Saturday, October 16, 2021

The broken USTA League Nationals standings tie-breaker rules rear their ugly head again

USTA League Nationals continued this weekend and I was just browsing results and unfortunately came across another case of the broken tie-breakers used for standings at Nationals getting the standings what I consider to be wrong.  It has happened before, and has now happened again.

At the 40 & Over 3.5 women's event, there was a 4-way tie at 3-1 for 3rd thru 6th.  Two of the teams, SoCal and Intermountain, were tied on court record at 10-6.  This means the flawed tie-breakers come into play.

Specifically, the next tie-breaker is sets lost, and both teams lost 16 sets.  The fact that Intermountain won 21 sets as compared to SoCal's 20 sets is ignored, it is not included in the tie-breakers.  The next tie-breaker is games lost and SoCal lost 144 to Intermountain's 146, so SoCal gets 3rd.

In addition to Intermountain winning an extra set, what the USTA's tie-breakers also ignore is that Intermountain won 156 games compared to SoCal's 142.  In fact, SoCal lost more games than they won, 142-144, while Intermountain won significantly more than they lost, 156-146.

By ignoring sets won, what the USTA is basically saying is that if you lose an individual court, there is no difference between losing in straight-sets vs losing in a 3rd set tie-break.  In this case, Intermountain lost as many sets as SoCal, but took more matches to third set tie-breaks, but gets no credit for doing so.

And the games lost tie-breaker is just fundamentally broken, as it says it is better to lose a set 6-0 (6 games lost) than 7-6 (7 games lost).  This is simply baffling.  And indeed, in their first match Intermountain lost a set 7-6, and in their third match lost a set 7-5.  Had they lost those sets 6-2, clearly not as good a result, they would have tied on games lost and the tie-breaker would have gone to game winning percentage where Intermountain would have won.  How does this make sense?

Now, you might argue, this was just determining 3rd vs 4th, both teams are advancing.  That is true, but that doesn't give the flawed tie-breakers a pass.  And it is actually meaningful as it affects seeding and Intermountain must face a Florida team that had a 14-2 court record while SoCal gets to face NorCal that only had an 11-5 court record.  So the flawed tie-breakers do have a significant impact on Intermountain's ability to make the final.

I've written about this before, I even submitted a regulations change proposal to fix it, but the USTA elected to not act on it.  I guess they simply don't care about equitably determining standings at Nationals.

What do you think?  Should Intermountain have been third in the standings instead of SoCal?  Should the USTA change the standings tie-breakers?

Quick update on week three of 2021 USTA League Nationals

It is Saturday morning which means one day is in the books for the third week of 2021 USTA League Nationals.

The 40 & Over 3.5 women has five teams at 2-0 with another seven at 1-1, and my simulation now says just two will finish 4-0 with a 4-way tie for two spots at 3-1.  Eastern, Caribbean, SoCal, and Intermountain will be trying to join Florida and NorCal in the finals.

The 40 & Over 3.5 men has six teams at 2-0, but just one with a most likely record of 4-0 now.  This leaves a 5-way tie for three spots, could be a tight tie-breaker with teams tied a 9-7 on courts with Middle States, Eastern, NorCal, Texas, and Florida in it to join Midwest.

The 18 & Over 4.0 women has five 2-0 teams and the simulation likes three to get to 3-0 (Florida, Texas, Middle States) with New England, Southern, Mid-Atlantic, and NorCal vying for the last spot.

The 18 & Over 4.0 men also has five 2-0 teams, and here the most likely records are 3-1 for five teams, but I can't imagine at least one doesn't get to 4-0 as two have over a 40% chance of it.  But look for Intermountain, Northern, Texas, Midwest, and Southern to be in it, and a tight tie-breaker deciding it.

The 40 & Over 4.5 women has a whopping six teams at 2-0 and three are expected to get to 4-0, Southern, SoCal, and Florida, with a 3-way tie at 3-1 for the last spot with NorCal, Northern, and New England in it.

The 40 & Over 4.5 men also has six teams at 2-0 and here again three are expected to be 4-0, SoCal, Mid-Atlantic, and Texas, with a 4-way tie for the last spot with Northern, Southern, MoValley, and PNW vying for the spot.

The 55 & Over 7.0 women has five teams at 2-0 and two are expected to remain undefeated in Hawaii and Southern, then a 4-way tie for two spots with Texas, PNW, Florida, and Eastern in it.

The 55 & Over 7.0 men also have five teams at 2-0 and SoCal and Caribbean are expected to get to 4-0, and then Middle States, Texas, and Midwest will try to get the last two spots.

Good luck everyone!

Friday, October 15, 2021

Simulating 2021 USTA League Nationals - 55 & Over 7.0 Me

As I did in 2018 and 2019, I will be doing simulations of each Nationals to predict who the most likely four teams are to make the semi-finals, and also look at other interesting things that may occur.  In the two years I've done this, the simulations have done a pretty good job predicting who would advance to the semis including having all four teams predicted correctly several times.

Why do these simulations you ask?  The primary reason is that the format for USTA League Nationals is now a flight-less random round-robin where each team plays four other random opponents.  This introduces significant variations in schedule strength, the possibility of an undefeated team not making the top-4, and teams vying for the top-4 perhaps not having played head-to-head and unfortunate tie-breakers being used.  The simulations aim to educate folks on how it all works and look at what may happen.  Also see this write-up for some things to know about Nationals.

We now enter the third weekend of Nationals, and the 55 & Over 7.0 level is being played in Orlando.  Here is what is likely to happen for the 7.0 women.

As a reminder, my simulations are done using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and looking at the average rating for the top group of players on each team, the actual schedule each team will play, and then doing a million simulations of the matches with some random variation in each team's expected result.

Teams: 16
5+ undefeated: <1%
4 undefeated: 5%
Tie for 4th: 81%
Size of tie: 3 - 32%, 4 - 25%, 2 - 22%, in theory could be 11
Sets tie-breaker: 30%, 2 teams 65%, 3 teams 28%
Easiest schedule: 3.54
Toughest schedule: 3.65
Likely semi-finalists: SoCalTexasNorthernCaribbean
Contenders: Middle States, MoValley, Southern

The simulation says just a 3-way tie at 3-1 for two spots, but six at 2-2 looking to get into the fray.

For those interested, I offer a variety of reports to make Nationals more fun and help captains prepare.  I have a Simulation Report that has all of the details of the simulation including the average ratings for each team, each team's schedule strength, the most likely record for each team, and the chance of each possible record for each team.  I also offer reports to help teams scout opponents in more detail, both a Flight Report with full roster averages, top-8 averages and played by court averages for each team, as well as full Team Reports with detailed ratings for each rostered player and stats who who plays with who and on which court and how they do together.  Contact me if interested in any of these reports.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Simulating 2021 USTA League Nationals - 18 & Over 4.0 Women

As I did in 2018 and 2019, I will be doing simulations of each Nationals to predict who the most likely four teams are to make the semi-finals, and also look at other interesting things that may occur.  In the two years I've done this, the simulations have done a pretty good job predicting who would advance to the semis including having all four teams predicted correctly several times.

Why do these simulations you ask?  The primary reason is that the format for USTA League Nationals is now a flight-less random round-robin where each team plays four other random opponents.  This introduces significant variations in schedule strength, the possibility of an undefeated team not making the top-4, and teams vying for the top-4 perhaps not having played head-to-head and unfortunate tie-breakers being used.  The simulations aim to educate folks on how it all works and look at what may happen.  Also see this write-up for some things to know about Nationals.

We now enter the third weekend of Nationals, and the 18 & Over 4.0 level is being played in Surprise, AZ.  Here is what is likely to happen for the 4.0 women.

As a reminder, my simulations are done using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and looking at the average rating for the top group of players on each team, the actual schedule each team will play, and then doing a million simulations of the matches with some random variation in each team's expected result.

Teams: 16
5+ undefeated: <1%
4 undefeated: 6%
Tie for 4th: 88%
Size of tie: 4 - 28%, 5 - 23%, 3 - 23%, in theory could be 11
Sets tie-breaker: 27%, 2 teams 66%, 3 teams 28%
Easiest schedule: 3.88
Toughest schedule: 3.97
Likely semi-finalists: NorthernTexasFloridaMiddle States
Contenders: Mid-Atlantic, NorCal, Southern, New England

The simulation says a big 6-way tie at 3-1 are the most likely records, but five teams have a better than 25% chance of getting to 4-0 so that very well could happen for a team or two, but a tie at 3-1 for the last spot is still very likely.

For those interested, I offer a variety of reports to make Nationals more fun and help captains prepare.  I have a Simulation Report that has all of the details of the simulation including the average ratings for each team, each team's schedule strength, the most likely record for each team, and the chance of each possible record for each team.  I also offer reports to help teams scout opponents in more detail, both a Flight Report with full roster averages, top-8 averages and played by court averages for each team, as well as full Team Reports with detailed ratings for each rostered player and stats who who plays with who and on which court and how they do together.  Contact me if interested in any of these reports.

Simulating 2021 USTA League Nationals - 18 & Over 4.0 Men

As I did in 2018 and 2019, I will be doing simulations of each Nationals to predict who the most likely four teams are to make the semi-finals, and also look at other interesting things that may occur.  In the two years I've done this, the simulations have done a pretty good job predicting who would advance to the semis including having all four teams predicted correctly several times.

Why do these simulations you ask?  The primary reason is that the format for USTA League Nationals is now a flight-less random round-robin where each team plays four other random opponents.  This introduces significant variations in schedule strength, the possibility of an undefeated team not making the top-4, and teams vying for the top-4 perhaps not having played head-to-head and unfortunate tie-breakers being used.  The simulations aim to educate folks on how it all works and look at what may happen.  Also see this write-up for some things to know about Nationals.

We now enter the third weekend of Nationals, and the 18 & Over 4.0 level is being played in Surprise, AZ.  Here is what is likely to happen for the 4.0 men.

As a reminder, my simulations are done using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and looking at the average rating for the top group of players on each team, the actual schedule each team will play, and then doing a million simulations of the matches with some random variation in each team's expected result.

Teams: 17
5+ undefeated: <1%
4 undefeated: 2%
Tie for 4th: 92%
Size of tie: 4 - 26%, 5 - 26%, 6 - 17%, in theory could be 12!
Sets tie-breaker: 32%, 2 teams 61%, 3 teams 31%
Easiest schedule: 3.96
Toughest schedule: 4.06
Likely semi-finalists: TexasMidwestMoValleyMiddle States
Contenders: SoCal, Eastern, Northern, Florida, New England

The simulation says a big 6-way tie at 3-1 are the most likely records, but three teams have a better than 20% chance of getting to 4-0 so that may happen, but a tie at 3-1 for the last spot is still very likely.  While the schedule strength range is 3.96 to 4.06, 14 of the teams are between 3.98 and 4.02.

For those interested, I offer a variety of reports to make Nationals more fun and help captains prepare.  I have a Simulation Report that has all of the details of the simulation including the average ratings for each team, each team's schedule strength, the most likely record for each team, and the chance of each possible record for each team.  I also offer reports to help teams scout opponents in more detail, both a Flight Report with full roster averages, top-8 averages and played by court averages for each team, as well as full Team Reports with detailed ratings for each rostered player and stats who who plays with who and on which court and how they do together.  Contact me if interested in any of these reports.



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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Simulating 2021 USTA League Nationals - 40 & Over 4.5 women

As I did in 2018 and 2019, I will be doing simulations of each Nationals to predict who the most likely four teams are to make the semi-finals, and also look at other interesting things that may occur.  In the two years I've done this, the simulations have done a pretty good job predicting who would advance to the semis including having all four teams predicted correctly several times.

Why do these simulations you ask?  The primary reason is that the format for USTA League Nationals is now a flight-less random round-robin where each team plays four other random opponents.  This introduces significant variations in schedule strength, the possibility of an undefeated team not making the top-4, and teams vying for the top-4 perhaps not having played head-to-head and unfortunate tie-breakers being used.  The simulations aim to educate folks on how it all works and look at what may happen.  Also see this write-up for some things to know about Nationals.

We now enter the third weekend of Nationals, and the 40 & Over 4.5 level is being played in Scottsdale, AZ.  Here is what is likely to happen for the 4.5 women.

As a reminder, my simulations are done using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and looking at the average rating for the top group of players on each team, the actual schedule each team will play, and then doing a million simulations of the matches with some random variation in each team's expected result.

Teams: 16
5+ undefeated: <1%
4 undefeated: 10%
Tie for 4th: 87%
Size of tie: 4 - 29%, 3 - 24%, 3 - 23%, in theory could be 11!
Sets tie-breaker: 26%, 2 teams 69%, 3 teams 26%
Easiest schedule: 4.26
Toughest schedule: 4.39
Likely semi-finalists: FloridaSouthernMiddle StatesSoCal
Contenders: NorCal, New England, Northern

There is likely to be a big group at 3-1, the simulation says six teams, and only three will advance.  Potentially a big tie on courts at 11-5.

For those interested, I offer a variety of reports to make Nationals more fun and help captains prepare.  I have a Simulation Report that has all of the details of the simulation including the average ratings for each team, each team's schedule strength, the most likely record for each team, and the chance of each possible record for each team.  I also offer reports to help teams scout opponents in more detail, both a Flight Report with full roster averages, top-8 averages and played by court averages for each team, as well as full Team Reports with detailed ratings for each rostered player and stats who who plays with who and on which court and how they do together.  Contact me if interested in any of these reports.



Simulating 2021 USTA League Nationals - 40 & Over 4.5 Men

As I did in 2018 and 2019, I will be doing simulations of each Nationals to predict who the most likely four teams are to make the semi-finals, and also look at other interesting things that may occur.  In the two years I've done this, the simulations have done a pretty good job predicting who would advance to the semis including having all four teams predicted correctly several times.

Why do these simulations you ask?  The primary reason is that the format for USTA League Nationals is now a flight-less random round-robin where each team plays four other random opponents.  This introduces significant variations in schedule strength, the possibility of an undefeated team not making the top-4, and teams vying for the top-4 perhaps not having played head-to-head and unfortunate tie-breakers being used.  The simulations aim to educate folks on how it all works and look at what may happen.  Also see this write-up for some things to know about Nationals.

We now enter the third weekend of Nationals, and the 40 & Over 4.5 level is being played in Scottsdale, AZ.  Here is what is likely to happen for the 4.5 men.

As a reminder, my simulations are done using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and looking at the average rating for the top group of players on each team, the actual schedule each team will play, and then doing a million simulations of the matches with some random variation in each team's expected result.

Teams: 17
5+ undefeated: <1%
4 undefeated: 6%
Tie for 4th: 88%
Size of tie: 4 - 28%, 5 - 24%, 3 - 21%, in theory could be 12!
Sets tie-breaker: 27%, 2 teams 67%, 3 teams 27%
Easiest schedule: 4.36
Toughest schedule: 4.51
Likely semi-finalists: SoCalMid-AtlanticCaribbeanTexas
Contenders: Northern, New England, MoValley, PNW

There are likely a few 4-0 teams and 3-1 should be required to make the semis.  Note there are wildly varying schedule strengths, a full 0.15 spread covering the strongest to weakest.  If my ratings are representative, the schedules could play a huge role in who advances.

For those interested, I offer a variety of reports to make Nationals more fun and help captains prepare.  I have a Simulation Report that has all of the details of the simulation including the average ratings for each team, each team's schedule strength, the most likely record for each team, and the chance of each possible record for each team.  I also offer reports to help teams scout opponents in more detail, both a Flight Report with full roster averages, top-8 averages and played by court averages for each team, as well as full Team Reports with detailed ratings for each rostered player and stats who who plays with who and on which court and how they do together.  Contact me if interested in any of these reports.