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Thread: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

  1. #61
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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    I think seeding at Nationals based on regional results is a good idea. The (perceived) very top teams might still hit in round 2, but we can at least prevent it from happening in the opening round.

    Seedings could be determined (more or less) the same way open bid rankings are.

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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    [quote author=JayZ link=topic=3407.msg154378#msg154378 date=1172521140]
    Further, regardless of whether or not you agree that power matching does a good job determining the best team in a region, it almost certainly DOES NOT do a good job determining the next best team.
    [/quote]

    I don't buy this premise. In lots of regions, we see two teams tied at 7-1 which are making up the top 2. If we assume as you do above that our tie breaker at the end does a good job of determining the best team, why does it not follow that the 7 tied with it is the second best team?

    The following were 2nd place teams that tied with the first place team:

    Texas (7-1)
    UCF (7-0-1)
    UCLA (8-0)
    Michigan (6-1-1)
    Princeton (7-1)
    NYU (7-1)
    EKU (7-1)
    UNC (7-1)

    If we continue to count wins as the primary tiebreaker (I don't see why we wouldn't), then how can the second place team, which had the same number of wins as the 1st place team (that we are so confident is chosen correctly) be so confidently NOT the 2nd best team?

    Not to mention that all of the above are strong programs with previous recent successes, who I doubt anyone would seriously argue doesn't belong at golds.

    The remaining 2nd place teams are:
    Chicago, Stanford, Villanova, Rochester, USC, Duke, Northwestern, Tennessee, Richmond, Rhodes, Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin-Superior, BU, and MTSU.

    Thus of all the second place finishers in the country, only 4/23 (on my rough memory) have not been at gold in the past couple of years.

    I think on that information, the 2nd place determinations at our regionals did a damn good job picking gold-caliber teams.

  3. #63
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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    I haven't read all the responses (I hope to when I free up) and appreciate the discussion, but let me respond to the point about education and more students competing (a point I would've preempted with my original post if I'd had time).

    These possible changes have long since been bouncing around in my head, but a conversation at the DC regional brought them back to the forefront of my mind. We all assume that multiple teams per school means more students participating and thus more educational value for AMTA. I'm not sure that's true. The sad fact is that most schools want to see some return on their funding, and for competitive programs, that means competitive achievement. A conversation at the DC regional (coupled with conversations from folks at other schools and my own experience) showed that programs that do not do well, risk losing school funding and may be eliminated as a result. So while there may be an extra 8 students competing on each of the additional teams at school A, schools b through E don't have programs at all because they tried to build a program and the school pulled the funding when they were not successful. To be clear, I'm just thinking through all these issues myself, and this point is purely anecdotal at this point.

    There is an additional consideration, I think, in institutional diversity. Again, our duty as directors runs to the institutions, not the students or individual teams. It seems to me that there may be value in having as many institutions represented in the nationals fields as possible. It helps achieve broader geographical representation, for one thing, and it helps AMTA grow by bringing more institutions into the fold. I also feel like there is more value in the first eight students getting to go to nationals at school A than there is in the second eight going to nationals at school B. I can't articulate why I feel that way, but I do.

    One other point I saw in my quick read concerning students competing at invitationals and not regionals. First, this is already true of some programs, and not only has it not hurt the program, but it has helped the program by enabling it to identify the top students in actual competition and it's helped the students by getting some experience who otherwise would've had no experience. Second, this happens between regionals and nationals. We don't have a problem telling students they won't go to nationals because only two teams can go on (and some folks don't even have a problem telling the students who earned the bid to nationals that they won't go on because others in the program are believed to be better and will take the nationals spot). So why should it be a problem to treat invitationals and regionals the same way. There are so many invitationals now that not permitting students to compete at regionals will do little to decrease the educational value. It's only one tournament. And given that it means other students will get to go to nationals who otherwise might not go, then it's a wash at best on educational value and possibly a net benefit for the AMTA membership.

    Just some quick thoughts....

    (pun intended)

  4. #64
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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    Mia,

    So the system works at selecting gold caliber teams. We know this because it's selecting teams that are gold caliber. How do we know they are gold caliber? Because the system selected them as gold caliber in years past.

    Am I missing something or is that the crux of the argument?
    "Call on God, but row away from the rocks." - Hunter S. Thompson

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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    [quote author=princecaspian link=topic=3407.msg154388#msg154388 date=1172522994]
    I haven't read all the responses (I hope to when I free up) and appreciate the discussion, but let me respond to the point about education and more students competing (a point I would've preempted with my original post if I'd had time).

    These possible changes have long since been bouncing around in my head, but a conversation at the DC regional brought them back to the forefront of my mind. We all assume that multiple teams per school means more students participating and thus more educational value for AMTA. I'm not sure that's true. The sad fact is that most schools want to see some return on their funding, and for competitive programs, that means competitive achievement. A conversation at the DC regional (coupled with conversations from folks at other schools and my own experience) showed that programs that do not do well, risk losing school funding and may be eliminated as a result. So while there may be an extra 8 students competing on each of the additional teams at school A, schools b through E don't have programs at all because they tried to build a program and the school pulled the funding when they were not successful. To be clear, I'm just thinking through all these issues myself, and this point is purely anecdotal at this point.

    There is an additional consideration, I think, in institutional diversity. Again, our duty as directors runs to the institutions, not the students or individual teams. It seems to me that there may be value in having as many institutions represented in the nationals fields as possible. It helps achieve broader geographical representation, for one thing, and it helps AMTA grow by bringing more institutions into the fold. I also feel like there is more value in the first eight students getting to go to nationals at school A than there is in the second eight going to nationals at school B. I can't articulate why I feel that way, but I do.

    One other point I saw in my quick read concerning students competing at invitationals and not regionals. First, this is already true of some programs, and not only has it not hurt the program, but it has helped the program by enabling it to identify the top students in actual competition and it's helped the students by getting some experience who otherwise would've had no experience. Second, this happens between regionals and nationals. We don't have a problem telling students they won't go to nationals because only two teams can go on (and some folks don't even have a problem telling the students who earned the bid to nationals that they won't go on because others in the program are believed to be better and will take the nationals spot). So why should it be a problem to treat invitationals and regionals the same way. There are so many invitationals now that not permitting students to compete at regionals will do little to decrease the educational value. It's only one tournament. And given that it means other students will get to go to nationals who otherwise might not go, then it's a wash at best on educational value and possibly a net benefit for the AMTA membership.

    Just some quick thoughts....


    [/quote]

    FWIW, the ability to participate in invitationals with no guarantee for participation in the spring opens is the system in place for many law schools. We are not hurting for people desiring to participate. We can only accomodate about 25% of the students that want to compete, but that is an issue of funding, not on the structure of the system.

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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    I don't know how important this is to the argument, but I think programs will have a much harder time convincing their schools to give them money to fund sending people to invitationals who won't be able to compete at regionals. Even though only 2 teams can compete at nationals now, each team has an independent chance at qualifying if the other teams in the program falter, so having more teams increases your chance of qualifying to nationals, even if you can't send all the students there. That's a good thing to tell funding boards. The argument is much weaker to send teams to invitationals from which they cannot qualify to the tournaments the funding boards care about. So I don't think the argument that all these students will still be able to compete because they can go to invitationals is necessarily true.
    "Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure." -Earl Wilson

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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    [quote author=JayZ link=topic=3407.msg154391#msg154391 date=1172523326]
    Mia,

    So the system works at selecting gold caliber teams. We know this because it's selecting teams that are gold caliber. How do we know they are gold caliber? Because the system selected them as gold caliber in years past.

    Am I missing something or is that the crux of the argument?
    [/quote]

    My point is that I don't see how you can believe the 1st place team is chosen accurately, but the 2nd place isn't, unless your opinion re: the 1st place team rests on the same tautology you posit here.

    If you don't think getting to gold in the past is a good indicator that you "deserve" to be there now, then what? By some bizarre coincidence, the vast majority of teams at gold get there every year by tiebreaker/power pairing voodoo that always happens to help them but not other, truly deserving teams?

  8. #68
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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    There is a way to experiment. Send a third of the teams to the championship based on regional record (perhaps the regional winners), send a third based on open bid/wild card allocated bids, and then send a third via second chance bids from nationals.

    If one group outperforms the others, we could shift things around to give more bids to the allocation method that produces the best teams.

  9. #69
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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    QQ:

    I think the argument is longevity. A program comprised of only one team will have to rely on rookies to fill vacancies year after year. Schools will still see the value in having veterans to fill vacancies, which means having multiple teams that compete at invitationals so that there will be an experienced pool from which to fill vacancies on the top team.

    And I agree with the comment that there is no shortage of interest. I think the expectation will just change. Like in most competitive activities, students will join the program with the hope of either filling a vacancy right away on the top team or by doing so in subsequent years as vacancies arise.

    Thanks again for the discussion.

    (pun intended)

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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    [quote author=MiaWUCU link=topic=3407.msg154397#msg154397 date=1172523793]
    My point is that I don't see how you can believe the 1st place team is chosen accurately, but the 2nd place isn't, unless your opinion re: the 1st place team rests on the same tautology you posit here.

    If you don't think getting to gold in the past is a good indicator that you "deserve" to be there now, then what? By some bizarre coincidence, the vast majority of teams at gold get there every year by tiebreaker/power pairing voodoo that always happens to help them but not other, truly deserving teams?
    [/quote]

    But the justification is flawed. You're using selective sampling and hindsight.

    The first place team is the best because it is power matched against better and better competition and beats that competition. The second place team, quite simply, is often not. I can justify that by looking at the underlying mechanics of the system and running simulations (or analyzing past actual occurrences) to find where flaws have often arisen. Consider this scenario.

    Three teams, A, B, and C.

    A goes 2-0 first round, hits a 2-0 team second round. Goes 4-0 after second, hits 4-0 team third, goes 6-0.

    Same scenario for B.

    C, meanwhile, goes 1-1 first round. Hits a 1-1 second. Wins both, hits 3-1 second round. Goes 5-1.

    Final round, A and B, both 8-0, hit each other. A wins both, A is 8-0 and B is 6-2. C wins both against some other 5-1 team, goes 7-1.

    A is first, C is second, B is third. Despite the fact that C had an easier schedule than B all tournament and that B's ONLY losses came to an 8-0 first place team that C never hit.

    This is the basic flaw of the system. And it appears time and time again. It does not appear every time. Selectively looking at the teams who have not been bit by the flaw does not mean the flaw does not exist. I can just as easilly scour the silver ranks for teams that HAVE made it in years past but did not this year to justify my claim, but that is as logically flawed as your argument.
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  11. #71
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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    I agree with QQ; our only funding from the University (Honors Dept) is for registration, i.e. for regionals. It's a much harder sell to justify trips to UCLA, NY, DC, and Memphis to the Student Government that hands out funding. Regionals and Nationals are necessary evils as far as funding goes, invites aren't.

    My rants and ramblings are my own and should not be attached to others.

  12. #72
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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    [quote author=JayZ link=topic=3407.msg154400#msg154400 date=1172524395]
    But the justification is flawed. You're using selective sampling and hindsight.

    The first place team is the best because it is power matched against better and better competition and beats that competition. The second place team, quite simply, is often not. I can justify that by looking at the underlying mechanics of the system and running simulations (or analyzing past actual occurrences) to find where flaws have often arisen. Consider this scenario.

    Three teams, A, B, and C.

    A goes 2-0 first round, hits a 2-0 team second round. Goes 4-0 after second, hits 4-0 team third, goes 6-0.

    Same scenario for B.

    C, meanwhile, goes 1-1 first round. Hits a 1-1 second. Wins both, hits 3-1 second round. Goes 5-1.

    Final round, A and B, both 8-0, hit each other. A wins both, A is 8-0 and B is 6-2. C wins both against some other 5-1 team, goes 7-1.

    A is first, C is second, B is third. Despite the fact that C had an easier schedule than B all tournament and that B's ONLY losses came to an 8-0 first place team that C never hit.

    This is the basic flaw of the system. And it appears time and time again. It does not appear every time. Selectively looking at the teams who have not been bit by the flaw does not mean the flaw does not exist. I can just as easilly scour the silver ranks for teams that HAVE made it in years past but did not this year to justify my claim, but that is as logically flawed as your argument.
    [/quote]

    Doesn't that assume that Team C is hitting weaker teams? Just b/c B was 6-0 doesn't mean it hit "stronger" teams than Team C. It just means it picked up more ballots. If Team C hit a perennial powerhouse in round 1 and split and then wins out, and Team B hits teams that avoid the powerhouses (b/c the powerhouses are splitting and thus in the bracket below them) and itself hits the same school as C but younger squads (that can't hit C b/c same school restriction)... does that mean B deserves Gold more just b/c they didn't split in the first round? Certainly going 8-0 proves that you met every challenge presented, as thus you should go to Gold. After that wins by themselves don't necessary guarantee anything.

    [Edit: Typo]
    My rants and ramblings are my own and should not be attached to others.

  13. #73
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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    [quote author=MiaWUCU link=topic=3407.msg154387#msg154387 date=1172522818]
    I don't buy this premise. In lots of regions, we see two teams tied at 7-1 which are making up the top 2. If we assume as you do above that our tie breaker at the end does a good job of determining the best team, why does it not follow that the 7 tied with it is the second best team?
    [/quote]

    B/c the tiebreakers only compare the two teams with the same record. It doesn't compare the 2nd place team with the 3rd place team that had fewer wins.

    For instance, Regional #1 has the following standings at the end of the tournament:

    1st place--State Univ, Team A, 7 wins
    2nd place--Private Univ, Team B, 7 wins
    3rd place--Private Univ, Team A, 6 wins

    State Univ played Private Univ's Team A in the first round and took both ballots. State Univ never played Private Univ's Team B.

    According to your argument, Private Univ's Team B, by tying State Univ in the wins category, is deserving of a Gold bid. However, Private Univ's Team A is the more talented team that got the unlucky draw of facing State Univ, a behemoth program. Although they took every single ballot after that, they end up going to Silver while their B team, who feasted on easier teams, get to go directly to gold.

    EDIT: dammit, I gotta be quicker on the draw...haven't read Jeremy's post yet, but if he's making the same argument as me, ignore mine =P
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  14. #74
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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    [quote author=Quotequeen link=topic=3407.msg154395#msg154395 date=1172523702]
    I don't know how important this is to the argument, but I think programs will have a much harder time convincing their schools to give them money to fund sending people to invitationals who won't be able to compete at regionals. Even though only 2 teams can compete at nationals now, each team has an independent chance at qualifying if the other teams in the program falter, so having more teams increases your chance of qualifying to nationals, even if you can't send all the students there. That's a good thing to tell funding boards. The argument is much weaker to send teams to invitationals from which they cannot qualify to the tournaments the funding boards care about. So I don't think the argument that all these students will still be able to compete because they can go to invitationals is necessarily true.
    [/quote]

    Every public affairs office that I dealt with cares more about exposure than they do any specific trophy. In fact, I doubt they would say it, but I would bet they prefer we load up for all tournaments rather than disperse the competition opportunity to multiple students. A tournament win creates exposure and copy. Tournament participation creates exposure. Unless you have knowledge about the tournaments, the exposure and copy is pretty uniform for mere participation.

    The coaches value a TOC invitation, because of the statement it makes on sustained program success. But I seriously doubt many people know that. We value invitations to other tournaments that feature great programs. I'm sure the school had rather have top finishes in lesser known tourneys, then invitations to great tournaments. The former you can market and it makes a statement to all. Marketing the latter gets a lot of shoulder shrugs. Obviously, they also want cost control on the tournaments you enter. Our school will give more press to a win in an appelate tournament featuring 12 teams, then they will to a semi-final finish in a 158 participating school open tournament. Heck, we had to win a tournament spanning a whole geographic region six straight years before we got any press release external to the school.

    The recognition could be different with undergraduate institutions, but I'm not sure. I've been involved with mock trial programs for awhile, and I read this forum on occasion, and I even get confused by the various tournaments and bid procedures that comprise this competition.

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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    [quote author=philbertk link=topic=3407.msg154405#msg154405 date=1172524915]
    B/c the tiebreakers only compare the two teams with the same record. It doesn't compare the 2nd place team with the 3rd place team that had fewer wins.

    For instance, Regional #1 has the following standings at the end of the tournament:

    1st place--State Univ, Team A, 7 wins
    2nd place--Private Univ, Team B, 7 wins
    3rd place--Private Univ, Team A, 6 wins

    State Univ played Private Univ's Team A in the first round and took both ballots. State Univ never played Private Univ's Team B.

    According to your argument, Private Univ's Team B, by tying State Univ in the wins category, is deserving of a Gold bid. However, Private Univ's Team A is the more talented team that got the unlucky draw of facing State Univ, a behemoth program. Although they took every single ballot after that, they end up going to Silver while their B team, who feasted on easier teams, get to go directly to gold.

    EDIT: dammit, I gotta be quicker on the draw...haven't read Jeremy's post yet, but if he's making the same argument as me, ignore mine =P
    [/quote]

    Which is why we should just get rid of the restriction on same school matchups. If AMTA wants to move to a purely competitive (or at least primarily competitive) system, they'll have to do this in order to justify the other system changes, IMHO.
    My rants and ramblings are my own and should not be attached to others.

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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    Plymouth Djinn,

    Fair enough point re: SSMs with regards to my post, although I think that's a whole different can of worms.

    However, even if I were to change my example to three teams that were from three different schools (a la Jeremy's example), the point remains--just b/c two teams are tied for 1-2 doesn't mean the 2nd place team is deserving of a Gold bid over another team below it.
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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    [quote author=princecaspian link=topic=3407.msg154399#msg154399 date=1172524132]
    QQ:

    I think the argument is longevity. A program comprised of only one team will have to rely on rookies to fill vacancies year after year. Schools will still see the value in having veterans to fill vacancies, which means having multiple teams that compete at invitationals so that there will be an experienced pool from which to fill vacancies on the top team.

    And I agree with the comment that there is no shortage of interest. I think the expectation will just change. Like in most competitive activities, students will join the program with the hope of either filling a vacancy right away on the top team or by doing so in subsequent years as vacancies arise.

    Thanks again for the discussion.


    [/quote]

    Yes, we overbook 100%. That is, we take twice as many students as we have spring advocate roles to fill for the open tournaments. We hope (and have been fortunate enough this far) to get enough fall invitations that selection to the team will mean that a student will be an advocate for at least one round during their law school tenure. We also try to solicit invitations from the best fall tournaments for which we can qualify so the experience is legitimate.

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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    [quote author=Plymouth Djinn link=topic=3407.msg154403#msg154403 date=1172524864]
    Doesn't that assume that Team C is hitting weaker teams? Just b/c B was 6-0 doesn't mean it hit "stronger" teams than Team C. It just means it picked up more ballots. If Team C hit a perennial powerhouse in round 1 and split and then wins out, and Team B hits teams that avoid the powerhouses (b/c the powerhouses are splitting and thus in the bracket below them) and itself hits the same school as C but younger squads (that can't hit C b/c same school restriction)... does that mean B deserves Gold more just b/c they didn't split in the first round? Certainly going 8-0 proves that you met every challenge presented, as thus you should go to Gold. After that wins by themselves don't necessary guarantee anything.

    [Edit: Typo]
    [/quote]

    It does assume just that. But, that's the implicit assumption of power-matching in general. If we believe in the integrity of power-matching then B team, who hit nothing but teams that were undefeated at the time they hit them, hit a harder schedule than C team, who kept hitting teams with a loss. If you're arguing that this assumption is flawed, that B team didn't necessarily hit a harder schedule, then you're arguing that the underlying principle of power matching is flawed. Which is a fine argument, because I think it is. :P

    But you can't argue that since power matching is flawed because it doesn't match tougher and tougher teams against a team as it wins then we can't say for sure that it's flaw of selecting a second place team is determinative.
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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    duckbill, I just don't think that's true here. It might be true if they cared about invitationals, that they wouldn't care about which particular invite you go to if they don't know the details of which are considered stronger and whatever. So they might prefer that you go to a weak local tournament and win it rather than get honorable mention at an elite tournament. But in my experience, what they really care about is national rank. There just isn't much national exposure for any particular tournament outside of this website. That you are a "Top 10 program" or whatever, in the official AMTA rankings, or based on finish at the official national tournament means a lot more.
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    Re: System, is it FUBAR? Discuss.

    [quote author=JayZ link=topic=3407.msg154400#msg154400 date=1172524395]
    Consider this scenario.

    Three teams, A, B, and C.

    A goes 2-0 first round, hits a 2-0 team second round. Goes 4-0 after second, hits 4-0 team third, goes 6-0.

    Same scenario for B.

    C, meanwhile, goes 1-1 first round. Hits a 1-1 second. Wins both, hits 3-1 second round. Goes 5-1.

    Final round, A and B, both 8-0, hit each other. A wins both, A is 8-0 and B is 6-2. C wins both against some other 5-1 team, goes 7-1.

    A is first, C is second, B is third. Despite the fact that C had an easier schedule than B all tournament and that B's ONLY losses came to an 8-0 first place team that C never hit.
    [/quote]

    I agree and have argued intermittently for 3 years now that the way we power pair is inconsistent with the way we rank teams at the end. But I disagree that the hypo you state above happens with any sense of consistency. It is almost impossible that both A and B, in rounds 1,2,3, will hit a 0-0, 2-0 and 4-0. It would make creating brackets a million times easier, but I don't believe I have ever been in sure a "pure" tab room. Same-school constraints, prior meeting constraints, and possibly side bias all prevent this from happening, and it is fair to argue for or against any of those. But you can't base your theory that 1st place is likely accurate while 2nd place is likely not on a situation that practically never happens.

    You also put far more strength on CS as an indicator of "hitting an easier opponent" than I find fair when round 1 is randomly drawn. Many times that opponent who is 1-1 after round 1 is one of the best teams at the tournament (see, e.g., UCLA 965). Many times there is a team at 4-0 that everyone sort of gives a quizzical look to, until you see that they so far hit the bye buster and some crappy team. Yes, they are 4-0 when Team A hit them in round 4, but in the end, they may end up at 4 whereas the previous UCLA example ends up at 7. I am not comfortable saying that Team Hypo that hit the 4-4 had an easier schedule (at least for that round) than the team that hit UCLA 965.

    Its the nature of having impermissibles and the way we resolve them (note: I do not have a better idea for how to resolve them).

    At the end of the day, if Team B goes down 0-2 to Team A, I have no problem with them taking 3rd and proving themselves through Silver. I actually think that is a very fair result. If they had split with Team A, they would probably be in 2nd place themselves, and if they won, they would be at Gold. The unfair result is a team like Howard that had to go up against 2 opponents at a level most teams saw 0 of at their regions. But that has to do with the availability of silver bids and how we divide teams among regions, not gold bids.

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