Regionals Be Cray

Now, more than ever.

With the conference championships out of the way, NCAA gymnastics will hope that we all quickly move on to focusing on regionals so that we don’t spend any more time talking about SEC Championships and the 88-minute scoring calculation delay it took to get all the abacuses out of storage (apparently) and figure out that Florida got exactly the score needed to win.

So, we’ll oblige. Regionals!

Tomorrow at 4:00 ET, streamed on ncaa.org, we’ll learn the exact regional placements during the definitely-necessary-and-not-at-all-silly REGIONALS SELECTION SHOW EXTRAVAGANZA, but this year, there’s a little more reason for an actual regionals announcement than usual because we don’t know exactly how the regional placements will be adjusted to account for hosting conflicts.

Here are the 36 teams advancing to regionals:

NC State needed just a 194.775 at EAGLs to take that final spot away from Michigan State but was not able to do it, finishing just a hair short of a spot in spite of coming into yesterday ranked #33. The big disappointment of the day.

As dictated by the NCAA Official Terrible Seeding Procedure, the top-18 teams are supposed to be distributed in the following format:
1-12-13
2-11-14
3-10-15
4-9-16
5-8-17
6-7-18

Thankfully, this distribution will have to be adjusted this year because of host conflicts, which is good news because the seeding setup continues to make exactly zero sense as a procedure. If we were to arrange the seeds by the normal standard, we would end up with these groups (Note: there is currently a tie for 13th between Arkansas and Oregon State, which is broken by looking at the highest score not already being used as one of the six for RQS, which means the tiebreak goes to Arkansas, 196.500 to 196.225). Whether you can say that Arkansas “wins” the tiebreak, I’m not sure.

Oklahoma – Nebraska – Arkansas
Florida – Denver – Oregon State
LSU – Cal – Boise State
Alabama (host) – Georgia (host) – Minnesota (host)
Utah (host) – UCLA – Washington
Auburn – Michigan (host) – Stanford

The remaining host is #19 Iowa, and if Iowa had finished 18th, things would have been even crazier. Lots of arguments have been going around about how the committee will elect to resort these teams, but there are some vague guidelines given in the rules to provide some sense of how this will be resolved. When host conflicts emerge, the lower-seeds are adjusted, while the higher seeds receive precedent to remain in place if possible. Teams cannot be moved more than two places out of seeding, and should be moved only one (higher or lower) when possible. That’s not going to be possible in this case, so we will have some two-spot moving.

Now, if you start adjustments with the lowest-seed conflicting host, you would move Minnesota first, swapping with Boise State (because swapping with Washington would just create another host conflict). So then we would have this:

Oklahoma – Nebraska – Arkansas
Florida – Denver – Oregon State
LSU – Cal – Minnesota (host)
Alabama (host) – Georgia (host) – Boise State
Utah (host) – UCLA – Washington
Auburn – Michigan (host) – Stanford

Better, but not fixed. Then, you have to adjust Georgia. Since there is a host conflict on either side of Georgia now, you would have to move Georgia two spots (two spots up, because two spots down also creates a conflict), leaving us with this:

Option 1:
Oklahoma – Nebraska – Arkansas
Florida – Georgia (host) – Oregon State
LSU – Cal – Minnesota (host)
Alabama (host) – Denver – Boise State
Utah (host) – UCLA – Washington
Auburn – Michigan (host) – Stanford

I’ve simply swapped Georgia and Denver (rather than bumping Georgia up two and adjusting Denver and Cal each down one) because the guidelines use the word “exchanged” when referring to moving seeds and don’t say anything about adjusting each affected seed downward when a move of two spaces is made. Whatever? I’d prefer the other way, but we’ll see. This setup resolves all conflicts, allowing the Oklahoma group to head to Iowa, the final host.

That’s at least the way I read the rules, that you start by moving the lower-seed host, and then work up the seedings. But, Georgia is ranked higher than Minnesota and has had to move two spots, while Minnesota has had to move only one. Should the higher seed get the honor of being moved fewer spots and the lower seed moved more? Maybe. If we try to move Georgia one spot and Minnesota two, we end up with this:

Option 2:
Oklahoma – Nebraska – Arkansas
Florida – Denver – Minnesota (host)
LSU – Georgia (host) – Boise State
Alabama (host) – Cal – Oregon State
Utah (host) – UCLA – Washington
Auburn – Michigan (host) – Stanford

Another possibility. Either way, I’d say that Oklahoma/Nebraska/Arkansas are together and going to Iowa (yikes!). Utah/UCLA/Washington are together in Battle Pac-12, and Auburn/Michigan/Stanford are together (double yikes!).

Now, if we go with Option 1 but swap the way I’d prefer, moving Georgia up two and then adjusting Denver and Cal each down one, we’d get this:

Option 3:
Oklahoma – Nebraska – Arkansas
Florida – Georgia (host) – Oregon State
LSU – Denver – Minnesota (host)
Alabama (host) – Cal – Boise State
Utah (host) – UCLA – Washington
Auburn – Michigan (host) – Stanford

If we do the same to Option 2, moving Minnesota up two and adjusting Oregon State and Boise State each down one, we’d get this:

Option 4:
Oklahoma – Nebraska – Arkansas
Florida – Denver – Minnesota (host)
LSU – Georgia (host) – Oregon State
Alabama (host) – Cal – Boise State
Utah (host) – UCLA – Washington
Auburn – Michigan (host) – Stanford

My reading of the rules points to Option 1, so that’s the one I’m going with, but I’m presenting the other options so that when Option 1 doesn’t happen, I can point to my backups and say, “Well, I said that might happen too, you guys.”

The remaining teams ranked 19-36 are organized into three pots, (19-24, 25-30, 31-36), and are assigned “geographically,” when possible, to the host within their region or the closest possible host. There are always conflicts, so these teams often end up traveling way farther than they should, hence the criticism of the term “regionals.” It’s hardly a regional anything.

Here’s a screenshot of the manual that I’ve just summarized, so that you can let me know where I’ve gone wrong.

We’ll also need this tomorrow when the placement turns out to be super weird and inexplicable, to try to find of what the committee has done with its lives. 

Also, because of brackets being a thing, the semifinal classifications have already been made. The qualifiers from the [1] Oklahoma, [4] Alabama, and [5] Utah regionals will be placed in one semifinal, while the qualifiers from the [2] Florida, [3] LSU, and [6] Auburn will be placed in the other semifinal. We’ll have to wait to see how the regionals are divided to see whether that’s stupid or not.

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Regionals Be Cray”

  1. While we're all concerned about our precious Top-6 and where they go, what this sport could really use is for a “bottom 6 seed” to advance and go deep. It would do wonders for the marketing of the sport.

    Too bad the judges would never allow it.

    Like

  2. It was my understanding that the NCAA tried to not place too many teams from one conference into the same regional. Thus, I wouldn't be too surprised if Washington flipped with a third seed at another regional (maybe with Boise St. or Arkansas). It would be somewhat boring to watch a PAC 12 “play-in” to nationals.

    I like the following:

    Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Oregon State at Iowa (with Missouri and Bowling Green)
    Florida, Denver, at Minnesota (with Arizona, Illinois, and CMU)
    LSU, at Georgia, Boise St/Washington (with West Virginia, GWU, and Kent St)
    at Alabama, Cal, Boise St/Washington (with Ohio State, New Hamp, and Mich St)
    at Utah, UCLA, Arkansas (with So. Utah, BYU, and Utah St)
    Auburn, at Michigan, Stanford (with Kentucky, EMU, and Penn St)

    That way no more than 2 schools per conference are at any one regional. The seeds aren't adjusted to the point where there is a huge advantage or disadvantage to any one team (at least in my opinion — there will always be arguments).

    Like

  3. Then switch So. Utah and Missouri or GWU. I didn't take the time to look up the smaller conference membership. But I hope the NCAA doesn't put more than 2 teams from each conference in a regional.

    Like

  4. I don't think it's an issue of judges not allowing it. There is a HUGE talent gap between the bottom 6 teams and the two/three seeds at each regional. I could see a fourth ranked team in a regional advancing (Iowa and Missouri could be dangerous this year), but a sixth seed would be a stretch and it would have absolutely nothing to do with judging.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s