Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Reflecting on a National Championship

 


On March 2nd at 7:45pm, my phone rang. I had just finished reading bedtime books with the kiddo and my wife was still in the bedroom doing the final round of cuddles and hugs. On the phone was my best friend, Andrew. He never calls - he's more of a mysterious texter. I answered the phone and Andrew told me that our friend Jason had unexpectedly passed away that afternoon. After the call, I sat calmly in my chair staring at the wall. Shayna came out of the bedroom and looked at me. I mumbled, "Jason's gone," and completely broke down. 

Jason was a local singer/songwriter who never played Ultimate but when we were in college together, he would frequent the CSU Ultimate parties, belting out makeshift songs on his guitar and sharing his humor, bombast and energy. We played disc golf together. We frequented karaoke. We played collectible card games and board games and reflected on the state of the world. Jason was such an energetic and passionate individual. He taught me a lot about what it really meant to live life.

Johnny Bravo won the Men's Club National Championship this past Sunday in San Diego. When Quinn Finer reeled in the game winning score, my thoughts immediately went to Jason. The players screamed and hugged and cried. Joe (Durst) and I walked towards the crew as they celebrated on the field. Spicer came barreling out unable to get any words beyond a high pitched squeak and we shared a big hug. As I watched it all unfold in front of me I thought, Jason would have written a fucking epic song about this.

After the 2019 club season I was ready to hang up the clipboard. I had spent the season co-founding and coaching Mixed Signals. We had an amazing season, finishing 9th at regionals and staying true to our core principles of competition, spirit, ownership and inclusivity. Despite that success, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. It was time to take a break from coaching. 

On March 3rd, 2020, I got an email from Todd Wolma, one of the Bravo captains, asking if I had any interest in applying for a Bravo coaching position. I did some internal reflection, talked it over with family, and agreed to submit an application. A few weeks later we had an interview where I rambled on about intentional defense, force-middle principles, playing as 7 on the field, blah blah etc. I'm not totally sure why (maybe the coaches of the 1st-8th mixed teams were unavailable), but they decided to bring me on board.

The 2020 season was lost to COVID. Bravo spent that time thinking critically about our role in the Colorado community as well as our role in this everchanging world landscape. 

In 2021, Boulder Lotus formed and several long time Bravo stalwarts didn't return. The team had a huge amount of turnover from the last full-season Bravo squad (2019), but there was an excitement and buzz around the opportunity to re-establish culture and enter into a season with only the expectations we set for ourselves.

We won the region over Doublewide and cheered as Lotus took the 2nd bid. We had a solid nationals, culminating with a respectable 12-14 loss to Sockeye in quarterfinals. 

As the 2022 club season approached, we got a new wrinkle; The Colorado Summit, a new AUDL franchise, was announced. I knew Mike Lun, longtime coach of CU Mamabird, and coach/captain of Lotus was going to be involved with the Summit and that there was a reasonable chance a lot of current Bravo players would likely be trying out for the squad. 

The existential AUDL conversation is a complicated one for a lot of folks in the community, and I won't delve into the depths of that here, but I felt like the opportunity to work with my longtime rival, Mike, and the chance to coach more of the younger Lotus guys would be an amazing experience. 

I applied for a coaching role with the Summit, went through some interviews and conversations with owners about my own vision, experience and expectations and was brought on board.

The Summit had an incredible inaugural season, going 11-1 in the regular season, winning the west division over rival rookie franchise, the Salt Lake City Shred, before falling to the Chicago Union at championship weekend. It was an amazing experience that has several blog entries itself worth of reflection. 

The core tenant that the players and coaches kept centered that entire AUDL season was simple, "joy". Find your joy. It can't just be about wins. It can't just be about the competition. What brings you joy? Why do you put in the work? Why do you grind? How do you center that joy in challenging moments? How do you support others to find that joy? I hoped that joy would continue on through Bravo season.

Lotus didn't reform. We pressed Mike to join Bravo to run the offense (which he did!). A whole bevy of current Mamabird and recent grads joined the team including Alex Atkins, Danny Landesman and Calvin Stoughton. Atkins unfortunately tore his PCL in a Summit game in July and wasn't able to suit up for Bravo until nationals. 

Bravo had a lot of success early in the season. We won the Pro-elite challenge in July. We lost to Truck Stop on universe in the finals of the US Open in August. We lost to PoNY on universe in the quarters at Pro Champs in September. Heading into our final game of the weekend at Pro Champs, it seemed likely that with a win in that game vs Rhino, we'd probably be a top 3 seed heading into nationals. Rhino beat us on Universe. A lot of negativity surrounded that loss for myself and the team. I struggled to find my "joy" and my "why." 

We rolled through sectionals and regionals until a windy final where a fired up Doublewide squad took us down on Universe. It was a very disappointing loss. We didn't bring our best game. We beat Hip for the 2nd bid to nationals, but a lot of that negativity still remained. For me, after 9.5 months of coaching across multiple teams and seasons, my joy was slipping further away. 

After regionals, Alex Tatum ("Plow") emailed the team and organized a players-only meeting. It was an opportunity for players to talk about "why each one of us here" and "what each of us looking to get out of this." I don't know all the specific content of that meeting, but after that the team absolutely dialed for our last several practices heading into nationals. The energy, grit and grind were there. A total re-centering of people's "why."  After our final evening practice as Ben (Lohre) was dropping me off at our carpool spot, he called out, "TK, I never asked, what's your why?" I answered simply, "Growth."  

We stumbled out of the gate at Nationals. GOAT put together an inspired performance and took us down on Universe (dang, common theme). In the post-game huddle Chance (Cochran) said exactly what we needed to hear; "We get to decide what happens from here. We write the story. Is this Bravo crumbling at nationals or is this a bump on the way to a national championship?"

I wandered off to spend some time alone before our next game against Omen. I sat down with my back to the fence in the corner of the complex and put on my favorite Jason Keen song. I thought about the loss. I thought about the games in front of us. Matty Jackson came over and chatted with me a bit. As I got back up to return to the team, I pushed away the negative energy that had seeped into my heart. We can get this done. We are here for each other. We have put in the work. The team believes and trusts each other.

We destroyed Omen. We played inspired, incredible disc against Truck in pool play, losing 12-15 in a game that, despite significant wind, only had six total turnovers. This left us at 1-2 in pool play and a pre-quarters matchup with 2019 national champion Seattle Sockeye. A tough draw, but we were absolutely up to the challenge.

We didn't have the cleanest offensive first half in pre-quarters vs Sockeye, but the O-line battled valiantly after every turn and the D-lines exerted consistent pressure. Down 11-8 with 19 minutes until cap, we rallied. O punched in a clean hold and we put out a standard D line. Seth Faris knocked a floaty disc to the ground and the D patiently worked the disc back and forth on the goal line for 15+ passes before punching it in for the break.

Bryce Dixon skied for a big hold for Sockeye and our O followed suit with a beautiful huck from Quinn to Calvin. Sockeye's O tried to force a huck to Rehder around our force-middle that hit the turf. Our D worked the disc down the field and patiently found an open Denny to tie it up at 12s. 

We swapped in our "starting" d-line for the 12-12 point (d2 had gotten both the previous breaks) and Nathan Buchholz got the clutch block of the tournament on a Kwon OIO flick attempt. The D took a timeout then patiently worked the field with Spicer finding Erik Hotaling for a up-the-line score and the 13-12 lead. Sockeye held on a huck to Nick Stuart then our O line grinded out an amazing Universe win with Cole Wallin making multiple contested grabs before Ben found Danny for the score and the win. 

This game was where ALL of what we'd worked on all season came together. We didn't expect to play perfect, but it was how we were able to react to those imperfect moments that defined our season. We didn't feel that our best chance at a come back was to stack every line with our "best" but rather that our squad was deep, hungry and ready from 1-26. Our d2 line scored 3 of the 4 breaks this game. Our O had a bunch of turns but grinded almost all of them back. Players didn't waver when their number was or wasn't called to get on the field. This is the trust and belief we had as a group. Instead of letting negative energy overtake us, we stayed positive, supportive and just shared all the love we could. 

We rolled through Machine in quarters. Our O was only broken once. Our D only had two turns. 

We rolled through Rhino in semis. Our O was broken 3 times, but didn't get broken in the 2nd half and the D finished the game with 7 breaks. Every single player contributed. Every player made plays. Our d2 line grinded out a coverage sack stall late in the game that captured that energy perfectly. We believed in ourselves and each other. Prior to the Rhino game, Sockeye game MVP Nate Buchholz tearfully informed coaches he couldn't play with swelling and pain in his knee. "Buck" took on marking duties (which is wildly important in our defense) on the far sideline and may have put me out of a job with how flawlessly he called the shifts. 

The morning of the finals, the vibe was very laid back. Chance told me afterwards that when he felt the energy in the players' house that morning, he knew we were going to win. The trust and belief had infiltrated the entire team so thoroughly that it was inevitable.  It was the biggest game of just about each player's life, and we played about as perfect of a game as you could ask for. We made significant offensive and defensive adjustments and the players simply rolled with it. We played deep through the roster all weekend and it showed in the biggest moments.

I absolutely love what Truck Stop did this season. They dominated all year. They worked hard on every play. They played deep into their roster. They are amazingly well coached. They trust each other so dang much (you have to, to play offense like that). Despite all that, there is nobody else we wanted to play more in the finals because they are so much like us. Not in style, but in energy. And that felt like the best men's title game the sport could ask for. Huge props and love out to their team for an unbelievable game and season. I'd assume folks have watched the clip above, but we took the finals 15-11. O had 2 turns the entire game and was broken 0 times. An absolute masterclass in dynamic, efficient offense from Mike Lun and the O crew.

To circle this rambling narrative all the way back, I knew I wanted to write about this season no matter the outcome. I reflect again about my "why". I think about my own growth. I think about the things I learned from my friend, Jason, about living life to the fullest. 

My personal growth isn't so much about on-the-field pieces. I'm pretty good at X's and O's. My growth is all about how I react and respond to negative situations. It's an ongoing journey for me, but I'm proud to say I'm making progress. Our time on this earth is limited, why spend that time focusing on the negative? 

I am so proud this season, not just of this team for winning a national championship, but for centering trust and love when it mattered most. I don't often smile because I internalize a lot of my emotions but this season was absolutely worth smiling about. It's easy to say that as a champion, but it would have been worth smiling about no matter the outcome. 

There's only one 'champion' for each division, but that doesn't change the value of the journey for all the thousands of people that put their time and energy into this wonderful, wacky sport each season. Don't take those moments on and off the field for granted. Be kind to yourselves and each other. Your work matters and is noticed, whether your clawing to make regionals or whether you're winning a title. This community is amazing and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Until next time.

-TK



Saturday, May 16, 2020

2019 - Hibida Hall of Fame - David Miller


2019 - David Miller

Apologies to Mr. David Miller on the delay in this much deserved entry. The one-year delay appears to be the new normal, unfortunately. Also working to expand out the voices in these entries beyond just a single college coach. 

-TK

Hannah Matthys

I had the honor of coaching David Miller during his high school career. While a gifted athlete who also played Varsity Soccer, Miller was dedicated to the Lakewood Ultimate Frisbee team. I had no doubt that he would fit on CSU's Hib, given that he would join their program already embodying their core values. Despite being one of the best male downfielders in the state (I would argue he was the best), Miller always worked hard and sought feedback. He helped to create a culture of development, growth, and hard work for Lakewood Ultimate's budding program- because as younger players saw a dominant player and leader like Miller asking for feedback, they learned that this is what it takes to be great. Miller was also fiercely competitive- pushing himself and his teammates during every scrimmage and game. While it's been years since I've coached him, he stands out as one of the grittiest workhorses I've coached. Not only did Miller have the trifecta of athleticism, hard work, and competitive spirit, he was also an incredible teammate. By the end of his junior year and throughout his senior year, he became a leader off the field as well. He became vocal- holding his team to high standards and inspiring greatness. His senior year was magical- and he was a large part of the reason that Lakewood won their first State Championship. Not only did he help win a championship, but David Miller was part of defining the culture for Lakewood High School, current a leader in the High School Ultimate Community.

When I said that it was an honor to coach Miller, that wasn't just a fluffy way to start a statement. It was truly an honor. Miller is back in Lakewood, and is now giving back. I am excited to have him join the Lakewood Coaching staff - and it is truly a loss that we won't get to coach together this spring (because of COVID-19), but I look forward to coaching alongside him in the future. HIB and Bravo have given him strategic insight and taken his game to the next level - and I am excited to share this with the next generation of ultimate youth. He will be joining Coach Phil Lohre and myself in coaching the Cutthroat U20 Boys, and I am excited to now lead with him. Thank you, HIB, for developing Miller's talents and character further. I look forward to continuing to send Lakewood DEEP players to you!

Peter Raines

Dave was and is, quite often, the hardest worker on the field. His unrelenting defensive pressure would tire out the most ambitious cutters and then he would be the first person to take off after a turnover.  On top of being a workhorse, he would make his impact felt with athleticism. At least once per tournament he would get some ridiculous over the shoulder D that would cause everyone on the sideline to look at the person next to them to confirm that had actually just happened. His dominance in the air led to the coining of  the term "Dave ball" for any disc that was thrown absurdly high because he would most likely come down with it in a pack. If you get a chance, check out his callahan video for some examples. What makes that even more impressive to me is that he was able to make these plays at the end of tournaments when he had the most points played.


As a teammate he encouraged everyone to be their best, whether it was by pushing them at practice or picking them up after a tough point. No matter the score,  Dave would be the loudest on the sideline or first on the field after a point. He set the precedent for everyone else to put in the work. I am thankful that I had the privilege of coaching Dave, even for a short period.

Tim Kefalas

David Miller joined CSU program in the much-hyped 2015 class that included, Jack Hinchsliff, Cody Spicer, Jake Servaty and many other amazingly talented players. Within that group, Dave immediately established himself as a key player and role-model, even as a first-year. He had a storied high-school career at Lakewood High School and we knew he was going to be a special college player as well.

My trepidation with any star high-school player is not knowing what kind of attitude accompanies them when they're coming from a place where they were likely quite dominant, into a new competitive context. This was never an issue, in any capacity, for Dave.

He carried himself with an improvement-focused, humble attitude that permeated throughout the entire team. It didn't matter if he just skied one of the top college players in the country, Dave would be on the side-line the next point asking what he could do better. He always put forth full effort on the field. He was/is an incredibly savvy and heads up player. He was always seeking out opportunities to both help deep as well being a very intelligent underneath poacher. I don't know how someone so large (6'3) can stay out of the line-of-sight so effectively, but Dave made a killing on sidling in front of underneath cuts with for layout (or pancake), catch Ds.

Dave also had amazing body control for someone so tall, especially on his layouts. I remember one specific huck that went up to Dave's guy - it was a perfect throw and the receiver was positioned such that he had a straight line to the disc with Dave directly behind him - there was no good angle to get in for a good jump. Dave closed the gap and then bid up and over the receiver, getting a clean block on the disc and avoiding contact - it was one of the most impressive and unexpected blocks I have ever seen.

Beyond the jaw-droppers, Dave always maintained his focus on fundamentals. He worked diligently on footwork, positioning and working out mechanics in his throws. One of my other favorite Dave memories was college nationals, 2017, when him and our other big man, Sten Larson (6'4), ended up behind the disc on a defensive point. The two of them ran the most crisp handler rotations, maybe of the whole tournament, and small-balled their way straight to a break - I don't think they threw a single pass downfield, just the tall-man weave - it was beautiful.

I coached Dave for 4 of his 5 years in college and while he was never technically a captain in any of those four years, inevitably his intensity, work-ethic and abilities made him a core leader on the team. He was elected captain for his 5th and final college year and I know he carried himself with the same principles within that official role as well.

Beyond the field, Dave is such a thoughtful, principled, incredible person. He taught me about staying focused on what's important, staying true to one's self and working hard no matter the circumstance. For those pieces, any so many more, I am so grateful to know him as both a player and a friend.

While it's hard to say what's in the cards for Ultimate this club season and beyond, I'm really excited for the opportunity to coach Dave again on Bravo this year. There's nothing that makes me more proud than watching CSU alum make their mark on the Ultimate community.

Honorable Mentions: Daniel "Chuck" Crump, Jake Marrapode, Jack McGinnis, Luke Beal






Thursday, June 20, 2019

2018 - Hibida Hall of Fame - Cody Spicer


2018 - Cody Spicer

I'm about a year behind on this specific entry so my apologies to Mr. Cody Spicer, but that doesn't make his induction into the Hibida hall of fame any less meaningful. 

Spicer left an amazing legacy at CSU and the impact he continues to have on the Fort Collins and Colorado Ultimate community as a whole can't be understated. 

In the Fall of 2014, Cody started his first Masters degree at Colorado State and joined Hibida after playing a single year at the South Dakota School of Mines. It was a transitional time that I've spoken to in previous entries, but that particular year we had a huge influx of talent and Cody was a big part of that core. After rehabbing some injuries and finally getting on the field for us, his impact as a defender, athlete and work-horse was immediate. 

I know that labeling someone as a "try-hard" can carry a negative connotation - a backhanded compliment of sorts. That person who maybe isn't as naturally skilled or athletically gifted, but gets by because they put in the work. The person that gets a "nice running" in the high five line at the end of the game. Spicer was and is absolutely a "try-hard." However, he couples the "try-hard" mentality with an amazing athletic talent and high field-IQ. Putting those pieces together has resulted in one of the best players to ever come through CSU. 

Spicer's dedication and commitment to fundamentals made of the core of his athletic game: foot-work, body control and positioning. Despite being 6'2, Spicer always dominated all our our quickness drills and sets. He wasn't going to win a 100 yard straight line sprint, but there is nobody who was a more consistent deep defender or deep threat. His ability to process the line of the disc in the air, the match-up with his defender and know exactly where he needed to be to make a play, whether it was on O or D, is one of the most unique and impressive skill-sets I have seen in all my years coaching and playing ultimate. The focus on the little details made all the difference. 

As a thrower, Cody didn't begin with Hib as a particularly skilled individual - he had a funky grip and some issues with core form - but he dove right into the steps necessary to grow his offensive repertoire and work out the kinks in his throws. By his final year on the team he was one of our most consistent and reliable players with the disc in his hands.

Spicer's defense on Chase Cunningham at 2015 Regionals solidified his place in the south central pantheon of top players. His fundamentals, quickness and motor gave him the ability to match up on any player in the country. Throughout his college career he covered the likes of Ben Sadok, Ben Jagt, John Stubbs, Khalif El-Salaam - the list goes on and on. I think the biggest factor that played into Spicer's effectiveness as a defender was that he never gave anyone anything without making them work. Where folks often backed Jagt because he was 6'6 and blazing fast, Spicer forced him out and contested his deeps. On Stubbs, defenders normally had to "pick their poison" of getting beat with his throws or his downfield speed. Spicer locked him up in the backfield and made him cut 2-3 times to get a routine reset - finally forcing Stubbs to push into the downfield. It wasn't that these players were completely shut down or not making plays for their team, but it was always contested - there was nothing free.

Spicer made the south central All-Region Team all four years he played with Hib, taking home Player of the Year honors in 2017. He led the team to our first nationals berth, gained some notoriety with the Ultimate pundits and even has a Callahan video or two floating around on the internet. 

Despite all this, what I appreciate the most about Cody, is not what he does on the field - I truly appreciate the person that he is. He's a genuinely good, kind and honest human being. He carries very close to heart his humility and the importance of faith and family. He does things because they are the right thing to do. I don't agree with every view that he holds, but I respect the heck out of the fact that he maintains his integrity across his core values and doesn't let it cross into judgment of others. 

I am honored to call Cody a friend. His example has helped me be a better person, coach and father. I am thrilled to dive into a new club experience with him this summer and I hope he never forgets the positive impact he has had not only on the CSU Ultimate program but on the people that have been a part of his life.

-TK

Honorable Mentions: Jake Servaty, Jack Hinchsliff, Dylan Johnson, Cole Turner, Mark Stratford, Toby Nordhoff, Matt Bush


Monday, April 1, 2019

New Colorado Mixed Club Team - Mixed Signals!


Mixed Signals – Colorado Mixed Ultimate 2019


We are excited to announce the start of the 2019 season of Mixed Signals, the new Colorado Mixed Ultimate team!  You’ll find info about the team culture, planning and an RSVP for our April 20th combine below.

What is Mixed Signals?
Mixed Signals is a tryout club team based in Colorado comprised of players who are skilled, highly competitive, fun to play with, and who come together for the joy of playing competitive Ultimate. We are forming to further support and encourage the development of the Colorado Ultimate community, and to provide a unique opportunity for club players in Colorado and Wyoming.

What are the team’s core values?
The team functions by subscribing to the following core values:
  1. To play in a competitive and spirited environment.
  2. To take ownership.
  3. To be dedicated to an inclusive culture and style of play.
What do these core values mean exactly?
We believe being highly competitive and spirited are not mutually exclusive. A team can compete at the highest levels of the sport while still maintaining a high level of spirit: treating teammates and opponents with respect, a depth of knowledge surrounding the rules and one’s own accountability with upholding respectfulness and mindfulness across all contexts.

Taking ownership means you own and are personally responsible for both yourself and your team. You own your attitude, your practice, your fitness, and your discipline.  It also means you own Mixed Signals itself and become both a representative and a shareholder of the team. You’ll know you will always have a voice, that you are committed to the team, and are part of the fabric that makes it great.

Dedication to an inclusive culture and style of play means valuing and affirming all members of the team at all times. It means playing stylistically in a way that incorporates every player’s strengths. It means being mindful of language and how one shows up to practice, tournaments and team interactions. Lastly, it means a responsibility to represent that inclusive culture, not just through team functions, but also across the community at large.

What are the team goals?
For the 2019 season, Mixed Signals is setting the goal of establishing the foundation of our culture, identity and cementing ourselves as a regionally competitive team.

What will practice be like?
We will have practice once per week on Tuesday at 6:00pm.  Each practice will begin with a description of the practice theme, followed by a short warm-up, two to three effective high-level drills, scrimmage, (brief) conditioning, and a warm down.  Practice will teach and enforce principles-based Ultimate, and will pay great attention to details.  Drills will be designed specifically to simulate real game scenarios, and most will be technically intermediate and advanced.

What will the season arc look like?
The season will begin with defining the language we will use for the season, with practice focusing on getting a lot of touches and defining play principles. Our intention will be to develop a variety of schematic specifics early in the season and then use our regular season tournament schedule to round out and refine those schemes.

What tournaments will we go to?
Fort Collins Summer Solstice, June 22nd-23rd, Fort Collins, CO
Select Flight West (tentative), July 13th-14th, Aurora, CO
Heavyweights August 3rd-4th, Chicago, IL OR Grub August 3rd-4th, Boulder, CO
Sectionals (tentative) September 7th-8th Denver, CO
Regionals (tentative) September 21st-22nd TBD
Nationals (tentative) October 24th-27th San Diego, CA

Will there be dues?
Yes. Dues will cover the cost of fields, tournament bids, hotels, rental cars, and jerseys.  We will take advantage of group rates and local travel to keep costs as low as possible. The specific amount will be determined once the roster is finalized but we’re aiming to play as much locally as possible.

What are the team’s expectations?
The team expects a full understanding of, and adherence to its three core values at all times.  Practice and tournament attendance to the best of one’s abilities is also expected, along with clear and consistent communication.  Email is our primary form of communication off the field but some of the older folks in leadership are open to exploring new technology options (What the heck is a groupme?).

When are tryouts and what will they be like?
We will be hosting a combine on Saturday, April 20th at Rossborough Park from 9am-2pm. We’d love to have ANY player with a love for Ultimate to come out and get some high quality reps in, regardless of their club season plans. Whether or not you’ve committed to playing elsewhere this will be an opportunity to come together, run some high-level drills/scrimmages and meet some great people. 

If you’re interested in attending the combine, please RSVP here so we can track numbers and plan appropriately.

After the combine we’ll host open practices on Tuesday April 23rd, April 30th and an open practice on May 7th all at 6pm. Locations to be determined. A final tryout structure will be communicated. 

Candidates will be competing for approximately 14 roster spots and we look to be 25 strong for tournament season. A handful of conditional tryout positions may be reserved for interested players who are out of town or who may be wrapping up their college seasons. 

What does the BEST candidate for this team look like?
The best candidate for this team is someone who is skilled, competitive, committed, intelligent, plays selflessly, and is dedicated to maximizing joy and fostering inclusivity.  This candidate is mentally robust, can grasp new offensive and defensive plays quickly and effectively, and is adaptable to new and challenging situations.

What kinds of candidates would NOT be a good fit on this team?
Someone who wants to go to Nationals at all costs, someone who is not competitive, someone who whines about play time, someone who whines at all, and someone who breaks down mentally. Someone who doesn’t believe in fostering inclusivity. Anyone who might be considered a schmuck by more than a few people, regardless of skill, will not be a good fit for this team.

Look forward to seeing everyone out on the field!

Regards,

Jess, Spicer and TK



Shout out to Mr. David Chan as much of the structure of this post is a testament to his original "Chanifesto" from 2014. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

The D1 Regionals and Nationals men's bid picture with one week left!

With one week left, the bid picture for both regionals and nationals is anything but finalized. There are quite a few teams that will be in action this weekend and there are some intriguing teams that are right on the bubble of earning nationals or regionals bids for their respective regionals and conferences.

Huge shout out to Cody Mills, algorithm guru, who maintains his rankings site, where us lesser-math-inclined folks get to see more of the depth behind the numbers. *Cody appeared to have made some slight updates between me starting and finishing this entry so some of the exact power values may not be 100% consistent with what's on his site, but no major differences that I can see. 

Please note that this entry doesn't take into account any potential voided games that may come through when USAU combs over roster consistency and whatnot. 

I'm also assuming that the regionals sizes will be consistent with last year which may not be 100% accurate if the registered teams totals end up great or lesser than in the past. 

Also a reminder that these are simply the bids earned for a region or conference, any team can secure a bid with a strong performance in the series. 

Section one will be the nationals bid picture and section two will be the regionals bid picture. I won't delve into much depth on the regionals bids as I'm simply not as familiar with a lot of the teams within those conversations. I also assumed B-teams would be playing D1 conference championships which I know isn't always the case. 

Nationals Bids

Current Strength Bid Ranking Value Cutoff: 1869.75


RegionAuto-BidEarning TeamStrength BidsEarning TeamTotal
Atlantic Coast1UNC3Virginia Tech, UNCW, NCState4
Great Lakes1Illinois01
Metro East1Connecticut01
New England1Brown1Umass2
North Central1Carleton2Minnesota, Wisconsin3
Northwest1Oregon1Washington2
Ohio Valley1Pitt01
South Central1Colorado State1Colorado2
Southeast1Georgia1Florida2
Southwest1Stanford1Cal Poly SLO2
Total Bids20

Playing For a Bid

NC State (1869.75) and Cal Poly SLO (1888.67) both currently have a bid earned for their respective regions and are both playing at Easterns. However, each team sits precariously close to some of the bubble teams. Luckily for them, those most within striking distance are inactive in the final weekend of the regular season. They are in the driver's seat for their bids. A solid Easterns performance and they will likely hold. 

Emory (1826.76) is an intriguing team at 22nd and is playing at Huck Finn. They only have eight games thus far this season and a strong tournament performance could move them into the bid picture - that few games means a lot of their ranking is still to be determined. However, the competition level in St. Louis could hurt them as they need strong point diff to move up. and Huck Finn often comes with equalizing weather, making blowouts hard to come by. 

Texas (1776.34) and Georgia Tech (1749.98) are both at Huck Finn as well but would require some significant margins of victory to move up enough to drive past NC State. 

Inactive But In The Hunt

BYU (1867.95) and Texas A&M (1832.34) Neither team has a tournament left, but both are with range of a bid if either Slo or NC State has a poor Easterns performance. BYU sits less than 2 points behind NC State for the final strength bid. A&M would need quite a bit of help as it would require both NC State and Slo to have terrible weekends.

Prediction

I think SLO will hold their bid with a strong Easterns performance but NC State drops below BYU adding another healthy dose of debate surrounding the BYU bid and their decision to play Conferences (or not) and hold onto the bid for the Northwest (or not). 

Regionals Bids

Atlantic Coast (16 team regionals)

Current Strength Bid Ranking Value Cutoff: 1092.35


ConferenceAuto-BidEarning TeamStrength BidsLast InTotal
Carolina1UNC7Appalachian State8
Colonial1Maryland2Delaware3
Virginia1V Tech4George Mason5
Total Bids16

Great Lakes (12 team regionals) 

Current Strength Bid Ranking Value Cutoff: 1188


ConferenceAuto-BidEarning TeamStrength BidsLast InTotal
East Plains1Notre Dame3Indiana4
Illinois1Illinois3Chicago4
Michigan1Michigan3Michigan B*4
Total Bids12


*Doesn't have 10 games and I'm not sure if they're active this final weekend. The bid would move to Ball State in the East Plains if they don't get their 10 games in. 


Metro East (16 team regionals)* 

Current Strength Bid Ranking Value Cutoff: -17.91


ConferenceAuto-BidEarning TeamStrength BidLast InTotal
Hudson Valley1Connecticut2Yale3
Metro NY1Rutgers6Hofstra7
Western NY1Cornell5SUNY-Buffalo6
Total Bids16

*There are a lot of teams with only a few games and several tournaments still to play. This is the most volatile region as far as where the bids will land. 


New England (16 team regionals)*

Current Strength Bid Ranking Value Cutoff: -94.56

*The region is a mess - too much to sort through not knowing the geography better, sorry.


North Central (12 team regionals)

Current Strength Bid Ranking Value Cutoff: 959.58

ConferenceAuto-BidEarning TeamStrength BidsLast InTotal
Lake Superior1Wisconsin4Wisc-Whitewater5
Northwoods1Carleton3Minnesota-Duluth4
West Plains1Iowa2Nebraska3
Total Bids12


Northwest (10 team regionals)

Current Strength Bid Ranking Value Cutoff: 1000.09


ConferenceAuto-BidEarning TeamStrength BidsLast InTotal
Big Sky1BYU3Montana State4
Cascadia1Oregon5Oregon State6
Total Bids10


Ohio Valley (16 team regionals)

Current Strength Bid Ranking Value Cutoff: 814.35


ConferenceAuto-BidEarning TeamStrength BidsLast InTotal
East Penn1Temple4Drexel5
Ohio 1Ohio State6Miami-Ohio7
West Penn1Pitt3Pitt-B4
Total Bids16


South Central (16 team regionals)

Current Strength Bid Ranking Value Cutoff: 1125.44


ConferenceAuto-BidEarning TeamStrength BidsLast InTotal
North Texas1Texas-Dallas3North Texas4
Ozarks1Kansas4Missouri State5
Rocky Mountain1Colorado State3Colorado-B4
South Texas1Texas A&M2Texas State3
Total Bids16


Southeast (16 team regionals)

Current Strength Bid Ranking Value Cutoff: 1106.72


ConferenceAuto-BidEarning TeamStrength BidsLast InTotal
Florida1Florida2Florida State3
Gulf Coast1LSU6Vanderbilt7
Southern App.1Georgia5Tennessee6
Total Bids16

Southwest (16 team regionals)

Current Strength Bid Ranking Value Cutoff: 1188.14


ConferenceAuto-BidEarning TeamStrength BidsLast InTotal
Desert1Nor. Arizona2Arizona State3
Norcal1Stanford6Nevada - Reno7
Socal1Cal Poly SLO5UCSD6
Total Bids16