia Tech’s Ramblin’ Wreck tournament with a 7-1-0 record. They carried that dominance forward into Regionals, where they split the defending National Champions, Harvard A. In New Rochelle, things were no different: they beat a resurgent Wellesley B team, annihilated Holy Cross, and then split two NCT teams in NYU A and Tufts B. These are results that can’t be argued with—at least during the main season, there were very few teams who were better than Brown. That being said, NCT is a different beast, and no one on Brown’s roster has prepared an NCT case before. As for the competitors: this Brown team is led by Kiara Moon, a stalwart attorney who has been appearing on tab summaries for just about as long as anyone in AMTA. Moon is polished, plays it cool, and will out-open nearly everyone in the field. She’s joined at counsel table by Michael Chandler, who is the fire to her ice. Chandler has a dynamism, an energy that can completely turn a trial around. When that energy is paired with his technical ability, Chandler has the makings of an AMTA superstar. Look for Moon or Chandler to win All-Americans in Memphis. Their witness lineup is headlined by Alex Lee, who won an All-National witness award in New Rochelle. Make no mistake: this Brown team will be eager to excel at NCT. There are probably a lot of doors in the Memphis courthouse, and this group isn’t done kicking.

32. Georgetown A:
Georgetown is about as consistent of a program as they come. They are one of 14 teams to compete at NCT the past four years; they hover around 6 wins for regionals and ORCS every year; they come to nationals and underperform. Get ready because you’re about to see a lot of numbers. Last year, they sent two teams to Cincinnati going 6 and 6.5 wins respectively and earning bids, then flew to Lancaster where they got 3.5 and 5 wins respectively (out of 12). The year before that they got 8 wins at the online ORCS (out of 12) and proceeded to NCT to win 4 of 16 ballots. This year seems no different. After a 6-2 finish in Owings Mills, splitting to UMBC B and Princeton C, they traveled to Greenville where they once again earned 6 wins after splitting Kennesaw State A and Duke A. So you might be asking yourself, if you’re expecting them to flop again, why are they ahead of 16 teams? Carryover. Last year they flew two teams to Lancaster and while neither did particularly well, that’s 8 different NCT caliber programs they were able to hit and two full teams of competitors with the quick prep experience. It seems like most, if not all, of this team competed in Lancaster last year and that’s not something most teams can say. We think that the combination of their consistency and experience could push them into honorable mention or low placement territory. Look out for All National Witness Steele Schoeberl and All Regional Witness Rohan Patel to try to add All American to their resume.

33. Southern California A:
While this team may not have their very own Olivia Jade scandal to brag about, they certainly have a lot else to boast. Let’s start with their latest achievement, making it through the bloodbath that was Santa Monica ORCs while only dropping a ballot to UCLA A. That 7-1 record also got them through Santa Monica as the first bid out for two consecutive years. That’s quite impressive. Obviously, their coach is doing something right other than arguing with grandmas on MTC. The worry with USC is that they fizzled out at Nats, their 4-8 record not reflecting their success last year or their form this year. There is another concern, their form this year has been up and down. They started the year off slow, with their highest result at the early season tournaments they attended being 4-4. They did pick up steam as they got more time with the case. In the fall, they won 1st and 4th place at the H-Town Throwdown held by U of Houston (going 8-0 and 6-2 respectively), and third place at the Sundown Showdown held by ASU with 7.5 wins. They faltered again at Rebel Trojan, only earning 5.5 wins and a 6th place finish. Sure, they came into their own at ORCS, but there’s a pattern - they always start off cold with a new case or case changes and then warm up. If preparation time plays a factor in this team’s success, they have to have a plan for the short-term turnaround of NCT. What does help is they have NCT prep experience from last year. They know what worked for them and what did not. We’re sure Olu Orange has a few tricks up his sleeve, and he’s got capable people to carry them out in the likes of All-National witness Aishat Tiamiyu and double threat Ambika Nuggihalli. This team definitely has the talent to do well at NCT, but what remains to be seen is if they have the time. Clock’s ticking, Memphis is calling, and it’s up to the Trojans to make their mark.

34. Cincinnati A:
When it comes to mock trial (and frankly, in general) Ohio is nothing short of enigmatic. Reliable ORCS attendees like Duquesne didn’t move on from Dayton, Northwood failed to bid out of Cincinnati, and perhaps most shocking of all, Dayton B rode Miami A’s little red wagon all the way to a devastating +9 +11 sweep. However, Cincinnati A is back at Nationals for the second year in a row: and to those who’ve been Keeping Up With The Bearcats™ (copyright pending), it’s no surprise. After all, this team has only gotten stronger since last year; All-American Attorney Divya Kumar added All-National honors to her resume in Cincinnati, and she’s joined by TikTok sensation, #1 overall pick, and absolutely devastating All-National opener Jessica Lorenzo. Add another All-National in witness Cole Jorgensen, and this team is one that looks like they could be a sleeper in Memphis. So you might be wondering: why are they ranked at #34? Simply put, this team just hasn’t proven itself against top competition quite yet. It’s true that you can only beat the teams in front of you, and to their credit, Cincinnati has mostly done just that. But the highest ranked team they’ve hit this season is Juniata at 43 (giving the Eagles 6 of their whopping 10.5 CS points in one round), and a +8 -7 split sparks some concern for a top 10 or even top 20 matchup. However, if the results that Cincinnati’s put up this season are any indication, we expect that they have the talent to outperform the numbers–taking them lightly would be a drastic error.

35. NYU B:
Until about five years ago, NYU was one of the very scariest teams in AMTA. Downtown final rounds, All-Americans, TBC champions—you name it. We went back through the archives, and when MAIMD was founded during the 17-18 season, we had multiple members ranking them number one on this list. So there’s two ways to tell this story. On the one hand, it’s an inevitability, a sleeping giant awakened, ready to take back the glory once held by superstars like Ramos and Oliver. But there’s two ways in which the story is different this time. First, NYU is going uncoached this year, a stark departure from their storied past. And second, their A roster isn’t the team our money’s on. That’s because the good folks over at NYU B have taken a team that was lucky to go 4-4 at ORCS in 2022 and transformed it into a squad that swept Dickinson at New Rochelle to finish 7-1. It was the same story at regionals, when they split Dickinson, and it was…wait a minute, Dickinson twice? While we’re looking at a sample size of one, and while NYU is otherwise untested against top teams, those results are a serious indication that this is a roster which can go head to head with nationals caliber competition. Unlike their A team counterparts, NYU B doesn’t have any particularly standout performers, instead winning with the collective strength of an ensemble cast that includes fiery competitors like Syna Mehra and Jezabelle Velazquez. NYU B does have some hallmarks of the lethal NYU teams that came before them: plentiful objections, consistent witnesses, and that messy-but-engaging style that keeps judges captivated. That’s not to say NYU is back to late-2010’s levels of excellence—after years away from NCT, learning a new case in the distinct nationals prep time frame is going to be tricky, especially for a team with some newer members. But if NYU B’s breakout season has taught us anything, it’s that this team continues to punch well above their weight class.

36. Juniata A:
Juniata may be the luckiest team in AMTA history. After winning an OCS tiebreaker at the 2022 Cincinnati ORCS, they ended 6-6 in Lancaster. Now 6-6 is nothing to scoff at. It earned them an honorable mention, moved them up to 43 in TPR and with strong competitors coming back, they were obviously a threat for this year. But when you look a little closer at that 6-6 record, they had not one, not two, but THREE rounds where they lost two ballots by a significant margin and won one ballot by just a few points. And when we say significant margin, we’re talking -18, -19, -25. Numbers we’d expect at regionals, not nationals. But their +1, +1, +9 in rounds 1-3 respectively and a round 4 sweep of Furman A, who finished with the lowest record in their division, got them to that 6-6 finish. Now fast forward to this year and their luck has continued. They walked into Cincinnati as one of the top teams, they technically left as one of the top teams, but their path to get there was anything but top. Their 5.5 wins with a 10.5 CS started with a split to their D bracket team, Kentucky A, which sent them to the bottom of the bracket for the rest of the weekend. They then split their way through Rochester B and Cincinnati A leaving them at 3.5 wins after round 3 and here is where the luck really kicked in. When you look at the results of the B bracket in Cincinnati, you had four teams end with 5 wins, one end with 4 wins, and one team end with just 1 win. I’m sure you can guess which one Juniata played. They ended up playing a SUNY Binghamton team which, we have on a good faith basis, had many of the members of what was listed as SUNY Binghamton B at regionals. To get them as your B bracket matchup as opposed to teams like Case Western, Michigan State or Dartmouth is a massive stroke of luck. But that’s not all the luck they needed to bid. All 3 of those dangerous B bracket teams were 5-1 going into round 4 so if any of them even tied a ballot, Juniata would not be heading to Memphis. But, here we are. The cards fell in exactly the right way and Juniata is back at nationals for a second year in a row. Now we also want to make it clear, you obviously have to have some serious skill to get to nationals two years in a row. Witnesses AlexSandra Sanna and Emerson Strawser are no joke. And Dan Cummins has racked up who knows how many awards at this point. All Regional Attorney, All National Attorney, and this year he looks to add All American Attorney to his resume. With a little more luck, he might just do it.

37. George Washington A:
Two years ago, George Washington appeared on our NCT Power Rankings list as just one of two teams that bid out of a brutal online ORCS season with only 7.5 wins. Heading into nationals that year, we had our doubts, but not as many as you might expect. GW had essentially earned two bids to nationals in both 2020 and 2021, they seemed like a promising force on the rise that was finally about to show the world they deserved a spot on the national podium. But much like George Washington’s famous cherry tree, that dream was cut short. In 2021, GW finished with 7 wins right smack dab in the middle of the pack, then in the following year, they failed to bid to nationals at all. So here we find ourselves with the namesake of our first president sitting just one spot above where they were in 2021. It seems as if very little has changed since GW left the 2021 metaverse empty handed. But things have changed. For starters, GW has broken the curse of scraping by bids or SBB’s for short. They comfortably broke through the bloodbath of Washington DC by taking the 3rd bid out while beating a very strong American B team in the process. This team won’t blow you away with flash. It’s their steady, mistake-free, simple confidence that wears each opponent down. They have depth in their attorney’s from junior superstar Rahul Kothari, and all-national attorney Elisabet Lindskog, as well as witness depth from All-region witness Qasim Bilal. You can’t underestimate this team. They have the drive, they have the people, they have the history, and maybe this is their year to finally cross the Delaware and take home their trophy.

38. Penn A:
If we had a nickel for every team who earned a bid with 5.5 wins and a 10.5 CS, we’d have two nickels. That’s not a lot of nickels, but it’s weird it happened twice, right? Joining Juniata in this illustrious club is Penn A. Now, a bid is a bid, and Penn is clearly a talented team. But facts are facts, and a 10.5 CS isn’t very high. Especially when half of that CS comes from other Nationals attendee Haverford, who beat Penn +11, +4 in Round 1, sending them to the bottom of the B bracket for the entirety of ORCS. Their remaining 5.5 CS came from Howard B and Cornell A, who each went 1-7, and a decisive Round 4 that resulted in +1, tie against Penn State A, who ended their season at 3.5 wins. If we’re judging solely based on ORCS, this team might be lower. But there’s still 10 teams below Penn, and that’s because they have proven that they know how to do quick prep. The last time they were at Nationals just two years ago, they finished with a respectable record against a tough CS that included the eventual champs. But even more impressive are their members that made up the Rookie Rumble team that won the entire tournament. Katie Volpert and Sina Shaikh helped take down a UCLA team that they could easily be facing in Memphis. They also cleared out some top level competition en route to a 2nd place finish at Hilltop this January. Add in All National attorney Nick Hamilton, and this team has the potential to take on even the best teams here.

39. Indiana A:
The closing ceremonies of the Cincinnati ORCS were hectic. The room echoed with emphatic inter-team trash talk, sweaty hands of hopeful teammates clasped together, and the faint but unmistakable stench of first-year mockers who don’t know what a dry-cleaner is. You might not have noticed, had you been there, but beneath it all there was the soft but unmistakable sound of a man’s voice cackling. A man on the verge of victory. A man whose villain arc we started—and a mock menace we no longer have the power to stop. His name is Zion Miller, and this year, he took Indiana to the National Championship. Those who look at the Hoosiers in Memphis might not see much to worry about. After all, this is a program that hasn’t been to NCT in five years, but don’t forget, this is also the team who took home a first place trophy way back just a month after this case dropped. The team’s led into battle by captains and dynamic duo Izzy Arnold and Alex Ammerman, alongside 19-rank all-national attorney Madison Rosillo. Those who roll into round against them counting your ballots before they’re tabbed, do so at your own peril. Indiana is a highly aggressive, very intelligent, and rapidly responsive team – they proved that in Cincinnati when they split rounds against a Cincinnati team that shares a lot of those traits and a Tennessee team that was making a run at a bid. The margins of those rounds spell out the biggest concern for Indiana in Memphis. Indiana’s splits (+2, -14 to Cincinnati and +9, -12 to Tennessee A) could indicate a polarizing style. That style, if it plays well, could land them on the podium in Memphis. If it doesn’t play well… let’s just say Mr. Miller’s wild ride may come to a screeching halt.

40. Arkansas A:
This is one of those teams we’ve had our eyes on for years. Last year they were one of our Regionals teams to watch, and for good reason. Arkansas has had a clear upward trajectory in the past three years. From just missing making ORCS to being a solid contender the next year going 4-3-1, it wasn’t the most shocking news to hear that their next jump would be to Memphis in April. Even more so than that—they didn’t actually lose a single round through regionals and ORCS. Splitting with Emory A is no easy feat. It’s definitely an improvement from the -18, -3 round against them last year. Even with previous anchors like Thomas Davis gone this year, the Mock Hogs have come out swinging— racking up a ton of both individual and team awards. If you’ve attended a competition in the South (or maybe even the Midwest) chances are you’ve heard Julianna Kantner’s name getting said into a microphone when listing out Outstanding Attorneys. But she’s not the only name that other teams should be worried about. Multiple time award-winning witness Bryton Miller and All National witness Harrison Merrick have also recently made a name for themselves. We know that compared to a lot of these schools, these competitors don’t seem as scary, but don’t underestimate this team. They’ve shown that slow and steady improvement will pay off. But here’s the thing. Nationals isn’t slow and steady. The Hogs will be jumping straight into the deep end this weekend. So the question remains: can the Mock Hogs accelerate their steady improvement and swim among the sharks? Or will they sink under the weight of prepping a brand new case?

41. Hillsdale B:
Writing about Mock Trial, fundamentally, is a little boring. In order to make an activity where people emphatically argue jurisprudence as entertaining to read about as real sports journalism, we sometimes have to take some creative liberties. Assume drama when there isn’t any, presume unstoppable ambition when there’s really just excitement, over-hype the possibility of a team doing something truly exciting. All this to say—when we said “Hillsdale Head Coach Johnathan Church has an image in his mind’s eye of not one, but two teams of spiffy young vested lawyers holding big gold trophies when he gears up the Chargers for what comes next,” in our East Lansing preview last February, we sort of figured that was perhaps an overstatement. We thought, given Hillsdale only broke into NCT last year, that perhaps they’d take a slightly more gradual incline of success before literally doubling their program’s greatest achievement thus far. Apparently, we were wrong. Apparently, the Chargers are in fact, perfectly ready to be a two-bid program right now. Apparently, Hillsdale B competitors Patrick McDonald and Ethan Tong took one look at our writeup and thought “alright, bet.” Hillsdale B has evident talent—freshman Patrick McDonald has an All-Regional and All-National attorney award streak and for all we know will be shooting for the triple crown, and he’s joined by another All-Regional attorney in Natalie LeBlanc. However, the usual disclaimers do apply. Little NCT experience, young competitors, a region of the country they’re entirely untested in—-all of these are things should, in theory, cut the Chargers’ ballot count down enough to prevent them from making the podium. But this crop of Chargers doesn’t seem all that interested in what’s “supposed” to stop them from succeeding. We just have a feeling about this one. Keep an eye out for Hillsdale B.

42. UT Chattanooga A:
Tennessee Chattanooga got out of ORCS in what can only be referred to as a scramble. Let’s start with their regional path—a path that did not see them get a direct bid. Losing to Georgia Tech and then splitting with UNC Chapel Hill left Chattanooga with a 5-3 record and a spot on the open bid list. Once they got off, they landed in Greenville, South Carolina, and did exactly what they needed to: earn a record of 5.5 wins. After a loss to Florida and a win/tie to Georgia B, with a CS of 14, they took the last bid to Memphis. To be clear: Chattanooga squeezed out this record with a +1 ballot. Chattanooga also beat out Furman for the spot by 1 OCS (yes, OCS) point. While they are always dangerous at ORCS, this year the Mocs are unquestionably a lucky team. But luck will not be enough to conquer the field ahead of them at Nationals. They’ll need their competitors to be in top form. Competitors like All national attorney Stacy Cunningham and double threat Savannah Simpson. This isn’t a team filled with familiar names. But it is a team that knows how to deal with nationals. Longtime coach Erika Hyde has brought teams to the promised land before, and with so many teams that have less experience working in the Nationals timeframe—that might give Chattanooga the edge they need. But let’s call it how it is: we don’t see Chattanooga being in the final round. That much is clear from our rankings. But we also wouldn’t be surprised if they kept other teams out as well. In other writeups, we would call this team a bid-killer. For this tournament, we see them as a podium bouncer.

43. Haverford A:
If there’s one team to stand out from the other 47, it’s Haverford A. Let’s start with the facts. Fact #1: This is the only team to bid at 5 wins. It took 5.5 wins or more to earn a bid at the other seven ORCS including six teams who earned 5.5+ wins and did not earn a bid. But because of a cluster of teams at 5 wins in DC, Haverford became the sole 5 win team to advance. Fact #2: This is our lowest TPR rated team. Ranked 155, this team has the least amount of success over the past three years. So why are they not our last place team? Well that brings to Fact #3: They are one of the only teams to play two teams who will be in Memphis and survive. The fact that they played both Virginia A and Penn A as their A and B bracket groups and survived shows that they can put up a fight against the best of the best. While they lost to Virginia A, both ballots were extremely close at -1 and -5. Close enough that with three or four judges in Memphis, that could easily turn into a split. Then they actually beat Penn A, going +4, +11. Being able to sweep is what gets you to place, and this is one of not many teams that’s shown an ability to sweep an NCT team. So yes, they have the worst TPR, yes they did the worst at ORCS, but if we’re looking at who can do well in Memphis, they are certainly not the worst. Will they place? We’re not so sure of that. But they certainly have a bright future ahead. Both their ORCS award winners: Witness Rebecca Stern and Attorney John Donovan are juniors., and we count just one senior on this roster This year and next will be where Haverford can prove if they are a program on a 5 year cycle or a nationals caliber program that is back on track.

44. Baylor A:
Baylor’s name was mentioned only once at the Arlington closing ceremonies. No individual witness awards, no individual attorney awards. But if your name is only called out once, you want it to be the way Baylor’s was: First bid out, with the only 7-1 record and ahead of giants of AMTA: Rhodes, Tufts, and Emory. So why is this team down in 44? Well, 5 of their wins were close—plus one, maybe plus two. Their split with Tufts—to be clear, an impressive feat for any team—was still a +2, -23 for the bears. And as far as we can make out, that was the only round this season in which Baylor went up against nationals-caliber competition. But that’s not to say Baylor is dead in the water. For starters, take a look at the Baylor style: passionate, bombastic, shall we say Rhodes-ian? In any other region, the Baylor playbook might polarize but in the Memphis judging pool we think Baylor has found a home turf away from home. And remember, this Baylor team is a split-stack of their A team after going 4-4 at regionals and their B team, which earned the bid. Even though they don’t have nationals prep experience (and even though some of their members really don’t like the new case on the Confessions page), successfully combining two teams and adapting to ORCS case changes is a good start. So although we’re probably not expecting Baylor to place in their first NCT appearance in recent memory, we’ll give you our best bet: they’re going to go into an NCT round as underdogs against a better established competitor, and they’re going to walk away with a ballot or two. Look for Grant Morrison’s passionate objections, Krishna Kandury’s compelling speeches, and Chloe Solis’ energetic crosses. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re TPR rank 1 or 100. It doesn’t matter if you’re the defending national champions, or if you’ve got 15 coaches. If you go into a round against Baylor, they’ll come out swinging.

45. NYU A:
How is NYU A, a team with (from what our members have seen this year) better individual performers, losing out to its B team by 10 placements? The answer to that question lies hidden in tab summaries from the past three months. Let’s go back to the Chestnut Hill Regionals: Team 1716, NYU B, goes 7-1 and takes the first bid out, while team 1715, NYU A, squeaks through with a 5-3 finish. And now, to New Rochelle ORCS: yet again, NYU B trounces the field and goes 7-1. But at closing ceremonies, NYU A isn’t called. They’ve gone 5.5-2.5. Only after an AMTA intervention a week later is NYU given the extra 1.5 ballots, the tab summary is changed to 7-1, and NYU is swapped in for Maryland. So we’re left with some questions: how are we to rank an A team that 1) keeps getting outperformed by its counterpart and 2) didn’t initially bid? NYU’s placement down at 45 reflects some trepidation about how far this team can go at Memphis, but that’s not to say they don't have strengths. In New Rochelle, NYU A minted All-National attorney Ayslin Exum, joining top performers like attorney Ginger Semko and multiple award winning witnesses Max Kornfield and Curtis Feliciano. And don’t forget: at Chestnut Hill in February, NYU A was the team to sweep Boston University in round four and relegate Max Bearinger to the open bid list. If NYU can stick the landing on Nationals prep and unleash its top performers on the field, we feel confident they’ll outperform spot 45. But that’s a tough code to crack, and (as we mentioned in NYU B’s writeup) they’re doing it without the previous benefit of coaches. And who knows? If the tab cards fall the right way, we might see New York triumph over Boston once again.

46. Macalester A:
The Mall of America, the nation's largest mall, a shrine to American consumer culture, and the perfect metaphor for this Macalester team. MoA and Mac are twin flames in the twin cities who share the same eclectic nature. One combines an aquarium, theme park, and a Macy’s under one roof; the other a clever and nuanced style with a classic midwestern friendliness. So what does this mean we should expect for Macalester’s NCT performance? It’s hard to say. Just like the slow death of the mall over the last decade, Macalester has struggled when it comes to ORCS and NCT in recent years. The Scots, who used to be regulars at Golds some two decades ago, haven’t seen the Nationals stage since 2015, when they only won a single ballot. This year’s team might be headed down the same path, because as far as we can tell, they’ve only taken one ballot from any of the teams who will join them in Memphis. A measly +1 in a round against Tufts B when the two faced off on the National Mall at Hilltop. And that iteration of Tufts B didn’t even get out of Regionals. Sure, Mac put the nail in the coffin of a 9th ranked UMBC at ORCS, but they also were swept by an unranked Loyola B team in their own backyard. That’s not to say that Macalester has no chance of taking home a trophy this April. This team has more stars than the Mall of America logo (the logo just has one) with four recently minted All-National competitors. Witnesses Sariya Stowers and Lia Pak as well as attorneys Austin Wu and Jeremy Harbinger will all be hoping to stand out as Mall-Americans. It’s hard to say Mac is going to win a lot of ballots in Memphis, but maybe they’ll find within themselves the spirit of team founder Toby Heytens and win them mall.

47. Fordham Rose Hill A:
Here at Mock Analysis, we are reasonable people. While we often find ourselves wading in the depths of profound legal debates, slowly removing our monocles as we deliver our searing rebuttal with a slight British affect, and, in one instance, resolving a disagreement about whether to list a team fifth or sixth in the ORCS bubble by fighting brutally to the death in the Colosseum, at the end of the day, we are just as reasonable as you. And as reasonable people, we can all agree on one thing: Fordham Rose Hill’s bid was among the most unexpected of the season. Now, this isn’t to say that we don’t support underdog teams and celebrate their victories right alongside them. We do. But the very reason we are happy for Fordham is the same one that landed them at the bottom of the list. At Regionals, they took 1.5 ballots from Maryland A, which, although they won’t be competing at Nationals, is indisputably one of the most formidable opponents in the country. At ORCS their most impressive result may be taking both ballots off of Wesleyan—but they only won by a single point on each ballot, and Wesleyan only earned 2.5 ballots throughout the entire weekend, suggesting that they shouldn’t have been a legitimate threat to a Nationals-caliber team. At Nationals, the ability to stand out against your very polished opponent is half the battle. The heavily awarded double threat Emily Hines and leading senior Jonah Harwood will try to push this team to have that sort of stand out performance. It’s notable, however, that at ORCS, Fordham walked away without any individual awards. This indicates one of two things: the first is that the team is equally strong across the board, and that no single individual outshines their teammates; the second is that the team lacks the showmanship and performance style needed to stand out amid experienced competition. Whichever it may be, only Nationals will tell. Until then, we bid the Rams good luck. Prove us wrong. Ad Maiorem AMTA Glorium.

48. Seton Hall A: Ok, we won’t try to hide it. We’re quite bad at picking the Mr. Irrelevant of Nationals. Twice we’ve placed a team here that ended their weekend with a trophy. So while no team wishes to be in this spot, there may be some luck that comes with it. And for whomever ends the weekend with the 48th best record, let’s not forget what they call the last place graduate from law school: esquire. Seton Hall will have quite the sea of monsters to navigate in order to rise in these rankings. History tells us preparing a new case to an NCT caliber can be a deadly riptide for first time attendees. But there’s reason to believe the Pirates from South Orange might find treasure in Memphis. After all, their swashbuckling style took ballots from not one, but two NCT regulars in Howard and American. Proving they can make some elite teams, like those they will see in Memphis, walk the plank. At the helm for Seton Hall you’ll find a lethal combination of seniors. First, All-National witness and President of the program, Captain Zachery Dora. Alongside him, a first mate attorney with as many awards as any at this tournament (15, to be exact), including not one but two All-National attorney awards, Isabela Toovey. This is a program whose tide has slowly risen. They’ve expanded to a fleet of 3 teams. They’re hosting a well respected invitational. They’re a reliable ORCS attendee. And now they’re sailing through uncharted waters. We’ll just have to see if they can walk out of Nationals with booty in hand, singing their siren song: “yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for we.”
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