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2018 Regionals Analysis Week 4 Empty 2018 Regionals Analysis Week 4

Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:19 pm
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Hello! We are a national collective of present and former mockers with experience at all levels of competition in every region of the country. The perspectives included here reflect our aggregated knowledge of individual programs and their members, the results from teams’ performances at invitationals during the fall, programs’ historical ability, exhaustive Facebook stalking, and, sometimes, just our hunches. Before you dive in, here is a breakdown of terms that we commonly use in our analyses:

Average TPR - one of the several metrics we use in making our predictions. Each year, ATMA produces a national ranking of teams based on their performance over the past three years at ORCs and Nationals. These ranking are called the Team Power Rankings (TPR) and give a reasonable indication of a program’s strength. For each region, we average the ranking of all teams (after assigning a rank of 277 to all unranked programs, as the rankings stop at 276) to provide a general sense of what level of competitiveness an average team that you might face will have. For reference, remember that only the top 48-50 teams attend Nationals each year, and that only 192-200 teams compete at ORCs. So, if a tournament has an average TPR of 215, you would expect an average opponent to be just below the level of skill that you would see from the weakest team at ORCs. Of course, rounds two and three are directly power matched such that the better you do, the better teams you should expect to face.

TWS - another metric for making predictions. AMTA bases their rankings on points calculated by 5x(ballots at nationals last year)+3x(ballots at nationals two years ago)+1x(ballots at nationals three years ago). Teams that did not make it to nationals in a given year are awarded one half ballot for each ballot won at ORCS instead of the national ballots and these ballots are entered into the same formula as above. Average TWS looks at the average number of points earned by teams in that region. So, for, example if a tournament has an average TWS of 6, that would be the equivalent of each team having earned 4 ballots at ORCS two years ago, or the equivalent of all the teams having gone to nationals and earned on average 1.2 ballots. Clearly there are different ways for teams to earn high TWS, but generally the top TWS earners are the top performers at Nationals (Yale and UVA have TWS’s of 59 and 56.78 respectively). Teams that have not competed at ORCS in the last three years have a TWS of 0. A higher average TWS means a harder region.

First In - these are the teams who we are expect to qualify for ORCs this year.

Bubble - these are the teams who we think have a real chance to qualify for ORCs, but for whom qualification is not assured. If you took all the teams from our First In and Bubble categories, we expect that you would have a list that includes every team who will advance to ORCs this year. We try to keep our bubble lists exhaustive without being too large to be helpful.

Team to Watch - these are the teams who have caught our eye. Typically, we highlight teams who we consider will perform unusually well throughout the year, or who we think are at risk of notably underperforming relative to their ranking or historical ability. Sometimes, we just want to have some fun (e.g. Week 3, Cincinnati Regional).

Buffalo: (23 teams) "the usual suspects" (average TPR: 207, 3rd) (average TWS: 6.54 , 6th)
- 6 teams in top 100, 7 in top 200
First In
Rochester A
Wesleyan A
Syracuse A
Hamilton A
Cornell B

Wesleyan B
Rochester B
Dickinson A
Syracuse B
Cornell C

Initial Thoughts
This tournament takes the national trend of several strong teams surrounded by far weaker opponents to its extreme. With the greatest number of top-100 teams of any other region, the qualifying list should prove predictable as 2017 nationals-veterans Wesleyan and Rochester lead a pack that boasts consistent ORCs appearances over the past five years. Rochester, especially, which sent its A and B teams to Nationals last year should dominate this tournament as its erstwhile B team members assume leading roles on its A team. This is in contrast to Wesleyan, a program that has only recently come to enjoy competitive status and whose success in this region is comparatively less assured. These schools should have no trouble dealing with the low or unranked programs that constitute the majority at this competition (nearly half the field does not feature in the 2017-18 TPR top-276 teams). A word of caution to the favorites, however: a field this top-heavy may see some of those strong teams pitted against each other during the power-matched 2nd and 3rd rounds. Do not be surprised if one of the top-6 gets unlucky with its draws and fails to make the cutoff for ORCs, while a weaker team qualifies with an unusually low CS.

Team to Watch
Wesleyan University A – after a meteoric rise from the open-bid list in 2014-15 and 2015-16 to a 7th place Nationals finish in the Wlodarczyk Division in 2016-17, dismal performances at GAMTI (21st/24 teams) and Yale (3-4-1) suggest that Wesleyan A has struggled to cope with the loss of five of its six A-Team members. Although Wesleyan saw successes against weaker fields at the Hooter and Guardian Invitationals, we are left wondering if they will continue to fold against stronger opponents having lost a powerhouse lineup of award-getting witnesses in the form of Molly Muoio, Erica Arensman, and All-American Roman Darker (who now competes for Rhodes B). Hope may remain, however, in the form of two veteran attorneys: Heather Pincus and Zenzele Price. Both Price and Pincus won attorney awards at GAMTI and Yale this year and, respectively, competed for Wesleyan A and B at ORCs last year. We expect Wesleyan to approach the post-invitational season with a hunger to prove that GAMTI and Yale were flukes and that Wesleyan can avoid becoming cannon fodder for competitive programs at ORCs.

Chapel Hill: (22 teams) ‘history is put to the test’ (average TPR: 213, 7th) (average TWS: 6.98, 3rd)
5 Teams in top 100, 7 in top 200

First in:
Georgetown A
American A
Richmond A
Delaware A

Patrick Henry B
Patrick Henry C
Georgetown B
American B
Florida E
Florida F
Duke C
Delaware B

Initial Thoughts:
Another very tough East Coast Regional pits what remains of the elite DC-area schools against each other. Georgetown consistently dominates the regional level and then struggles upon reaching ORCS. Their invitational showings give no reason to expect any change with their performance and we expect to see two more teams from Georgetown making it to ORCS. American (or should I just call it the Anna Mehrabyan squad) has historically been very strong, and their A and B teams were excellent at the William and Mary Colonial Classic, but aside from this one tournament where they placed 5th, American is yet to have a very strong showing this season. In fact, we have major concerns after a 2-9-1 performance at GAMTI. After last year’s disappointment in which  American’s B team didnot make it to ORCS, look for them to rebound and earn back that second bid.  Richmond seems to be in a similar position. Here too we have a top 25 team that hasn’t quite shown the domination in the invitational season we have come to expect from them. Delaware, another historically strong program, failed to make nationals for the first time in recent years, last year, so they are definitely looking to make it back, and hopefully bring their B team as well. . Delaware’s invitational season has featured a good 6-2 showing from A and B at a fairly weak Temple tournament and middle of the pack showing at Haverford (A went 5-2-1 with a low CS and B went 4-4). Again, we definitely would have liked to see more dominance from Delaware as they rebuild and attempt to get back to the point they were at a few years ago, but we still expect it least one of their teams to make it to ORCS again. The story of this invitational will be all these B teams duking it out for 3 spots. But look also watch out for teams like Patrick Henry, Duke, and Florida, with lower teams coming to this tournament, trying to steal a bid. This is a deep tournament with a lot of bubble teams. Anything could happen.

Team to Watch:
Georgetown University - Georgetown started out this invitational season with a poor performance (3-5) at carolina classic, followed by absolute domination at the Wake Forest’s Demon Deacon (6-2, 8-0), with victories over Richmond, Vanderbilt, and Eastern Kentucky. Georgetown then had a fairly weak showing Duke (3-5). They then returned and dominated at Penn State with both teams at 7-1. Only splitting with La Salle and Yale. Their B team, impressively swept Tufts, Michigan State, and Maryland, and their A team  swept La Salle B, Michigan State, and Cornell. Georgetown has also, impressively, had 7 different people win witness/attorney awards. Also, despite being from a large school, Georgetown is completely student run, which is quite rare for the top teams. A strong senior class, led by Alex Potcovaru, looks to make this A team quite formidable. Despite their recent successes at regionals and their deep program, however, Georgetown haven’t yet managed to make it to Nationals. That said, they have been steadily improving over the last few years, and this year they are certainly looking to really make a name for themselves. Making us more optimistic is the fact that their dominant ‘C’ team from last year was almost all underclassman. Strong attorneys like Obi Atumah and strong witnesses like Marshall Webb from that team will be returning this year and looking to improve on last years impressive results.

Chestnut Hill: (27 teams) "the darkest of horses" (average TPR: 211, 6th)(average TWS: 6.33, 7th)
- 3 in the top 100, 10 in the top 200

First In
Harvard A
Harvard B
Boston University A
Brown A

Brandeis A
UMass Amherst A

Initial Thoughts
This tournament punishes a slew of lower-mid-tier teams (New Hampshire, Amherst College, Bowdoin, Suffolk, Colby, Boston College B) who may have come close to attending or narrowly qualified to attend ORCs in the recent past, but will struggle to find ballots against this field. Though they might in another region, none of these teams are quite strong enough to warrant a classification of "Bubble," but we would not be surprised if one lucks out with some easy rounds and is able to slip past the leaders into a qualifying spot. Our four favorites should blow past the rest of the field and qualify without trouble even if they drop ballots to each other in one of the power matched rounds.

Team to Watch
Boston University A: After just missing out on a Nationals bid (by one ballot) at the bloodbath that was last year’s Central Islip ORCS, Boston University is doing very well this year. They started out with middling performances for both of their teams at Tuft’s Mumbo Jumbo Invitational (although some of that may be because their A team had the misfortune of hitting both NYU teams back to back), but then came back strong to take third and fourth place at Brandeis with records of 6-2 for both teams, and second place and honorable mention at Yale (their B team only losing to Yale). They also had an impressive showing at both of the last two tournaments when it came to individual awards with 6 awards at Brandeis and three at Yale. Of particular note is attorney, Natalie Garson, who took home a 19 rank award from Brandeis and another 19 ranks from Yale (the top attorney in that division). This program as a whole has also been pretty consistent with talent coming from both their A and B teams in the fall. They may choose to stack (or re-stack) and make their A team even stronger, or they may choose to stay as is and take two bid, either way, BU seems poised for success this season.

Claremont: (28 teams) ‘Double Take’  (average TPR: 223, 15th) (average TWS: 5.01, 24th)
3 Teams in top 100, 9 in top 200

First in:
UC Davis A
Scripps A

Pomona B
Cal Poly Pomona A
UC Davis B
Fresno C

Initial Thoughts:
This is a unique regional. There are plenty of new programs here just getting their feet wet in how Mock Trial works, and what better place to do so than here!? The majority of teams here are either first time programs, new-ish programs or lower level teams from big programs with newer members. However, for experienced teams here, this is great news! We expect to see the top teams have crazy high ballot wins as the great rift in competitiveness will become evident.

Team to Watch:
USC A. Despite losing many of their all stars like Troy Raider back during their 2016 National run, they’ve since invested in young talent. Just last year they not only got a bid to ORCS in arguably the most competitive regional in the West, but they did so with having some of their competitors still in high school (seniors who were early admit)! And it seems like it’s paying off. We’re seeing competitors like Yvette Lopez arguing objections like we recite the alphabet and 2 other competitors getting perfect ranks in San DIego whilst having 2 teams place! USC isn’t just recruiting talent, they’re creating it.

Colorado Springs (14 teams) ‘no room for error’ (average TPR: 203, 1st) (average TWS: 6.32, 8th)
2 Teams in top 100, 6 in top 200

First in:
Arizona A
Colorado College A
Texas Dallas A
Air Force A
Denver A

Arizona B
New Mexico A
Colorado College B

Initial Thoughts:
This regional is SMALL, with only 14 teams from 8 schools. And while the field lacks any dominant teams, it is full of consistently decent schools - 7 out of the 8 schools at Colorado Springs have experience competing at ORCS in the past 3 years. This gives Colorado Springs the highest average TPR of any regional, which could make it difficult particularly for the mid-level teams trying to break through. In addition, this year’s Colorado Springs competition is missing the traditional 0-8 regionals fodder, like last year’s Westminster and St. John's College. The number of competent programs, combined with the relatively small number of bids, makes this competition difficult to predict, but expect to see experience win out.

Team to Watch:
Colorado College - In 2014, Colorado College came out of nowhere, racing to a top-20 National Championship placement in their first year as a program. In their four-year history, Colorado College’s A team has looked nearly unstoppable at the regional level, with records of 8-0, 7-1, 7-1, and 6-2. For three years in a row, Colorado College has cruised through to ORCS, and for three years in a row, they have fallen short of qualifying for the National Championship Tournament. Last year, they looked like a sure shot for the National Championship after dominating the Colorado Springs field and sending 2 teams to the Geneva, Illinois ORCS. Their A team, after going 8-0 at Colorado Springs, faced frankly terrible luck at Geneva, where they faced three national-level threats in Michigan A, Michigan B, and Chicago A. So while Colorado College hasn’t yet recreated the magic of their first season, they have shown that they can hang with some of the top teams in the country, making them a dominant force at regionals. We don’t expect this year to be any different. While their 1-7 performance at CUBAIT in October doesn’t look great, the fact that Colorado College is choosing to push themselves with a difficult tournament schedule means they could be a terror come February. Cole Simon, who won both attorney and witness awards as a freshman at last year’s ORCS, returns, as does a strong roster of seasoned competitors with something to prove.

Orlando: (28 teams) ‘I’m going to Disney World’  (average TPR: 226, 18th) (average TWS: 5.36, 19th)
4 Teams in top 100, 8 in top 200

First in:
Florida A
Georgia A
Florida State A
Florida B

South Carolina A
Central Florida A
Georgia Tech B
Florida State B
Stetson A
Georgia C

Initial Thoughts:
This regional is a battle between some of the largest programs in the country by sheer numbers. Programs like Florida and Georgia have an advantage in that they have a lot of members to choose from in stacking their teams and a lot of teams which can work together (Florida is one of only two programs in the nation to have an F team). Georgia Tech and Florida State aren’t exactly small either. With large programs like this in such a small geographic area, they also play each other a lot. Just those four programs have played each other twelve times this fall, so it will be interesting to see what happens when they hit each other again at regionals for rematches. All four programs have done very well in the past few seasons, and they are joined by programs like South Carolina and Central Florida which have each made ORCS all of the last three years.

Team to Watch:
Georgia Tech — Georgia Tech has become a dangerous team in the last two years. After missing Nationals for nine years, they returned in 2016 under the direction of coach William Warihay (who started coaching them in 2014 and will be our next AMTA president). In their first year back at Nationals, they entered the fourth round with the highest record only to lose to Miami and still take an impressive third place in their division. In 2017, they again entered the fourth round with the highest record. They split 1-2 with the eventual division winner, Yale, leaving them tied on record for the division championship and only losing by one point on the head-to-head. This year we suspect Georgia Tech will be trying to come back and beat their fourth round bad luck, especially since it is the final year for senior and two time All-American, Sarah Stebbins (26 ranks at GAMTI, 18 at ToRo, 12 ranks at Carolina Classic).

Princeton: (26 teams) ‘The lucky ones’ (average TPR: 229, 22nd) (average TWS: 5.02, 23rd)
- 4 in the top 100, 6 in the top 200

First In
Yale B
Cornell A
Tufts A

Saint John's University
College of the Holy Cross A
Saint Rose A
Wellesley A
Trinity College
Monmouth A

Initial Thoughts
This tournament should prove a straight-shot for the cluster of regular ORCs and Nationals attendees Yale, Cornell, and Tufts. These three should expect to sail through this tournament without much trouble. The smaller number of teams relative to past years may pitch the leaders against each other in one of their four rounds, but each should nevertheless earn the six ballots needed to force qualification with little difficulty. Outside of the top three, we expect the remaining qualification slots to go to any four of six mid-tier teams. Of these, just three (Holy Cross, Saint John's, and Wellesley) made appearances at various ORCs last year, though none came close to qualifying for Nationals. Middling invitational results for Holy Cross (3-5 at Brandeis, 1-6-1 at UNH, 2-5-1 at Coast Guard) dovetail with a series of lost (to graduation) A Team attorneys explain why we worry that Holy Cross may struggle here. Holy Cross is the only team to have attended ORCs each of the past three years, which we don’t feel confident about their ability to qualify. Similarly, Trinity College, a formerly competitive program that has posted strong invitational results this year, will struggle to cope with the mid-season loss of its coach, Timothy Dunn, who has accepted a new job across the country. As with most mid-tier teams nationally who hope to extend their seasons into the spring, all teams outside the three favorites will need to perform consistently well over the weekend to qualify, particularly when pitted against each other. For fans, those moments should provide some interesting, close rounds.

Team to Watch
Tufts – after a whirlwind invitational season, Tufts is a shoe-in for ORCs and a contender for Nationals. We found results from ten teams at seven invitational tournaments—an attendance record that should make every Finance Director balk and one that certainly places Tufts among the most active programs in the country. Importantly, Tufts haven't just attended these invitationals, they've shown up for them and at least one Tufts team has taken home hardware at all but two of those seven. Perhaps Tufts most impressive result came in late October at CUBAIT where Tufts A took 1st with a 7-1 record and a strong CS of 20.5 and a notable win over Yale B. The following month saw them in no worse form and a Tufts team went 6-2 with a high CS of 18.5 at the extremely competitive Quaker Classic. Although perennially the most competitive student-run NESCAC program, Tufts has struggled against competitive fields at ORCs each of the past two years. If invitational results are reliable indicators, however, this year's team is poised to buck that trend.

Stevenson: (30 teams) ‘A League of their own’  (average TPR: 226, 20th) (average TWS: 5.60, 15th)
4 Teams in top 100, 8 in top 200

First in:
Columbia A
Columbia B
George Washington A
La Salle A
Maryland A

George Washington C
Johns Hopkins B

Initial Thoughts:
This region is an absolute wrecking ball. With 30 teams, Stevenson will be one of the largest regions of the year. As a result, Stevenson will feature extremely high level programs (like Columbia and George Washington), next to up and coming programs (like UMBC and La Salle), alongside some washed up programs in need of some rejuvenating (like Maryland). There will also be a number of C teams from strong programs like George Washington, William and Mary, Haverford, and Fordham Rose Hill. This tournament will be particularly interesting when we look at who the 7th team will be out of this region. The top 6 really should be practically locks. Columbia had some concerning performances early in the semester at Tufts and GAMTI, but they came together with strong showings for both A and B teams at Yale as well as at their own CUBAIT, making them a comfort pick here, despite the loss of Mock legend Nick Zurawski. GW A looked excellent at Colonial Classic and Haverford’s Black Squirrel Invitational, and we see little reason to suggest anything will change for them. Maryland A has definitely fallen out of good graces. After being one of the most dominant programs in the nation, Maryland have definitely been struggling recently. While Maryland has still always managed to make it to ORCS, their invitational season hasn’t gone particularly well. At Colonial Classic and Tobacco road, both Maryland had very below average performances, and, while at Penn state both teams managed to go 4-4, it’s still not the dominance we would expect from the old Maryland. La Salle’s two showings thus far was a strong one also at Yale from the B division as well as another strong performance at Penn State: taking ballots off Tufts and Georgetown. This invitational season in addition to La Salle’s historic consistency at regionals make us feel good about their chances to break. After these 5 programs, though, the rest becomes a true toss up. There are so many bottom teams that it sadly may come down to luck of the draw. B teams from Maryland, UMBC, La Salle, and Hopkins would all love to steal a bid here, but look out for an unknown who gets a friendly schedule to wind up in that 7th spot.

Team to Watch:
University of Maryland at Baltimore County - UMBC has risen as Maryland has fallen, having risen nearly two hundred ranks in just the last three years. UMBC is a relatively new program, only founded in 2011, and earning its first ORCS bid in 2015. Much of this success seems to be attributable to program founder and current coach, Ben Garmoe. Last year, UMBC made their first trip to Nationals, and, while they didn’t come close to placing, they managed to take ballots of some traditional strong programs like American and Rhodes. This year, UMBC seems to have gotten off to a middling start with a 5-6-1 record at Colonial Classic, a 4-4 record at Tobacco Road. But, after a very nice showing at Rutgers where both teams went 5-3, along with a very strong showing at at Yale this year (getting 4th in the A division and beating both Michigan teams), we have absolute confidence in this UMBC program. We expect them to send it least one team back to ORCS, it will be a question of whether or not their B team can perform at the same high level.

Toledo: (24 teams) ‘Feed the Open Bid List’  (average TPR: 220, 14th) (average TWS: 5.69, 13th)
4 Teams in top 100, 7 in top 200

First in:
Ohio State A
Michigan B
Chicago B

Chicago D
Eastern Michigan A
Notre Dame A
Michigan State A
Miami C
Cincinnati C
Ohio State D

Initial Thoughts:
This tournament has three leaders followed by a fight for the last four spots. The clear frontrunner in this region is Ohio State who have had a truly stellar fall season, winning both GOT and GAMTI. The B teams from Michigan and Chicago, both of whom have made nationals within the past two years, shouldn’t be ignored either. This region also has some C and D teams from traditionally strong programs including Miami, Cincinnati, Ohio State and Chicago (although Cincinnati's C team and Ohio State’s D team are new additions after they ran with two and three teams respectively last year). Chicago’s D team in particular has a history of doing well at regionals, going 8-0 in 2016 and 5.5-2.5 in 2017. This regional could end up being dominated by B-D teams from national championship programs (nice for the open bid list, I suppose). Added into the mix we also have teams like Notre Dame and Carthage who have made nationals in the past and are now struggling to return.

Team to Watch:
Michigan State — Michigan State has been doing quite well this invitational season lead by president Haley Gold (20 ranks Happy Valley, 19 ranks Scarlet & Grey). They have been holding their own at tournaments like Wolverine Classic, Spartan Throwdown, and Scarlet & Grey all of which have over 25% of their field made up of teams that went to nationals. MSU has also been responsible for dealing some blows to programs who made it to nationals last year, beating Northern Illinois and Rhodes and splitting with Michigan B, Indiana, Chicago B and Illinois. Some of this may be the result of unstacked teams early in the season, but, MSU is a team to watch out for in this region nonetheless (especially since some of the teams they beat or split with will be at Toledo along with them).
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