Seeding Mixed is a challenge this year -- what do you think of these predictions?
October 2, 2014 by Alec Surmani in Analysis
Here are Ultiworld’s seeding predictions (and associated pools) for the Mixed Division at the 2014 USA Ultimate National Championships:
|Pool A||Pool B||Pool C||Pool D|
|San Francisco Polar Bears (1)||San Francisco Blackbird (2)||Minneapolis Drag'N Thrust (3)||Ames Chad Larson Experience (4)|
|Boston Slow White (8)||Atlanta Bucket (7)||Los Angeles 7 Figures (6)||San Francisco Mischief (5)|
|Columbus Santa Maria (12)||Austin Cosa Nostra (11)||Philadelphia Amp (10)||Boston Wild Card (9)|
|Seattle D'Oh Abides (13)||Seattle Mixed (14)||San Francisco American BBQ (15)||Oregon The Administrators (16)|
1. San Francisco Polar Bears: Despite finishing fourth in what’s probably the nation’s toughest region, Polar Bears’ U.S. Open and Pro Flight Finale victories, along with their #1 USAU rank, leave them the likeliest candidate for the top spot.
2. San Francisco Blackbird: They had a slow start, but Blackbird has gained considerable steam with each showing, culminating in their impressive Southwest Regionals title, where they cleaned up everyone and really only had a single close game (against Mischief in the finals).
3. Minneapolis Drag’N Thrust: If it weren’t for their post-Worlds temporary deflation at PFF, Drag’n Thrust would probably be the clear #1. But their 15-6 trouncing of Chad Larson Experience at North Central Regionals prove they deserve inclusion in the top three.
4. Ames Chad Larson Experience: Strong performances at U.S. Open, NY Invite, and PFF keep them in the top five, but their lack of wins against the top three push them just below their #3 USAU ranking.
5. San Francisco Mischief: Their runners-up finish at Southwest Regionals proved Mischief’s PFF performance was no fluke. If it weren’t for their loss to CLX in August, they might have been fourth (or maybe even third).
6. Los Angeles 7 Figures: Undefeated through Sectionals, a surprising loss to American BBQ in pool play brought 7 Figures back down to earth. Though they managed to best Polar Bears with a resounding 13-7 victory late on Sunday to preserve their elite status, a H2H loss to Mischief leaves them at sixth.
7. Atlanta Bucket: As the only undefeated team coming into Nationals, one might assume that Bucket should be ranked higher. Unfortunately, their most impressive wins have come against #18 Asheville Cahoots. Should be interesting to see how they do against top competition.
8. Boston Slow White: Though the team hasn’t drawn that much attention this year, Slow White has put together a solid resume. The two victories over Drag’n Thrust at PFF bode well, but a lack of additional resume building prevent them from inching any higher than eighth. However, they’ve clearly earned their placement above any of the bottom eight. USAU ranked #7.
9. Boston Wild Card: Living up to the team name, Wild Card has had a somewhat perplexing year. Strong early showings were followed by a near-winless performance at PFF. Their trampling of everyone but Slow White at Northeast Regionals, however, should place them high among the bottom half.
10. Philadelphia AMP: After winning the regular season last year, AMP has dipped a bit in 2014. A last place finish at PFF overshadowed decent showings at U.S. Open and NY Invite. Their strong records against all but the elite, however, should grant them some cushion.
11. Austin Cosa Nostra: After a disappointing Colorado Cup, Cosa Nostra pulled it together and managed to make semis at PFF (albeit only by way of two key wins). Though they bested AMP at the latter tournament, their lack of numerous victories over top clubs should place them just under all the other proven programs.
12. Columbus Santa Maria: Some nice wins over Cosa Nostra, Cincinnati Steamboat, and Indianapolis Interrobang keep Santa Maria from the bottom four, but it’d be tough to put them any higher than twelfth.
13. Seattle D’oh Abides: Conflicting Colorado Cup and Northwest Mixed Ultimate Cup performances were essentially nullified by their eventual Northwest Regionals title, despite many of the matches remaining close.
14. Seattle Mixed: The Nationals newcomer only has three losses on the year, but the only strong victories came against other Northwest teams. They mostly gain the edge over American BBQ through their curiously high #11 USAU rank.
15. San Francisco American BBQ: The Bay Area team erased much of their underwhelming regular season with a strong showing at Southwest Regionals, where they earned the fifth bid through key wins over higher ranked opponents. Their unfortunate Colorado Cup performance, however, will likely keep them from earning a seed higher than fifteenth.
16. Oregon The Administrators: As the team with maybe the shakiest results and the only one not ranked in the top 20, The Administrators will probably be relegated to the bottom seed.
– The top six were surprisingly difficult to arrange, thanks in large part to the crazy results of Southwest Regionals, where the top four seeds reversed their finishing order. Any of the top three or four seeds for this ranking could make a decent case for number one, as they’ve all beaten each other at some point in time (with the exception of CLX, though they remain perhaps the most consistent of the four).
– The 8-11 seem to be pretty solidly the middle pack, as they all appear clearly better than the bottom five and each have a scattering of solid wins over each other and a few top tier teams. Cosa Nostra finished above them all at PFF, but their overall results make leave them at the bottom of the group. Slow White’s rank and Northeast Regionals finish, along with their more consistent results, give them the edge.
– The bottom five could also be pretty easily switched around. They’ve all basically hit a cluster of confusing highs and lows. So there’s a good chance it might just come down to rankings.
– It may seem silly to have the #1 seed be a team that finished fourth in their own region. But it honestly just seemed like the best choice. Definitely don’t envy the committee that has to decide the top spots, as just about any order could arouse reasonable complaints.