An irate reader asks, yet again:
Can you ask some UPA type this question: "What other sport uses the UPAs 16.3.1
format?" ..you know, the one in which you have to beat everyone twice. I all
tried to convince them it was idiotic and failed. Format switches from
double to triple elimination, is designed to have repeat games, even on the same
day, and it simply silly. I understand the point -it protects from a specific
instance of bad seeding - but it is solving a problem that likely doesn't exist.
I will field this one.
The UPA is at the cutting edge of tournament
formatting. Some tournaments do have losers' brackets
but those are for sports where underdogs have a
fighting chance in any game and the format is designed
to pick a winner, not to sort out places 2-N.
Generally, few other sports care about picking
non-winners, simply calling the finals loser the 2nd
place team, the semis losers joint 3-4, etc., and if
they have a need to pick only 3, say, they will
declare the team that lost to the eventual winner to
be the 3rd place team. In a case like that, since the
semis are generally 1-4 and 2-3, the 4th seed would be
the most likely one to finish 3rd.
Now, onto the 16.3.1 format, the modified triple-elim
to pick three teams. Yeah, it's screwy, since the
most likely scenario is that 3 beats 4 in the backdoor
"final", loses to 2 in the 2nd place game while 4
beats 5 again (which had just beat 6), then 3 plays 4
again for 3rd. But, you know, it's easy to come up
with scenarios where N did not play N+1 and just
happened to lose to the same teams in a slightly
different order because of the seeding (which might
even be a fair seeding).
And it's always to a team's advantage to win a round,
even if the most likely scenario is that they'll lose
next round and have a rematch.
The problem, of course, is that the format thinks that
if A beats B once, it will always beat B, when that
doesn't happen all the time, and people are
uncomfortable when B beats A in the rematch, and angry
when A beats B for a second time in three rounds.
And he irately responded:
A format that expects rematches is a bad one. I think what happened at
college regionals a few years back is a good example. Basically a bunch of
teams played each other twice and they all split. Umass lost to brown by a
point in the finals, a guy broke his leg, then went on to lose 2 more games
and be knocked out. More interesting, I think Dartmouth lost to Harvard ten
beat Harvard, same with Dartmouth Williams or something, certainly with
Dartmouth umass. It leaves a very bad taste to have to play a team twice, as a
matter of course, not some screwy 15 beats 2 scenario, and have them split,
and make the winner of the 2nd game the victor. If you want teams to play
multiple times, make it 3 and have it be a best of 3. the way it sits,
there will be multiple rematches, and likely multiple splits. I realize we
are unique in having to pick seeds 1-3 and not just 1-2, but there is a
limit to "fairness", especially when it introduces more "unfairness".
Bunch of tree-hugging wussie liberals, if you lose you don't get a
rematch just bc its nice.