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2018 NCT Rankings Empty 2018 NCT Rankings

Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:35 pm
Mock Analysis is My Drug is pleased to announce our pre-Nationals Power Rankings! These rankings were based on a composite of the rankings of all of our contributors, based on our own competitive experiences this season as well as tab summary analysis and number-crunching. The number included alongside each ranking reflects the average subjective ranking of each team across all voters. We recognize that these types of rankings are inherently subjective, and hope this starts a conversation and gives all teams at the National Championship a bit more information about their competition. This is just the first part of our National Championship analysis - look for divisional breakdowns and specific predictions next week!

1) Yale - 1.78
Last year’s runners-up return to the National Championship having only lost one competitor from last year’s team. The bench of Parker, Bays, and Byrnes hopes to make it their second consecutive final round together - given their experience, it is fair to say that this team is our favorite to win it all. The limitations of U.S. v Barrow may limit the innovative strategies Yale likes to employ, but we look forward to seeing if they can come up with something clever to shock us all again this year.
2) NYU - 2.00
NYU’s superstar seniors Baratta, Ramos, and Isaac have one last shot at a national championship this year. After their first-place performance at the Downtown, they are in a great position to go out with a bang. One major question is if they can adapt to Midwestern judging - they spent most of their invitational season on the East Coast, with one trip to the West for UCLASSIC. If they have anywhere close to the same success that they’ve seen throughout the year, they could be the team to beat in Minneapolis.
3) Rhodes - 3.56
The fact that this small Tennessee school consistently reaches the highest levels of mock trial speaks to the fact that Rhodes has one of the most experienced coaching staffs in the country. But more than that, Rhodes has competitors who fill the courtroom with energy and excitement. Engaging, bombastic, and entertaining, Rhodes is always in contention to win their division. After several close calls, this might finally be the year that Rhodes breaks through.
4) UCLA - 5.00
UCLA’s top-level talent and coaching infrastructure has produced one of the most successful all-around programs of the last decade. They have been top ten every year for the past decade, top five for seven of those years, and won the NCT twice. Their second place finish at Downtown (before they gave up their spot in the final) suggests that this year may be a strong one for UCLA.
5) UVA - 6.44
It may be surprising to see the defending national champions at 5th on our rankings. But UVA has not been as dominant throughout this season as in years past - Virginia’s B team failed to qualify for nationals and UVA A has lost ballots to teams like Patrick Henry on their path to the National Championship Tournament. This year, coach Toby Heytens became the Solicitor General of Virginia - a job that can’t be easy to balance with his coaching commitments. With that being said, Virginia knows what it takes to win at the highest level, and should never be counted out.
6) UC Berkeley - 7.89
California Berkeley has used this season to solidify their spot as one of the most consistent programs in the West. A 1st place victory at UCLASSIC and a 11-6-3 record at the Downtown all speak highly for Berkeley’s ability to compete with anyone. Berkeley has also shown throughout the invitational season that they can succeed anywhere - they traveled from Washington to South Carolina to New York, taking top placings wherever they went. Don’t let their kindness and casual bathrobe uniforms fool you - Berkeley is not messing around in Minneapolis.
7) GT - 8.78
Georgia Tech was the top team in the country coming into Nationals last year, with their A going undefeated at both regionals and ORCS. They showed that this wasn’t a fluke when they came second in their division at Nationals last year, falling one ballot short of the final round. And, as we mentioned in a previous post, that wasn’t the first time they’ve come close to the championship. For the last two years they have been the top ranked team in their division going into the fourth round. This may be the year when the fourth round luck goes in their favor.
Cool Miami - 9.44
Miami surged through the AMTA season this year, going undefeated at regionals and taking first place at the Hamilton ORCS. While they struggled in the fall invitational season in their first year unstacked, they took an impressive number of individual awards at almost every tournament they attended, indicating that they may be able to pull together an all-star stacked line up.
9) Stanford - 9.56
As of ORCS, Stanford looked like the top team in the West. As one of only two teams to take an 8-0 record at ORCS, Stanford enters the National Championship with a lot of momentum. But their recent success comes after a roller coaster of an invitational season, where Stanford’s teams struggled to prove themselves. But there is still an open question: which Stanford will we see in Minneapolis?
10) OSU - 9.78
At some points this year, Ohio State has looked like the top team in the country. Taking first at GAMTI, first at the Grand Ole Tournament, and fourth at Downtown, Ohio State has shown they can beat the very best. They are coached by Alex Bluebond, who knows what it takes to coach a team to a national championship. A shaky ORCS performance places them a bit lower in our rankings, but should not take away from what looks to be their most successful season to date.
11) Northwestern - 10.44
Northwestern returned to the Geneva, Illinois ORCS this year on a quest for revenge. After barely missing Nationals last year after facing an incredibly difficult Geneva field, Northwestern made sure there were no doubts this year. Northwestern swept Geneva untouched this year, including a signature victory over their neighbors and rivals at the University of Chicago.
12) Harvard - 11.33
Harvard had one question to answer this year: could they succeed without All-American and national champion Jordan Alston-Harmon? Without their superstar attorney, Harvard has not been as dominant this year as one would expect from the 7th-ranked team in the country. That’s why it may be easy to forget that Harvard is still one of the top teams in the nation - a fact that they reminded everyone with a split with Yale A at ORCS and a fourth consecutive bid to the National Championship Tournament.
13) Michigan - 12.89
The creators of the original “Morrison Did It” defense are certainly a team to watch for crazy theories at nationals. But more than just creative ideas, Michigan brings a range of likable and talented competitors who have shown they are some of the best in the Midwest. Being in their home region for Nationals might give Michigan the boost they need to break through to the top.
14) Florida A - 13.67
It takes a strong program to take second at ORCS. It takes an even stronger one to take first. But when a team takes both first and second, “dominant” would be a fair word to use. Florida had the most successful 2018 ORCS performance of any team in the country. This year’s Florida team looks even stronger than the team that took 8th in their division last year - we expect them to have one of their best years ever.
15) Chicago - 14.67
Chicago is just one of many top teams to falter at ORCS. Chicago, Arizona, Ohio State, and Michigan all earned bids to the National Championship through their respective B teams. But while Chicago hasn’t looked dominant, they have been remarkably consistent both in the AMTA season and in the invitational season. In Geneva, Chicago’s two teams went 5-3 and 6-2 at ORCS - two solid performances that show the depth of Chicago’s program.
16) Yale B - 14.78
When Yale B failed to qualify out of regionals, Yale’s B and C teams merged together. But any worries that this might have hurt Yale’s chances were alleviated in Central Islip, where Yale B came together to take 5.5 ballots against a difficult field. In a tight final round, Yale B took down Arizona A to advance to the National Championship. Don’t be fooled by their B team designation - the core of this Yale team is the same as the Yale B team that went 8-4 at Nationals last year.
17) Patrick Henry - 15.33
Patrick Henry has a lot of things going for them. They are coached by current AMTA president Frank Guliuzza, and under his leadership they took 1st place at both regionals and ORCS. They dropped only one ballot on their path to the National Championship, in an impressive run that included a 2-0 victory over the defending national champions UVA A.
18) Cornell - 20.00
This year, Cornell took first place at Mumbo Jumbo, Bomber Blitz, and regionals. They took second place at Black Squirrel, BRIC, and ORCS. This is a team that is used to winning - a team that expects to win at the National Championship. So while Cornell’s past three National Championship appearances have ended in modest finishes, they are looking to continue their successful season and break through to the upper echelons of mock trial.
19) Arizona - 20.33
Arizona is having one of their best years ever - for the first time in recent history, they qualified a B team for Nationals. Unfortunately, their A team didn’t quite live up to expectations, losing a tight final round to Yale B to finish 4-4 at ORCS. But Arizona’s performance this year (8-0, 8-0 at regionals, 4-4, 6-2 at ORCS) puts them in a much better position than last year, when they took one of the final open bid spots before making Nationals.
20) Rhodes B - 20.67
Rhodes B is in an interesting position - they are one of the few teams in the country to have qualified for the National Championship three years in a row. And yet, in the past three National Championships, Rhodes B has struggled to pick up ballots off of top-level competition. It may be that the new case for the National tournament with a 26 day prep period is causing difficulty for Rhodes B.
21) Indiana - 23.44
One of the newer programs on this list, Indiana earned its first bid to NCT last year. They placed fifth in their division, but since then have been plagued by graduation attrition. They earned their bid to NCT with a comfortable 6-2 record, but they still have a lot to prove. Weak to middling performances at invites like GAMTI, GOT, and Great Chicago Fire which have fields closer to the one they will see at nationals raise some worries for Indiana this year.
22) Rutgers - 23.56
Rutgers returns to Nationals with the only perfect-ranked All-American attorney of 2017, current Junior Mike Kleynman. Kleynman, for whatever reason, hasn’t seen the recognition other All-Americans like Bays, Stebbins, Ramos, Roytman, and co. Rutgers is returning almost the entire team that made it to nationals last year. They are looking to improve on last year’s performance, so they can show that their nationals runner-up a short time ago is the same program we see now. They are looking to do just that, beating UVA by more than 10 on any ballot is always something that catches our eye.
23) NYU B - 24.33
NYU B has always been a strong contender for making it Nationals. Two years ago it was the NYU B team that earned the nationals bid an this year up until the last round NYU B had a lead over their A team (and in fact the rest of the tournament at ORCS). The B team doesn’t have quite the flashyness and style that the A team has, but this may also be a blessing in that they avoid some of NYU A’s overt aggression which is riskier with a Midwestern pool.
24) Emory - 24.78
The strength of student-run programs such as Emory can often be more difficult to anticipate. Without coaches, there is always a question of how much a team’s strength can remain constant from year to year. But with that said, this year looks like a good one for Emory. They showed at Ramblin’ Wreck that they can compete with teams like UCLA and Rhodes. However, Emory’s path through ORCS included an 0-2 loss to Duke and some narrow victories over mid-level teams.
25) Furman - 24.89
Furman had a difficult invitational season, with a series of disappointing finishes at the Colonial Classic, Gunslinger, the Hooter Invitational, the Wildcat Invitational, and the Ramblin’ Wreck Invitational. However, these performances are mostly disappointing in comparison to the high standard Furman has set for themselves - the team qualified for the National Championship Tournament for nineteen consecutive years until their streak was broken last year. But Furman is back to the National Championship Tournament again - the team has stepped up when they needed to, with strong regional and ORCS performances.
26) UC Irvine A - 25.78
This year, the University of California, Irvine broke their National Championship slump in a big way. Not only did they qualify for the National Championship Tournament for the first time in three years, they brought their B team along for the ride. The small and close-knit Irvine A team has competed together all year, and their work has paid off as they enter the National Championship ready to reestablish Irvine’s spot at the top.
27) Tufts - 27.11
Tufts has struggled to return to nationals after their impressive showing three years ago. They have finally made it through, but not without their hiccups. This team has our expectations tempered for the time being - dropping full ballots to Quinnipiac at regionals, and yet to play any truly top teams (the only team they have played, who qualified for nationals was Arizona B, who they split with). This team is still untested for the moment, but is looking to prove their worth with lots of strong young talent.
28) Haverford - 27.44
This year is Haverford’s national’s debut and with only one other trip to ORCS to their name (let alone a trip to nationals), Haverford has a lot less experience than most of the other names on this list so they may struggle to keep up in the hyper-competitive field that is NCT. With that being said, Haverford has had a very successful season including taking out several routine national competitors and even some teams rated very highly on this list (e.g. Georgia Tech). It remains to be seen whether they will be able to keep up the good work when faced with teams who have far more experience on a 26 day prep period than they do.
29) Princeton - 27.56
After a two-year hiatus, Princeton returns to the National Championship after finishing 7-1 in Central Islip. However, their road through Islip hardly pushed them to the limits: they faced a 2-5-1 Boston University, the University of Vermont, Binghampton, and UMass Lowell. Given their relatively weak schedule thus far, they may struggle to adjust to the competition at the National Championship Tournament. Their split with Harvard, though, may suggest that this team has the potential to do quite well this year.
30) Wash U St. Louis - 29.44
Washington University was living on the edge at ORCS. They went 7-1, but won no ballots by more than 6 points (despite playing a pretty wide range of teams). They seem to have done exactly as much as was necessary to win and no more. They did see success against a polarized schedule, playing both Minnesota and Chicago B, who both qualified and then two weaker teams (which is about what should be expected at an ORCS like Geneva). If they can continue to edge out top teams they will do well at Nationals but the narrow margins over weaker teams are concerning.
31) Howard - 30.56
Last year was the first time in a while that Howard has managed not to make it to nationals, and they have proven where they belong by returning this year. There performance at nationals, even in recent years, is still fairly underwhelming. Howard’s performance at ORCS though has given us room for hope this year. Howard beat and tied a ballot against UVA B, knocking them out of the running, and they had a very positive split with a strong looking Rutgers team. This team, and its extremely experienced coaching staff, is looking to prove the Howard name at nationals again.
32) Northwood - 33.67
Known as one of the kindest teams in the country, Northwood has earned a coveted invitation to the Downtown for three years running, not because of their National Championship performance, but because of their Spirit of AMTA awards. But this year’s Northwood team isn’t just coming to Minneapolis to make friends - they enter the National Championship having shown they can compete with the best of the best. Their split with Ohio State A at ORCS is a promising sign.
33) Florida B - 34.78
The second member of the ORCS-crushing Florida duo, Florida B came in second behind only the A team from their own school at ORCS, and loosing a ballot only to Duke A. This program has also had strong invitational performances all season and while much of that may be attributable to their A team, the B team has been credited by name on several tab summaries and may have been competing as “A” on several more. As with all B teams we have concerns about consistency of performance, but this may turn out to be one of those programs that proves they have the depth to make two top level teams.
34) Rochester - 34.78
Rochester shocked the world last year by earning two bids out of the difficult Lancaster ORCS and by doing it by taking ballots of off Yale A. This year, despite losing many members of their team to graduation, Rochester broke from an even more highly stacked Lancaster ORCs with a respectable 6-2 record. It is concerning to note however that after last year’s excellent showing at ORCS both Rochester teams struggled at Nationals, so it will be interesting to see if they can improve upon that for this year. It is also somewhat concerning that they made it through while playing no other qualifying teams and winning only by narrow margins against non-qualifying teams.
35) Iowa - 35.00
Back-to-back national champions in 2002 and 2003, Iowa is a program with a long and rich history. But in recent years, they have been consistently unremarkable. This year’s ORCS saw a number of ups and downs for them with 32 point victories and 20 point losses including a split with UC Berkeley in which they went -20, +3 most likely due to great differences in style and another with Alabama with +22, -2. They will need to fix this issue with polarization before nationals if they wish to reclaim their former glory.
36) Wheaton - 36.00
Wheaton returns to the National Championship for the third time in four years after missing out in 2017. One of the most award-winning AMTA competitors in recent history, Mary-Preston Austin, has one last chance to win the only award she hasn’t won so far: an All-American. It remains to be seen if their aggressive style will play well in Minneapolis. They do have the advantage that they have already had a chance to test their style against a similar judging pool at regionals but seeing as they only broke from regionals with a 5.5-2.5 record that may not bode well.
37) Minnesota - 37.00
This team had a fairly pedestrian run through ORCS. They are by no means the top program coming out of the tournament, having lost to Washington Saint Louis and then played three other relatively low performing teams. They do have an advantage going into this tournament however. They are the home team (insofar as there is a home team with Hamline not attending) and will have more experience with this judging pool than anyone. It is also promising to note that they split with Northwestern A (one of only two teams to go 8-0 at ORCS) at regionals.
38) Alabama - 37.33
This team is a new one on this list, and joins the few programs to attend the NCT for the first time this year. After a mildly successful invitational season, they managed to scrape by to ORCS by only half a ballot. With a 5-3 ORCS showing, Alabama will be a David in a sea of Goliaths. This will be the year for them to prove if they’re more than just a regional power, or a team who just got lucky. With a lot to prove, this will not be a team to beat without a fight.
39) Cornell B - 37.44
Cornell was another team that managed to slip through the bloodbath that was Lancaster without hitting any of the super teams. They avoided playing any other teams that qualified by splitting both of the first two rounds with mid level teams and then beating two other mid level teams. In short they didn’t play anyone particularly easy or anyone particularly hard either, so it is entirely unclear how they will stack up against top caliber teams. Their last round against Maryland, a team that has been on the decline for several years now, must have been particularly nerve wracking. They earned the final two ballots necessary for their bid by +1, +1.
40) UT Chattanooga - 37.89
Chattanooga has an Alabama problem. At ORCS, they faced both Alabama teams one after the other and split both rounds by the same margins. They will be in opposite divisions at nationals though so they needn’t worry. They then proceeded to split again with Central Missouri, meaning that all of their rounds were against teams that ended 4-4 or better, so no easy slide through ORCS. This year they will be hoping to improve on last year’s 3-9 National record where they picked up ballots only against other teams with 3.5 or worse record.
41) Northwestern B - 39.22
This Northwestern team is interesting in that they have had an absurdly easy schedule all season at AMTA sanctioned tournaments (first when they were competing as Northwestern C and got their bid out of Joliet and then at Hamilton ORCS). In a field with top teams like OSU, Miami, Northwood, Cincinnati, and Michigan they snuck out of Hamilton by only playing one other team that qualified (Xavier, the lowest ranked qualifying team at the tournament) and even then they dropped both ballots. They only made it through this field because there were so many splits that 5-3 was enough to make it. However, it is still very impressive that a team that is reportedly mostly made up of first-year competitors made it this far.
42) William and Mary - 40.00
The pairings didn’t make it easy for William and Mary to make it to their first ever National Championship Tournament this year. Their path through ORCS wasn’t an easy one, as they faced UVA B, Richmond, Patrick Henry B, and Johns Hopkins. While technically none of those teams made it to nationals, that was in part because of William and Mary’s surprising upsets. These results show that William and Mary isn’t a team to sleep too heavily on. All 4 of the teams they faced at ORCS were in the running to make nationals and UVA B and Richmond both made it last year. Managing to never lose more than a single ballot to these teams goes even further to bolster their resume. With that being said, they have seemed to had issues closing out rounds and we see this trend causing them more harm than good at nationals.
43) Xavier - 40.78
Xavier plays a very distinctly Ohio style of Mock Trial. This year, they replaced their close neighbor Cincinnati in this year’s national field - in many ways, the two teams play a very similar set of theories and styles. Xavier had a run through ORCS fraught with ups and downs. They beat Northwestern B (another qualifier) on both ballots and split with the strong (if ultimately unsuccessful) Michigan A, but then also split with the 2-6 Cincinnati B. Xavier will need to develop a lot more consistency to survive the national field. That said, their victories of over strong teams show that, at their peak, Xavier is a team to be feared.
44) UCSB - 41.22
Attending their first NCT, UCSB made splashes in the West this year with an unexpectedly strong showing, placing 2nd at the Santa Monica ORCS (outperforming both UCLA and UCI along the way). And it’s not hard to see why - their bench has been competing together for the last 4 years and as a result is packed to the brim with seasoned seniors. Most notably, James Mcfeely (yes that’s really his name, we asked) received perfect ranks at both Cal’s AAMI and UCI’s Anteater invitational. With a moderately successful invite season, this team started their regional season with a bang after managing to split with Stanford A (an accomplishment that nobody managed at ORCS). Our biggest concern for this team is their lack of experience on the Nationals arena. Having mostly competed against West Coast teams, it’ll be interesting to see how their style fares against unknown competition.
45) UC Irvine B - 44.44
This is the only B team at this entire tournament to outplace their A team (excluding schools whose B team earned the only bid). They also managed to beat UCSB B (a feat their A team was unable to pull off). Aside from the rivalries within the program, Irvine B did surprisingly well at ORCS. They went from a program unable to qualify even one team to a program with two teams meanwhile beating programs like USC with National records of their own. Our biggest concern for this team is that their distinctly west coast style may not play as well in the Midwest as they would like.
46) UCSD - 45.67
For years, the University of California, San Diego had one of the most underappreciated competitors in the West - Kyle Park. And while Park never reached the National Championship himself, his shift to a role as a coach seems to have revitalized the UCSD program, who are making their first National Championship Tournament appearance in five years. And while they return to the national stage as a heavy underdog, there is a lot to root for in this UCSD team.
47) Georgia State - 45.89
Georgia State is a bit of a mystery coming into the National Championship. As far as we can determine, they competed at only three invitational tournaments this year, where they finished with one 4-4 and two 5-2-1 records. For such a small and young program, they have shown consistency and competitiveness. A fairly weak ORCS schedule and a few favorable splits allowed them to finish 5th in Greenville, but they would have to get lucky again in Minneapolis to finish with a winning record.
48) Lafayette - 47.67
Completing our rankings is Lafayette, the biggest surprise of the year. At regionals, Lafayette managed to take a ballot off NYU A (the number two team on this list), as well as sweeping a well-established UMBC team. Lafayette has shocked us before times, and we hope to be shocked again. But we can’t ignore the fact that in 2017 and 2018, they are yet to have even a winning record at an invitational. While we don’t want to weight past performances too highly (given their recent success), we can’t look past the fact that this program seems to be very hit or miss with whether they go 8-0 or if they go 0-8. With the competition at nationals being as strong as it is, we think the latter is more likely.

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