Thursday, May 1, 2008

Picture of the Week; Disparity in College Ultimate


There has been a lot of talk about the Ottawa and UBC women's teams and their advancement to UPA college nationals. In fact, I'm part of the hype machine, along with Rec Sport Disc and many other blogs.

Both teams are good and both will be teams to watch in Colorado. However, we must not misinterpret their previous results in sectionals and regionals. We can't think that these teams have necessarily hit their peak, or are efficient machines that can't be stopped.

Bigger, Faster, Stronger
Source: Alex Benedict

Using only the scores and the pictures for Ottawa, I have to wonder if the reasons for such lopsided results has less to do with Ottawa being dominant and more so their opponents being hopeless. Looking at the example picture (Kate Crump finally appears on my blog, so settle down guys), there seems to be a great disparity in the physical height and fitness of the Gee Gees to their opponents. Couple that with better or equal disc skills, and you have blowouts.

And hey, I love my team dominating at ultimate as a coach and as a player. Love it. But when it happens to my team I know when it's a case of weak opponents and when it is a byproduct of team efficiency. I enjoy the latter much more!

This disparity isn't good for Ottawa. It prevents a need to improve leading up to nationals, and it can lead to some bad habits. You can't pick your opponents, so one hopes the leadership of the Gee Gees can push them to be fully prepared for the elements of Colorado.

Disparity within sections and regions of college ultimate, along with schedule, makes it hard to predict with any accuracy who is a legitimate championship contender. That's why I wonder how Wisconsin can be considered such a easy pick as men's champions. Surely they have a weakness, even if it is the fact that they are a bunch of young twenty somethings that are subject to emotions and mistakes. As the season has played out, they have proven beatable and unpredictable.


jhaig said...

Sorry you are assessing their opponents on your percieved athletic ability based on still photographs posted on the internet? "Sport Management Steve" the guy who wouldn't accept T-1000 assessment that he prefers to play 2 points on and then 1 point off without him citing his sources has decided that some random women's team lact fitness based on a still photograph? You can do better then that.

Look at the records of the teams they beat. Fair to say most of them didn't travel out of region, but I see Pitt having wins over Stanford, Wisconsin and UCSB, all respectable west coast teams. And Pitt was one of the many teams that didn't get out of a tournament Ottawa U dominated.

Add that their win in Vegas with wins over real teams and it's hard not to seed them first. They haven't lost and they have beaten other good west coast teams the only times they played. It would be much easier to seed them 1 if they had won one other tournament since Vegas, but even with their light schedule it's hard not to seed them 1, even if you don't consider them the favourite to win.

"You can't pick your opponents, so one hopes the leadership of the Gee Gees can push them to be fully prepared for the elements of Colorado."

But you can pick the tournaments you play in, and you know the relative strength of the tournaments out there. So yes, you can pick your opponents up to the start of the series.

T1000 said...

Both Ottawa and UBC have potential to do extremely well in Boulder, and I think both will be entering the tournament with high seeds that I think they've earned by the numbers they've put up so far. In Ottawa's case, seeding them any lower than #1 is a decision based either on speculation or as a sort of penalty against teams who don't go to Centex.

How the Gee Gees will perform in Boulder, I think, will have a lot to do with two considerations: (a) the size and depth of the roster that ultimately makes the trip, and (b) the practice time they commit now that school is out.

As for the latter, since a lot of these ladies are Ottawa natives, I think they'll have plenty of opportunity to practice together with/against Stella talent.

As for the former, I don't know what to expect, but the championships are a long, grueling process in which there are no pushover teams. The one time I attended, we brought a roster of only 14, and we were forced to rely excessively on the same 9 players just to stay afloat. It was the most tiring tournament I have ever played.

The Gee Gees and the T-Birds are different, yes. Their best players are easily a match for anyone they'll meet in Boulder, but it's going to be a test of commitment and stamina, even so. Add the effects of high elevation, and now you have a crucible. Can they play at their best against the best for three days straight?

Sport Management Steven said...

John Haig with the crackback!

I still just want to understand why T-1000's 2:1 ratio is optimal. It wasn't an intended ambush.

My post and my evidence (watching womens sectionals and regionals, looking at the scores and results of the upa college series, and to a lesser extent the pictures which only give a visual to my point) can be debated on this one. It is not my best work.

However, I think we can overlook that and agree
-Some sections and regions of college ultimate are better than others
-Playing in and winning tougher tournaments is better preparation that cake-walks.
-Ottawa is very deserving of their rank and credit, but it's going to be a lot tougher than what they've seen so far.

T1000 said...

My moral compass says I am so not going to steal the ladies' thunder by talking about how much PT I get.

Jon Rayner said...

Steve... did you mean Wisconsin was the easy pick back before Centex? 'Cause yeah... they sure looked unbeatable then. But, as you noted, they proved to be beatable, dropping 3 games at Centex and getting passed by...

Gators. Looks like Florida will be #1 going in (33-1; nailbiter win over Hodags; only loss was to Zona). Wisconsin probably the 2 seed.

Nationals Seedings (Open)