Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Open seedings

Well, you gotta rank Boston ahead of Sockeye since Boston is 1-0 head-to-head.

Of course, I don't mean that. A team will play 30-50 games over the course of a year (more when you count the split squad teams they send to some spring tournaments), but some just want to take the results of 3, 2, or even 1 of all those games as the primary determinant of which of two teams deserves a higher seed. It's particularly silly in this example because it was a one-point pool play defeat in a tournament that Sockeye won (while Boston lost in quarters), a tournament that had 9 of the Nationals qualifiers plus Revolver and the Buzz Bullets.

Anyway, as promised, here are my seedings. I wrote a post last year about the method. The only change this year was to give bonus points also for making the semis at a top tournament like ECC or Boston Invite.

The method is to take a team's tournament RRI as shows up in the Score Reporter, give bonus points for finishing high, take a weighted average (with bigger tournaments counting as more), add bonus points for last year, and regress them to a low-Nationals-team level if they don't have enough tournaments this year.

One big problem I can't figure out is how much credit to give Jam for last year. Qualitatively, a team gets credit for both how they did and for how their Regional equivalent did, so Jam would get some credit since they won the Regional and the top finisher from the NW won Nationals, plus they're from the NW, which always seems to be worth extra points. They have the second highest rating prior to the bonus points, but three teams would jump ahead of them if they got no points.

So, without further ado, here are the results:
Team w/2006 No 2006 RRI
Sockeye 1 1 1
Bravo 2 4 4
Furious 3 11 7
SubZero 4 3 3
Jam 5 2 2
Ring 6 5 5
Boston 7 7 9
Condors 8 6 6
Chain 9 10 10
GOAT 10 9 8
Rhino 11 12 12
DWide 12 8 11
TStop 13 13 13
Machine 14 14 14
VBB 15 15 15
Pike 16 16 16

1. Furious is an interesting case. RRI by itself has them 7th, but they drop to 11th because they didn't do well in elimination games (other than Can Nats; they lost in Sectionals and came in 3rd in region). But then the bonus for last year lets them leapfrog all those teams.
2. Otherwise, there is a disappointing lack of difference from straight RRI, whose main flaw in seeding is that it overvalues close losses. It's a predictive algorithm, so it is more accurate looking forward, but doesn't properly give credit for wins and losses. I may have discussed this already, but compare Boston and GOAT at CUT and Boston Invite. GOAT has a higher RRI at CUT than Boston, even though Boston beat GOAT twice and won the tournament. Similarly, GOAT won Boston Invite and beat Boston but had only a small advantage in RRI. In both cases, the tournament winner happened to have some close games along the way while the other team had bigger victories in the other games. I think this is probably where the algorithm is most off from how I would seed teams (and it was designed to mimic that method). Two of the Regional runnerups (Chain and Condors) had higher RRIs than the champ.
3. Most teams were pretty consistent, even comparing tournaments like Sectionals and ECC. "Inconsistent" Boston actually had the 4th lowest variance, but perhaps their inconsistency is manifested within a tournament rather than from tournament to tournament. The VBB had the second highest variance, but that is due to one significantly higher performance. That touranemnt? Nope, it was Sectionals, which was more than 200 points (equivalent to a 15-11 win) higher than any other tournament.
4. Sub Zero was surprisingly high. They were helped out a lot by their dominance at Regionals, which was the highest RRI for any team at any tournament this year (2954 including the 40 point bonus for winning).

I guess what I might want to do instead is to somehow figure out a strength of field for a tournament, allocate points based on final placement, then adjust for wins and losses during the tournament (so someone who wins while going undefeated would do better than one who wins while losing twice in pool play). Sounds doable.

The remaining issue I haven't addressed yet is how to handle inconsistencies. Sockeye emerges as #1 but lost their Region. They are so far ahead of Bravo that my solution is to bring Jam in front of them for the overall #1 and leave the others in the same order. DW and Chain are also inconsistent, but in this case, their average score is right in the middle of some other teams, so the final seedings by this algorithm are:
Johnny Bravo
Furious George
Sub Zero
Ring of Fire
Boston Ultimate
Chain Lightning
Truck Stop
The Van Buren Boys

Well, even I don't believe it, but once the method was set, there is no subjectivism. GOAT and Rhino seem low, but what higher team deserves the 11 and 12 seed?


Idris said...

They just sent out the email requesting captain's input on seeding. You have put 100x more thought than I would, mind if I just send this in as my take on seeding?


parinella said...

Do you want the actual PMR (Parinella-Modified RRI) numbers, too, or are you just going to copy the whole post and begin it, "Jim Parinella once said..." After all, they said to use all available information, and this counts.

I guess the novel idea in all of this is that the unit of measurement for assessing performance is really a tournament, not a game, and so saying "but x beat y" is misguided. A tournament with 4 games (like NE Regionals) is not half as important as one with 8 games just because of the number of games (although the one with 8 games does give you greater confidence in the results and can lead to greater connectivity if it's inter-region). Further complicating things is that it's rarely just two teams that you're comparing; it's all 16 at once (although you can separate them into buckets).

Eh, the commentary on AJ's blog is more interesting, so I'm going there.

Corey said...

Why would you refer to Boston Invite as a "top tournament?" We're not talking about the Club Easterns of your early career anymore. How does Boston Invite - with only 1 team from your top ten seeds at nationals this fall - qualify as a "top tourney?" It's like calling Turkey Swamp '96 a top tourney.

parinella said...

There were still five Nationals teams attending (six if you count us). But you're right, there are better examples. Chesapeake even would have been better, with six attendees. I was trying to throw props to the local scene.

For the record:
ECC: 9
Labor Day: 8
Colorado: 7
Chesapeake: 6
Boston: 5
Tuneup, Cal States, NW Regionals: 4
Solstice, LiveLogic, CUT, various Regionals: 3

Corey said...

Well, results wise, ever since Nesbitt put together a rag tag batch of losers that actually won this "competitive" tourney as a pick up team, didn't it lose its elite status then? I mean, wasn't that the real start of the end of DoG? Losing to Thermonuke?

ps - played 18 with Jim yesterday and he's living the dream with a membership at an amazing course in San Diego, great family with a boy and a girl, and a 5 handicap.

parinella said...

Depends on how ragtag and how big of losers they were.

Although it might be worthy of its own post, I'll retrace the tournament and its field:
1998: first time it was held, "almost all of the Nationals teams E of the Mississippi". We won.
1999: Florida wins it.
2000: Lost to Florida in semis, who then lost to Thermonuke
2001: Beat Thermonuke and Sockeye. This must be the last time Sockeye ventured east except for Nationals.
2002: split into two teams, lost to Ring in finals. DC also there, they were ok that year (at least before Nats)
2003: Beat Ring in semis, lost to sub-zero in finals.
2004: lost to Pike and Ring. This was Pike's semis year.
2005: Subzero and Pike again.
2006: Clapham was there, us and Metal. We won, as in 2006.

Eh, that was worthless. It did used to draw a somewhat stronger top of field and a few more teams from outside the NE/MA.

The beginning of the end was our first pool play loss at Nationals, 15-11 to Sub Zero in 2001.

I first golfed with Nesbitt in 1997, I think it was. We were at a country club in Florida, playing with our hostess, and a 7 iron went flying out of his hands 20 yards down the fairway. He was pretty embarrassed about that. But he didn't even know how to hit an iron the right way then, so it's very impressive that he's at a 5 now.

Corey said...

he said it was a 4 for a bit, but that was before the 2nd little rugrat.

he was a frisbee baller too, for all of you reading that don't know about chesapeake '94! maybe most "out of nowhere" semifinalists of upa open ever.

invite is a fine tourney. just tough to be 'A' list when the best teams are all west coast. i'm in hollywood, trust me i know.

parinella said...

I don't think it would take a big change, though, for Boston Invite or Chesapeake to become true A list (which is currently only ECC and Labor Day? Also CC?). There are about 10 Nationals teams each year within a time zone of the east coast. To be A level, it would need all of the top half of those ten and several of the others. And at least two of the teams should be semis-capable or semis-likely or some such level (roughly equivalent to top 6).