Southwest Open Seeding

Things are getting heated in the Southwest.

Teams from across the Open Division are venting both privately and publicly about the seeding of the tournament, which was just made final by USA Ultimate.

What might have been an easier year for seeding was seriously complicated by Arizona State’s upset of Arizona, the top team in the region, in the Desert Conference finals, which requires that ASU be seeded above Arizona at Regionals. The Regional Coordinator decided to place those two teams in the same pool, which, given the tournament format, ensures that whichever team doesn’t win the pool is far less likely to emerge with a bid.

Additionally, San Diego State, who had an excellent late season surge, playing very well at the New England Open and winning the SoCal conference, was seeded all the way back at #8, behind the fifth place finisher at the NorCal conferences, UC Santa Cruz

Here’s Ultiworld’s Seth Stephens, our Southwest correspondent and fifth year senior at Arizona:

[quote]I guess my question to USA Ultimate would be, why isn’t ASU rewarded for winning a game against the best team in the region at sectionals and given higher seeding. I know that they lost twice to Davis, but those losses were four months ago. Are all games equal when determining seeding? With the seeding rules it would seem that teams should be judged more on their later season results. Also, is there no effort to seed teams with regard to their section? If that is the case that is also flawed. There is a reason you don’t see same-conference teams in the NCAA tournament matched up in the first two games.

SDSU, while their twitter feed probably is not doing them any favors, has a legitimate gripe here. They beat UCSD in the finals of their section. UCSD is ranked 6th in the region (by end of the season USAU rankings), but instead of rewarding SDSU for beating the sixth and eigth team in the region, they just adjust those teams below SDSU. And Santa Cruz, a team that had all of their sanctioned games vacated (for whatever reason), is ranked higher than them when they finished 5th in NCal section. Their only quality wins coming against California and Las Positas, who they lost to at Conferences. How does that happen? They moved up Santa Cruz above Cal, but did not move up SDSU or ASU, when those two teams beat better teams at sectionals.

The whole system is hugely flawed. And usually it isn’t an issue because higher seeds don’t usually lose at sectionals, but we did. We lost to a team that knows us too well. [/quote]

Given the seeding, it is extremely likely that one of the 2nd-5th place teams at NorCal regionals will make the finals, since they have the top two seeds in both Pool B and Pool C. The pool winners from those two will meet in one of the semifinals.

While there is clearly a stronger class of teams in NorCal than in SoCal, should two conference winners end up in the same pool? Banishing SDSU, the SoCal top finisher, to the eighth seed is plain unfair.

I would also note that, the more I think about it, UC Davis getting the third overall seed is difficult to justify. Yes, they beat Arizona State in January. But they did not have a strong regular season and they finished THIRD in their conference. Considering Arizona’s strength, it would probably be more sensible to have ASU with the three seed, Arizona with the four, and Davis with the 5.

My proposed top 8 seeding:

1. Stanford
2. Las Positas
3. Arizona State
4. Arizona
5. UC Davis
6. San Diego State
7. California
8. UC Santa Cruz

Isn’t this more fair?

  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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