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2021 National Championships Seeding Predictions: Mixed Division

My best guess at USAU's seeding.

Fort Collins shame.'s Aubree Dietrich. Photo: Greg Pettus -- UltiPhotos.com
Fort Collins shame.’s Aubree Dietrich. Photo: Greg Pettus — UltiPhotos.com

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In recent years, predicting the seeding at Nationals has been a simple task, one that follows a consistent pattern and rarely yields surprises. But in 2021, a year that had teams skipping the regular season and no rankings in sight, it’s going to be much more of a subjective task. The basic rules are the same, but without the rankings that typically create a clear structure for the seeding, results from two years ago could end up mattering a lot more than usual.

Here’s what you need to know: seeding is based on “results prior to the postseason (e.g., head to head, common opponents, tournament finish), input solicited from all the captains of participating teams, results of the 2019 season, and other applicable information.” The order of Regionals finishes will be “strongly considered in determining seeding” but are not binding. I suspect, though, that they will be weighted more heavily this year than in years past, given the nature of the season.

I will be using the unofficial copycat USAU rankings on Cody Mills’ Frisbee-Rankings.com to provide a basis for seeding as well — it would not surprise me if USAU did the same!

Let’s kick things off right away with the pools generated by my predicted seeding.

POOL APOOL BPOOL CPOOL D
Shame. (1)Drag'N Thrust (2)BFG (3)Mixtape (4)
Slow (8)Hybrid (7)Space Heater (6)AMP (5)
Polar Bears (12)'Shine (11)Sprocket (10)Lawless (9)
NOISE (13)Lochsa (14)Love Tractor (15)XIST (16)

1. Fort Collins Shame

With Mixtape and Space Heater losing at Regionals, I think the number one seed goes to Shame. Crucially, they have a head-to-head win over Northwest champs BFG and I think that, overall, they had the better campaign than Drag’N Thrust.

2. Minneapolis Drag’N Thrust

Yes, Drag’N has a loss to Space Heater on the resume. But they also have a win over AMP. And that’s going to put them in the #2 spot.

To be clear, the top six seeds are all very good and could be mixed around in a variety of orders. But I am going to lean on Regionals results binding order, because I think we need to use that data point — arguably the first time teams were their true selves all year — more than ever.

3. Seattle BFG

A big Regionals win for BFG over Mixtape is likely going to earn them a pool one seed.

You could argue for having AMP and Space Heater in the 3/4 slots instead of BFG & Mixtape, but Mixtape’s season was really superb outside of the loss at Regionals, so I think the Northwest teams get the bump.

The rankings preferred Drag’N to BFG, as did 2019 results.

4. Seattle Mixtape

They would have been the one seed if they’d beaten BFG at Regionals. Instead, they’ll drop a few spots.

5. Philadelphia AMP

Boy, does that win over Space Heater look good. AMP has some odd results — a loss to Sprocket?? — but their recent success and high ranking should earn them a for sure top six seed.

6. Washington DC Space Heater

Space’s only loss this season is to AMP in the Mid-Atlantic Regional final. They probably would have been a top two seed if they’d won the region. Instead, I think you have no choice but to punish them here.

7. Ann Arbor Hybrid

There’s quite a dropoff after the top six. I’m not quite sure what to do with Hybrid, but the rankings like them up here. They only have one game against a Nationals team — a 14-10 win over Shine — but their lack of bad results makes it easier to seed them higher. They won a tough region which should count for something.

8. Boston Slow

Losses to the top six, wins against everybody else (save a Saturday Regionals loss to Sprocket that they avenged). Lock ’em in here at #8.

9. Arizona Lawless

The Southwest champs have a similar story as Slow. They had a pretty ugly Sectionals appearance, which I think is enough to give Slow the nod over them.

10. Boston Sprocket

Sprocket is a fascinating team — they beat AMP and Slow this season but also lost to XIST. They have shown a higher ceiling than all the teams seeded below them by getting wins against legitimate teams. They finished second in the Northeast behind Slow and ahead of XIST. H2H win over Shine.

11. Nashville ‘Shine

Zero wins against Nationals teams! But some good close losses and ultimately a very nice win over a good Toro team to win the Southeast. I think you push them to here since they won their region.

12. San Francisco Polar Bears

Very little data to use to seed Polar Bears, who have only played Lawless from the Nationals field (they went 0-2). Still, getting out of the Southwest is a big deal.

13. Madison NOISE

NOISE was liked a bit more by the rankings than where I have them seeded here at #13. Much like Polar Bears, they have very little crossover with the Nationals field. I think you could flip flop them and Polar Bears, but it doesn’t really matter as they’ll still play in pool play.

14. Boise Lochsa

At the margin here at the bottom, I made some tweaks to avoid Regional rematches. Lochsa, Love Tractor, and XIST are all winless against Nationals teams, except for XIST’s win over Sprocket. The rankings put them in the same tier. At that point, I figure it’s best to just avoid Regionals rematches, especially in this odd year with not much crossover data. So Lochsa is here at #14, which dodges BFG and Mixtape in Pools C & D.

15. Boulder Love Tractor

Love Tractor is another team that beat a really skilled team (Public Enemy) to get to Nationals. They don’t have any wins against the field.

16. New York XIST

XIST got into Nationals by the skin of their teeth with a nailbiter universe point win over Boston Wild Card. They could justifiably be a spot or two higher, but, again, avoiding Regionals rematches seems ideal given that there’s no major competitive difference to spot between these last few teams.

Discussion

It will be interesting to see how USA Ultimate handles the top seeding. AMP and Space Heater at #5 and #6 feels absolutely brutal, but so does putting Mixtape and BFG lower. And can you really give a top two seed to a team that didn’t win its region? I really don’t think so. Shame at #1 feels wild, but who deserves that spot otherwise?

It feels like there’s a lot of room to move things around in Mixed, since there are a lot of teams that haven’t played many others in the field.

Mixtape v. AMP in pool play would be fun, huh?

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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