Alright, here are my long-awaited HSNCT predictions. Two disclaimers about this before I proceed:
1) I have no clue how the playoff finishes work this year, so I'm using the tiering from last year
2) You have no right to hold me accountable for any of the predictions I make in this forum post.
Now that that's out of the way, here we go. Enjoy making fun of me when these turn out to be horribly wrong.
Clarke – Groger Rank 149
Clarke has done really well for a first-year team, being competitive in many tournaments and beating a bunch of teams ranked higher than them (including Island Trees, Darien and Wilton). I’ve only played them one (and they gave us a hell of a scare), so I don’t really have much to say about them, other than that they seem to scale up well. They’ll probably make playoffs and hang around for a round or two.
Darien A - Morlan 52, Groger 147
The bad news is, Darien has been unable to stay at the incredibly high level they were at a couple of years ago. However, they really haven’t fallen that far, and remain a quietly solid team with the ability to beat teams above their level. They’ve notched solid wins against many of the top teams in the region, notably playing spoiler both at LIFT and Bardbowl. It’s hard to predict what their nationals finish will be, given that they can be wildly inconsistent at times. I’m going to be conservative and say they go 6-4 in prelims and finishing t-77, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them at t-32 or even t-20.
Darien B - Morlan 122
They look like a solid team. I don’t know much about them, so I have little to say, other than that they don’t look much weaker than their A team. They’ll probably be on the better side of the 5-5 teams.
East Brunswick – Morlan 48, Groger 110
They’re not the most consistent, but still very solid. Rishi definitely knows his history and is a solid generalist, and he has a very deep supporting cast to back him up. They’ve excelled on lower difficulties, with excellent SCOP Novice and A-set stats, but have been much less consistent on higher difficulties (they did well on RMBAT, but seemed to struggle on Prison Bowl). They look like a 6-4 team to me, but I’m not sure they’re in as good a position to recreate their t-20 run from last year.
Great Neck South – Morlan 34, Groger 49
Another team that is really good, but inconsistent. They’ve done really well in some tournaments, but have taken some bad losses in others. I will say that they really know their categories – Noah really knows lit and fine arts and Anderson’s an excellent history player. They’re a pretty streaky team, so it’s hard to tell how they’ll finish, but I feel comfortable saying they’ll probably be t-51 or t-32.
High Tech A – Morlan 8, Groger 15
They’re good. An incredibly balanced team who can scale well, they know their stuff. The only weaknesses they have are a habit of negging more than they should sometimes (although they can often get away with it) and the fact that the distribution can sometimes be their enemy (especially to Michael, who’s a crazy good fine arts player but rarely gets the chance to show it on NAQT). They can finish t-8 or t-12 this year. Again, they’re good.
High Tech B – Morlan 65, Groger 60
As it happens, being good appears to be a trait of High Tech teams. They’ve beaten or come close to taking down a lot of top teams (including their own A team). All of their players know their subjects well – Ivy and Adrian are both very good at lit, Eric is an excellent science player, and Cole is a massive history brain. Their main problem is inconsistency, as they have beaten many top teams, but also lost games they shouldn’t have. They’ll definitely make playoffs, but how far they go is anyone’s guess – I’ll say t-51.
High Tech C – Morlan 154, Groger 186
High Tech is very deep, and they’ll be able to field a solid C team with no problem. Frank is a solid generalist/cool guy, Karen knows history, and Max appears to be developing into an excellent fine arts player. They haven’t consistently made playoffs in regional tournaments, so I don’t see them making playoffs here, but they should have a solid 4-6 or 5-5 run.
Hunter A – Morlan 16, Groger 5
They’re also good. As their Groger rank indicates, they are a top team (at least on regular difficulty), and have a legitimate shot at the title. Daniel Ma is incredible at history and fine arts and a very good generalist overall. While he hasn’t revealed what his lineup will be at HSNCT, the club has plenty of depth, and the team should do well regardless of who’s playing for them. A fourth straight final for them isn’t out of the question, but since the late playoff rounds can be unpredictable, I’ll say that their floor is t-12 and leave it there.
Hunter B – Morlan 162, Groger 250
Given that I have no clue who will be playing for Hunter B, I have no way of assessing how they’ll do, and there’s not much to say about them. Like I said, they’re a really deep club, and they might be able to squeeze out a playoff run.
Island Trees – Morlan 33, Groger 121
David Wendt is a very good generalist, and he’s lead them to some nice wins against very good teams. They should do fine. The biggest question marks for them (in my mind) is how much support David will get and if they will be able to scale up. They made playoffs last year, so they’ll probably do it again. I predict t-77 or t-51.
Ithaca – Morlan 11, Groger 18
A really good team who has put up some incredibly scary stats. They’ve played and done well on a variety of hard sets (including SCT, FST, and EFT), so they should have no trouble whatsoever scaling. However, they can have their less than stellar games, which could be fatal in a double-elimination playoff. In my opinion, they’re a lock to get at least t-20, and could reach as high as t-8.
Kellenberg – Morlan 146, Groger 150
Kellenberg is a quietly solid team that is usually under the radar, possibly because they didn’t go to many IS+ tournaments this year. They’ve done well against tough opponents (beating GNS, playing us and Livingston to 1 tossup games), and have a solid core in Aidan and Tyler. However, their stats on harder sets have been less than stellar, which is a problem considering the difficulty of nationals. To me, the look like a team on the bubble for playoffs.
Livingston – Morlan 37, Groger 68
This team confuses me. They have the ability to beat anyone they play, but also have shot themselves in the foot multiple times with crippling negs (see 6/1/7 against Darien B at Bardbowl and 5/4/7 against Stuyvesant at Prison Bowl). Regardless, they are capable of doing very well. Jon is an excellent generalist (and should really be talked about more on the national level), and Carolyn and Rosa provide him with excellent support. As Nick said, they’re hard to predict, so I’ll just say I wouldn’t be surprised to see them anywhere from t-20 to t-77.
A very solid team. Jatin and Shaochen form a nice core, and they appear to have decent support players who can chip in from time to time. They were very good when I played them on an A-set, but their lack of experience on higher difficulty might come back to haunt them. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect more than 5-5 from them, but I could easily see them making playoffs if the schedule breaks right for them.
Millburn A – Morlan 38, Groger 31
We're probably overranked, given we can't power anything above like IS-level difficulty. How far we go depends on whether we can scale up and how well Ben and John cover things. Don't be surprised to see anything from t-77 to t-32.
Millburn B – Groger 197
This team is all Ethan Zhang (he got 120 PPG at Bardbowl, so be scared!), although Frankie will chip in from time to time. As Prison Bowl stats indicate, scaling up might be a problem for them. The rest of the team is extremely specialized, so we'll see how well they can do things. Probably a 4-6 team.
Ranney – Morlan 169
They’re a solid team. Jacob is a pretty good generalist, but seems to be quite tiltable, which could cost them a game or two. They weren’t a great 5-5 team last year and lost one of their better players, but they seem to have improved over the year, so I think it’s reasonable to expect 4-6 or 5-5 again.
Tenafly – Morlan 112, Groger 187
Tenafly has had something of a breakout season, going from not showing up to tournaments to being a solidly consistent team. They’re been excellent on lower difficulties, but don’t seem to scale up as well as other teams do. I think they’ll either go 5-5 or 6-4 and finish t-105.
Teterboro – Morlan 181
Another team that has started showing up to things. They’ve shown rapid improvement throughout the year, going from bottom bracket at Scarlet Knight fall to 9th at Livingston. Nick’s a very good generalist (probably top 5 in the state), and when they show up, his teammates provide him with solid support. However, their stats on IS and above are very inconsistent. As with Tenafly, I’ll predict either 5-5 or 6-4.
Troy – Morlan 45, Groger 27
Alex Pyle is scary, and if you don’t believe me, I advise you to look here
. He has almost no weaknesses and can beat almost anyone to anything. The fact that he has a non-zero amount of support makes Troy even scarier. They will do well, probably in the t-20 range.
Wilmington Charter – Morlan 16, Groger 19
Sohum and Waley form a formidable two-man core, and they now apparently have a couple of players to fill their gaps. They’re a threat to anybody they play, and as long as they don’t neg themselves out of games like they did last year, they’ll get at least t-32, with the chance to get up to t-8.