Friday, September 16

Is Southpaw

The most important team

in ultimate?

So, this past weekend I played at club Sectionals for the first time where I wasn't the one seed. Different vantage point.

For example, the schedule is much more complicated. I get why teams obsess over this now. It was a series event and I had no idea what my team had to do in order to advance because I couldn't correctly parse the Format Manual for a 9-team 7-advance format. Also, we didn't know it was a 7-advance format until Wed or Thurs. Maybe Tues?

In fact, we still don't know. The number of teams advancing to Regionals still depends on the number of teams who actually play at sectionals. To some degree. Or something. Point is, if we finished top 2 in our 4 team pool, we'd play a bracket for top-4 on day 2. If we finished bottom 2, we'd carryover 1 game from day 1 and play in the kiddie pool for seeding from 5-9. In our pool were Southpaw (Quarters of Nationals), Bear Proof (Harrisburg-area team that is athletic and trying hard to improve) and Philly Gavel (Philly Northclaw?).

We'd never played any of them. I mean, we played Philly Open once in Delaware, but that definitely didn't count. Completely different teams. For everyone.

Our game against Southpaw started at noon:40. We played alright for a team that had no practices. Timid. Not trusting. But not terrible. A 15-8 loss was assured by the 4 or 5 short fields we gave them and the 1 ricochallahan that bounced off of a Gaulton before being caught by some bystander in yellow. The atlas warmup was good.

The game against Bearproof was a different show. We had many drops and many random throws. We had two culprits (who shall for now remain nameless) and a lot of accomplices. The beer garden, which had been pregamed in the first game, was now in full swing, however. We lost to a team that made more plays than us. They won the unforced error battle and won the 50/50 discs. This is not a recipe for success for EKSB. Bearproof victory 15-11.

Through two games, we found many ways to fail.

In the last game, we dialed in on some basics (subbing strategy, wizard-equivalence, jp and art's roles) and played exceedingly competent offense. Which was a good choice. We win this one 15-8.

Tomorrow we play in the kiddie pool!


So I read this bit by ChucKlosterman on the moving pieces of college football. A good read. Some relevant points include the talent-gap in college football compared to the pros, the different resultant strategies and raises the question of which is more important, the strategy or the execution or the athlete or the what?


The next day, we played 3 teams that basically had no interest in playing us. As far as I could tell. We were missing some people in the first game due to an ill-advised casino run in Philly. There was also a giant birthday party somewhere near Girard and Frankford. But we went with the delicious Sketch Burger. Someone was going shot for shot with Sandra Oh for a while there. Same guy who convinced someone not to throw the birthday cake out the 3rd story.

Yay, we finish 5th?

The bracket turned out as predicted. Southpaw over Oakland over Dire Wolf over Bear Proof.

Wait, we finished sectionals without playing a single team from western PA? No ugly-since-1995 game against Pittsburgh? Weird.

Southpaw and Oakland are real. Bear Proof is not. Dire Wolf... I don't know about. Not to say Bear Proof is bad... but...

The difference btw Southpaw and Oakland is vast but little.


Klosterman's bit also lead to this piece which closes on a bit re: Navy in college football:

“I think the hardest thing for people is that you don’t see it week in and week out,” coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “Defensive coordinators know how to stop it. They know how to play against it. But you’re not seeing it every week. It takes away your instincts as a defender.

“It’s like the old Princeton [basketball] offense — four corners, backdooring everybody," Jasper said. "That’s how they slowed the game down and made other teams one-dimensional.”

Southpaw makes you one-dimensional. They run the same play(s). They adjust the same ways. But they do it very effectively, with a consistently low number of unforced errors. The adjustments they do have are made quickly. The options that take are taken in order.

If you have more talent, you can beat them. But they don't let you beat them on athleticism, work ethic, number of clipboards, awkwardyellowness of jerseys... You can beat them using strategy, but you can't use one strategy. You can't beat them by adjusting to them. They're trying to make you one-dimensional. If you adjust to them, your prime dimension is "not-them".

Essentially, if you meet the criteria of Nationals-caliber team, (Talent, Multiple Strategies, Not Out of Ultimate Shape, Have a Team Identity) you will likely beat them. Not that you always will, but that you will. If you're lacking a little in one of those areas, they'll have the advantage over you, but if you compensate in other areas with big advantages, you could still win more than you lose. If you're missing a component or two of those criteria? Well... you're gonna get lucky or lose or get lucky and lose.

Look at their record:


2-4 v PoNY (-11 pt diff, -2 per game)
1-1 v MedMen (+4 pt diff, +2 per game)
1-3 v Ironside (-18 pt diff, -4.25 per game)
0-1 v Chain, Voodoo, Great Britain, Cash Crop, Furious, Revolver (-24 pt diff, -4 per game)

Now, the GB and Voodoo games seem out of place there. They could be lumped in with either the MedMen or PoNY games without much of a difference. Then the last line becomes:

0-1 v Chain, Cash Crop, Furious, Revolver (-26 pf diff, -5.25 per game)

Which is more in line with Ironside's line.

Looks like tiers to me.

add in:
1-0 v Oakland, NexGen (+2 pt diff, +1 per game)
1-0 v Truck Stop (+4)
1-0 v Dire Wolf, Hypnotoad (+10, +5)
1-0 v Bear Proof, EKSB (+15, +7.5)
1-0 v Philly Gavel (+11)

to make:
0-1 v Chain, Cash Crop, Furious, Revolver (-26 pf diff, -6.25 per game)
1-3 v Ironside (-18 pt diff, -4.5 per game)
2-4 v PoNY (-11 pt diff, -1.83 per game)
0-1 v Voodoo, GB (-3 pt diff, -1.5
1-0 v Oakland, NexGen (+2 pt diff, +1 per game)
1-1 v MedMen (+4 pt diff, +2 per game)
1-0 v Truck Stop (+4)
1-0 v Dire Wolf, Hypnotoad (+10, +5)
1-0 v Bear Proof, EKSB (+15, +7.5)
1-0 v Philly Gavel (+11)

I suspect that Cash Crop won't stay in that spot, but they could. I susepct Truck was waylaid with some injuries at Boston... MA Regionals will be a MFShow.

I think Hypnotoad is overranked there and Gavel got overwhelmed.

Southpaw might be your 2011 "litmus test" AKA "TMITIU".

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