Wednesday, October 22, 2014

2014 Club Nationals "Mobility"

The exploits of Ghetto Birds/Rhino coupled with the travails of Machine/Polar Bears made me think about the delta between a team's initial seed at nationals versus their final seed.  So here is a quick compilation of that data for 2014 Nationals.  In the case of ties (3rd place, etc.) I'm following end of season USAU Rankings as the tie-breaker.

1.   Johnny Bravo (+4)
2.   Ironside (+2)
3.   Ring of Fire (+3)
4.   GOAT (+6)
5.   Revolver (-4)
6.   Rhino (+1)
7.   Chain Lightning (+2)
8.   Truck Stop (+6)
9.   Sockeye (-6)
10. Doublewide (-2)
11. PoNY (-1)
12. Temper (+3)
13. Furious George (+3)
14. Machine (-12)
15. Prairie Fire (-2)
16. Sub Zero (-5)

1.   Scandal (+3)
2.   Fury (+2)
3.   Brute Squad (-2)
4.   Riot (-2)
5.   Ozone (+3)
6.   Showdown (+4)
7.   Traffic (-1)
8.   Nightlock (-1)
9.   Molly Brown (-4)
10. Schwa (+2)
11. Heist (+0)
12. Underground (+3)
13.  Nemesis (-4)
14. Capitals (-1)
15. Green Means Go (-1)
16. Tabby Rosa (+0)

1.   Drag'n Thrust (+1)
2.   Seattle Mixed/Ghetto Birds (+10)
3.   The Chad Larson Experience (+0)
4.   Wild Card (+5)
5.   Mischief (+0)
6.   Blackbird (-2)
7.   Bucket (+1)
8.   Santa Maria (+6)
9.   Slow White (-1)
10. AMP (+0)
11. Polar Bears (-10)
12. 7 Figures (-6)
13. American Barbecue (+0)
14. The Administrators (+2)
15. Cosa Nostra (+0)
16. D'Oh! Abides (-5)

If you take the average of the absolute value of the delta then you get a measure of how much the seeding held up.  We aren't going to take a sum of squares o that larger movements aren't more heavily weighted, but we need to take the absolute value because it is a zero-sum game.  Let's call that metric "Mobility."  Here are the mobility numbers for the 2014 Club Championships:

Men's: 3.6875
Women's: 1.9375
Mixed: 3.0625

Since all of these numbers are averages it is kind of interesting that Men's had the most Mobility.  Women's being the least isn't surprising, and Mixed having a "high" number is totally not surprising given the rampant turnover in that division.

Machine's drop into Elite status seems fuel the Men's division Mobility, but it isn't that atypical for nationals.  While -12 is the largest number in the past five years (in the Open division), there have been other numbers as high as +8 and even -10.  If we look at the numbers in the Open division for the past five years we see that the new format doesn't automatically produce more Mobility, and that this year might have been extreme but isn't that far past previous years values.

2013:  1.9333
2012:  3.1875
2011:  2.8750
2010:  1.7500

Ignoring last year (when things were pretty much chalk and we had a new format) there as been a five year increase in Mobility in the Open/Men's division.  Now, it could be the result of more parity as the talent base has increased over the past five years.  Anecdotally, there are fewer teams from the same city attending the Club Championships than there were in the past.  That speaks both to a consolidation of talent in those cities and to an increase in talent in other cities (necessitating that consolidation).  Let's see what has been happening in the other two divisions:

2013:  1.7500
2012:  2.7500
2011:  2.2500
2010:  1.6250

2013:  2.6250
2012:  3.3750
2011:  2.2500
2010:  2.6250

These numbers look like the hold up better to our expectation.  The women's division is on average less Mobile and while the Open/Men's division can have its crazy years, it is less Mobile than the Mixed division.  What does this all mean?  I have no idea.  Mobility hinges on the ability to correctly seed the tournament as compared to the final outcome.  I don't know if that is actually the goal of USAU.  Poor connectivity plagues the Mixed division, which would impact Mobility.  But even in the more highly connect Open/Men's there is still a reasonably high Mobility.  I guess that speaks to parity?

It could also relate to who takes placement games seriously.  The difference between 12 and 13 is just as significant as the difference between 2 and 3 under this metric, but I imagine those games are not necessarily played with the same level of intensity.  Out of curiosity I looked at the Mobility for the top and bottom 8 each year in the Open/Men's division.  Here is what I got:

               Top 8        Bottom 8
2014:       3.5               4.25
2013:       2.125           1.625
2012:       2.875           3.5
2011:       2.375           3.375
2010:       2.875           2.875

Aside from 2013 (which we already said was a chalk year) this shows what we would expect.  The lower seeds tend to have more Mobility than the higher seeds.  Could this be because teams let their foot off the gas in placement games?  Could it be because there is less connectivity amongst the lower seeds so correct seeding is more difficult?  Or could it be an increase in parity in the second tier (if not in the first tier)?  I have no idea.  I was just bored when I though about how far/high some teams fell/rose this year and decided to figure some things out.