Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Simulating/Predicting the 2018 USTA League Nationals semi-finalists and champion - 40 & Over Mixed 9.0

I've written about my simulations of the new format for USTA League Nationals, and hinted at who some favorites are, but now it is time to actually use the simulations to predict who the semi-finalists will be and of those, who the favorite to win it all is.

This is the set of my simulations for Mixed, and because Mixed are combination leagues, it doesn't make sense to use a small number for the top average as that would unfairly give an advantage to teams with a lot of uneven pairs.  Also, some teams have players that play just Mixed and so don't have Adult ratings.  Thus, I'm using the top-12 average for each team using my estimated ratings, plus I'm using the Mixed ratings I can calculate rather than the normal Adult ratings, and then account for some variation in play by each team and run through a million iterations to see what the most common result might be.

Here is the 40 & Over Mixed 9.0 that is coming up this weekend in Orlando, FL.

With just 14 teams, there is no chance of five teams finishing undefeated, and in fact there is just a 0.2% chance of four teams at 4-0.

The teams with the best chance to finish in at least a tie for 4th are:
  • Northern Cal - 98%
  • Southern Cal - 97%
  • Texas - 63%
  • Missouri Valley - 57%
  • Intermountain - 57%

The top-2 teams separate themselves and are the only teams with a most likely record of 4-0.  The three other teams plus Southern are expected to finish 3-1 but several 2-2 teams too.

If the teams predicted make the semis, NorCal would be favored over either  MoValley or Intermountain and SoCal over Texas, with SoCal the pick in the final

If you are on one of the teams, or any team going to Nationals, it is not too late to get more details from my simulation or a flight report to scout opponents and plan your line-ups.  While the above is what the simulation says, the ratings aren't perfect between sections, players have good and bad days, not everyone will make the trip or players other than the top-12 will play, so some smart captaining can still go a long way and my reports can really help.  Contact me if interested in any reports.

Monday, November 12, 2018

2018 18 & Over Mixed National Champions: Caribbean, SoCal, MoValley, Mid-Atlantic, Southern

The 18 & Over USTA League Mixed Nationals were played in Mobile this weekend, and after a little format change on Friday due to some rain, everything finished up smoothly on Saturday and Sunday and National Champions were determined.

At the 6.0 level Caribbean, won their final 2-1 over Florida to take the title.

The 7.0 level found Southern Cal taking the title 3-0 over Texas.

At 8.0, Missouri Valley beat Texas in their final 3-0.

The 9.0 level had Mid-Atlantic beat Southern 2-1, one court going to a match tie-break.

And at the 10.0 level, Southern beat Florida 2-1.

Five different levels, five different champs!  Congrats to all!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

USTA League 18 & Over Mixed Nationals Day 2 Update

Day 2 of 18 & Over Mixed Nationals in Mobile is complete and we know the semi-finalists.

It appears all matches were played using full scoring formats, thanks to getting most if not all the matches in yesterday despite some rain due to using modified Fast Four scoring to shorten the matches a bit.

At the 6.0 level, there were four 4-0 teams, Caribbean, Texas, Florida, and Southern, so no tie-breakers or controversy.  Although tie-breakers were used for seeding the teams and Florida got the #3 seed over Southern on fewer games lost despite Southern having a sets record of 21-8 vs 19-8 for Florida.  But those are the tie-breakers being used.

The 7.0 level had two 4-0 teams, then a 5-way tie for two spots at 3-1.  The teams advancing were SoCal, Middle States, Texas, and Southern.  Midwest and PNW lost out having won one fewer court so a pretty straight-forward tie-breaker.

At the 8.0 level, there were three 4-0 teams in Missouri Valley, Texas, and Florida, and New England was tied with PNW at 3-1 but won one more court to got the #4 spot.

The 9.0 level was a little more interesting.  There was one 4-0 team in Missouri Valley, but then five 3-1 teams for three spots.  Texas and Southern separated themselves with 10-2 records on courts so took seeds #2 and #3, but then one team needed to be picked from Mid-Atlantic, Northern, and SoCal.  The former two were 9-3 on courts and Mid-Atlantic lost two fewer courts, so they got the spot.  SoCal got left out at 8-4 on courts.

But a deeper look reveals that Texas, Mid-Atlantic, and Northern all played New England, who didn't win a court the entire weekend going 0-12.  So those teams benefited from an easy opponent that SoCal didn't.  A deeper look yet shows that each of those three teams also benefited from New England defaulting a court each match.  SoCal obviously didn't have the benefit of that advantage and had to play each of their courts.  I do not know why the New England was allowed to field a team with a roster of 5, but they very well may have lost the defaulted court had it been played anyway given they were a weaker team.  But this shows that strength of schedule very well could have played a role in who was able to advance.

The 10.0 level, four teams finished 3-1 and all advanced, Southern, Florida, Midwest, and NorCal.  We almost had a 2-2 team make the semis, but alas not.

So the finals are set, and the weather should be fine tomorrow.  Good luck to all!

Friday, November 9, 2018

18 & Over Mixed Nationals Day 1 Update

Day one of 18 & Over Mixed Nationals is complete, or nearly so, and the event is more or less still on track despite the rain that came late in the day.

The USTA made the right decision in my opinion to start the day using a modified Fast Four format in order to complete matches a little quicker, and it appears it worked.  As I write this, a few matches are still not recorded so may still being completed or just haven't been entered yet, but by and large, all the day one matches are complete meaning day two can proceed as planned.

While Fast Four is not ideal when everyone is planning on playing normal sets, I think it is better than the alternative of having a third of the matches still to play and the scheduling issues that would ensue.

And the competition is shaping up to be good.

The 6.0 level has a whopping seven teams still undefeated, and some of those play each other tomorrow so it can't stay that way, but it will be tight and could come down to tie-breakers to decide who advances.  There is just a 1.5% chance four finish undefeated, but a 6-way tie at 3-1 for 2nd thru 4th is likely.

The 7.0 level has five, perhaps six (one still to be recorded) undefeated so is similarly competitive.  But almost no chance of four undefeated, a 6-way tie at 3-1 for the 4 spots is likely.

The 8.0 level will have five undefeated and five at 1-1, so a lot of teams still in it.  But no chance of four finishing 4-0, a 4-way tie at 3-1 for three spots likely, but a 7-way tie at 2-2 behind means a bunch of teams could get to 3-1 and make it interesting.

The 9.0 level has six teams undefeated and just three at 1-1 and a 14% chance of finishing with four at 4-0.  There is a greater than 1% chance of five undefeated still.

The 10.0 level has just nine teams so just three undefeated meaning we are headed for some tie-breakers.  There is a very good chance a 2-2 team makes the semis.

Good luck to everyone tomorrow playing full scoring!


Simulating/Predicting the 2018 USTA League Nationals semi-finalists and champion - 18 & Over Mixed 6.0

I've written about my simulations of the new format for USTA League Nationals, and hinted at who some favorites are, but now it is time to actually use the simulations to predict who the semi-finalists will be and of those, who the favorite to win it all is.

This is continuing my simulations for Mixed, and because Mixed are combination leagues, it doesn't make sense to use a small number for the top average as that would unfairly give an advantage to teams with a lot of uneven pairs.  Also, some teams have players that play just Mixed and so don't have Adult ratings.  Thus, I'm using the top-16 average for each team using my estimated ratings, plus I'm using the Mixed ratings I can calculate rather than the normal Adult ratings, and then account for some variation in play by each team and run through a million iterations to see what the most common result might be.

Here is the 18 & Over Mixed 6.0 that is being played this weekend in Mobile, AL.  I am posting this late, but it is using information prior to competition starting.

Remarkably, there is a chance of six undefeated, although it only occurred once in the million simulations.  Even with that, there is just a 0.01% chance of five and 0.4% chance of four undefeated.  That means there is a good chance of a tie for fourth and it would likely have 4 of 5 teams in it.

The teams with the best chance to finish in at least a tie for 4th are:
  • Mid-Atlantic - 85%
  • Southern Cal - 67%
  • New England - 66%
  • Midwest - 56%

Those four teams separate themselves a bit, but just the top team has a most likely record of 4-0.  A whopping eight teams have most likely records of 2-2 led by NorCal and Southwest the most likely to make the semis.

If the four teams predicted make the semis, Mid-Atlantic would be favored over Midwest and SoCal over New England, with Mid-Atlantic the pick in the final.

If you are on one of the teams, or any team going to Nationals, it is not too late to get more details from my simulation or a flight report to scout opponents and plan your line-ups.  While the above is what the simulation says, the ratings aren't perfect between sections, players have good and bad days, not everyone will make the trip or players other than the top-10 will play, so some smart captaining can still go a long way and my reports can really help.  Contact me if interested in any reports.

Play is underway at 18 & Over Mixed Nationals

Play is underway this morning and several match results have already been entered for the 18 & Over Mixed Nationals being held in Mobile.  Yea!

Yesterday's forecast of 40-60% chance of rain most of the day has turned into 0% chance this morning, but still a chance of scattered showers at noon and then 4:00 pm, so continuous play is perhaps not going to happen, but some good long windows to get matches in.

With any luck, the USTA being proactive and going to a short format to start will allow most of today's scheduled matches to be played, and with a good forecast the next two days, the event should finish smoothly.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Simulating/Predicting the 2018 USTA League Nationals semi-finalists and champion - 18 & Over Mixed 8.0

I've written about my simulations of the new format for USTA League Nationals, and hinted at who some favorites are, but now it is time to actually use the simulations to predict who the semi-finalists will be and of those, who the favorite to win it all is.

This is continuing my simulations for Mixed, and because Mixed are combination leagues, it doesn't make sense to use a small number for the top average as that would unfairly give an advantage to teams with a lot of uneven pairs.  Also, some teams have players that play just Mixed and so don't have Adult ratings.  Thus, I'm using the top-16 average for each team using my estimated ratings, plus I'm using the Mixed ratings I can calculate rather than the normal Adult ratings, and then account for some variation in play by each team and run through a million iterations to see what the most common result might be.

Here is the 18 & Over Mixed 8.0 that is coming up this weekend in Mobile, AL.

First, there is just a 0.02% chance of five teams finishing undefeated, so I don't think an undefeated team will be sent home.  There is a 1% chance of four 4-0 teams though.

This one should be more competitive than some of the other levels this weekend, there isn't two teams running away with it.  The teams with the best chance to finish in at least a tie for 4th are:
  • Mid-Atlantic - 80%
  • Missouri Valley - 71%
  • Middle States - 69%
  • Pacific Northwest - 54%
  • Northern Cal - 53%

These are all still over 50% so they are favorites, but the most likely record for each team is just 3-1, and there are 7 teams behind with a 2-2 record most likely that could certainly get to 3-1.  Midwest and Texas are most likely to 3-1, but Northern, New England, and Southern have decent chances too.

If the teams predicted make the semis, Mid-Atlantic would be favored over NorCal or PNW, and Middle States narrowly over MoValley, with Middle States the ever so narrow pick in the final.

If you are on one of the teams, or any team going to Nationals, it is not too late to get more details from my simulation or a flight report to scout opponents and plan your line-ups.  While the above is what the simulation says, the ratings aren't perfect between sections, players have good and bad days, not everyone will make the trip or players other than the top-10 will play, so some smart captaining can still go a long way and my reports can really help.  Contact me if interested in any reports.