Double Elimination (a la NAQT and VHSL, for example)

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Double Elimination (a la NAQT and VHSL, for example)

Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants » Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:51 pm

I generally like the idea of double elimination playoffs; it's hard for even a top-tier team to play 5-6 rounds or more and not have an awful mental-block type game or one where most of the hard bonuses go to them, so there should indeed be a chance for redemption.

However, the most obvious fault with double elimination is the number of bye-rounds for the last winning bracket team (and the top one or two losing bracket teams), as well as the lack of an exciting final most of the time (an exception to this would be last year's VHSL Group AA finals, where the losing bracket team won). To take a much simpler example than NAQT nationals, in VHSL States, there are 8 teams in a double elimination playoff in each of the three groups. After the third round, the last remaining winning bracket team has two bye-rounds, and the top losing bracket team (the one that just lost to the winning bracket team) has one bye-round. In the end, the playoff takes 6-7 rounds (depending on who wins the first round of the finals). Now, my proposal is, what if you made the last winning bracket team play the worst remaining losing bracket team in the fourth round instead of giving them a bye-round, and of course make the top two losing teams play each other? Following this procedure would save time (5-6 rounds instead of 6-7), and it just never made logical sense to me to not have everyone playing when you have an even number of teams left. Anyway, here's what it would look like:

Standard Format:
#of winning teams left / # of losing teams left / Round / Bye round teams
8 / 0 / 1 / 0
4 / 4 / 2 / 0
2 / 4 / 3 / 0
1 / 3 / 4 / 2
1 / 2 / 5 / 1
1 / 1 / 6-7 / 0

My idea -
# of winning teams left / # of losing teams left / Round / Bye round teams
8 / 0 / 1 / 0
4 / 4 / 2 / 0
2 / 4 / 3 / 0
1 / 3 / 4 / 0
Scenario 1 (winning team wins in rd 4):
1 / 1 / 5-6 / 0
Scenario 2 (winning team loses in rd 4):
0 / 3 / 5 / 1
0 / 2 / 6 / 0

I know this seems a bit complicated at first and it may not make a big difference for VHSL, but I'm sure it would for the larger NAQT nationals playoff field (I haven't even begun to think about what my little chart would look like for that lol). My apologies for being so garrulous in this post, but it's hard to explain concisely.

[edit: spacing didn't work right on my chart so I had to use slashes]
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Post by Deviant Insider » Sun Feb 12, 2006 7:26 pm

Your proposal was done at NAQT Nationals.

The downside is that the lowest ranking team with one loss often had to play TJ, ending any real chance they had at survival. The upside is, as you say, there are fewer rounds and less sitting around.

I think the upside outweighs the downside.
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Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants » Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:59 pm

ReinsteinD wrote:Your proposal was done at NAQT Nationals.

The downside is that the lowest ranking team with one loss often had to play TJ, ending any real chance they had at survival. The upside is, as you say, there are fewer rounds and less sitting around.

I think the upside outweighs the downside.
Ahh, my apologies for my incorrect assumption that this hadn't ever been done before by NAQT. The only time I've gone to NAQT nationals was at Myrtle Beach, and they did double elimination the old school way there. The last two years we only sent one team due to travel/financial issues, so yea I didn't know. This year if they do double elim. the way I described the final ought to be exciting for a change, b/c the competition is so tight this time (about eight teams have a legitimate shot at the title) that the last two teams will probably each have a loss and hence all the marbles will be on the line for one game. Would have been great if it had turned out that way with Lakeside and TJ last year. Anyway, I'm still hoping VHSL one day changes over to this.
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Post by quizbowllee » Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:09 am

For what it is worth, I used a double-elimination playoff for our NAQT qualifier at Brindlee Mountain back in December. The eventual champion, Walton (Ga) would have been eliminated in the quarter-finals had we used single-elimination.

I knew that there were about 4 teams that had the potential to beat each other, and I wanted the best team - not the luckiest - to win. I think that we accomplished this.

The down side, though, was that we were still playing late into the evening...
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Post by First Chairman » Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:43 am

Double elimination as an overall tournament format is a lot better than running an entire show in single elimination, but it stinks. Ask anyone who endures this in Ohio.

Double elimination playoffs: you need to be sure you have enough questions and the time to run them. I'd say it's quite fair to do it, but it is really hard unless you have dedicated teams in the playoffs that don't have to leave due to weird situations like "the school play" or "prom" or "impending snow storm." It's certainly much more preferable to single-elim, but then against, so would a double round-robin among teams in the playoffs. :)
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Post by quizbowllee » Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:48 am

E.T. Chuck wrote:Double elimination as an overall tournament format is a lot better than running an entire show in single elimination, but it stinks. Ask anyone who endures this in Ohio.

Double elimination playoffs: you need to be sure you have enough questions and the time to run them. I'd say it's quite fair to do it, but it is really hard unless you have dedicated teams in the playoffs that don't have to leave due to weird situations like "the school play" or "prom" or "impending snow storm." It's certainly much more preferable to single-elim, but then against, so would a double round-robin among teams in the playoffs. :)
So, are we gonna see Double-Elimination at PACE this year? :wink:
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Post by First Chairman » Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:52 am

You always see double (or triple) elimination at PACE, but we let everyone play anyway. :)
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Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:45 pm

Yeah, what I think is being talked around here but not said outright is this: If you have enough rounds and enough staff to run double-elimination, then you certainly have enough rounds and enough staff to run bracketed playoffs, which will not only provide more opportunities for everyone to play and determine the champion in a more fair manner, but actually take less time to complete. So why not do that?
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Post by STPickrell » Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:26 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Yeah, what I think is being talked around here but not said outright is this: If you have enough rounds and enough staff to run double-elimination, then you certainly have enough rounds and enough staff to run bracketed playoffs, which will not only provide more opportunities for everyone to play and determine the champion in a more fair manner, but actually take less time to complete. So why not do that?
Let me make sure I've got this straight: take the eight teams and split them into two pools of four, so that two region winners and two region runners-up are in each pool? We can either do this randomly or have a pre-set rotation (I'd prefer the latter.) Then have the pool winners face off in the state championship match? I think the IHSA does this already.

Rounds, no problem. I ensure we have 10 matches for VHSL states. Staff, it would be easy to have four rooms per group going in Matches 1, 2 and 3. Currently, in Match 3, there's only three rooms per group. My biggest concern is how to resolve Circles of Death. I do not want to see spots in the state championship finals determined on paper.

While in the odd year we might have a situation where TJ and MW are in the same group, this happens under the current system where TJ and MW meet in the second round every so often. Given that the regions (save for one) all use the same questions, it might even be possible to try and seed teams based on performance at Regionals.

Regarding more opportunities to play:

Let's go back to 2000 (or 2001, or sometime in that timeframe), when I was either the all-day moderator for Group A or the new director of the State Tournament.

Floyd County went two and out. I thanked them for being there, wished them a safe trip back and expressed regret that they had to travel five hours to play two matches. They just seemed glad to be there, and *I* seemed more annoyed at the travel/playtime discrepancy than they did.

That spring, Bob Button and I decided it was high time to do a coaches' survey. Some 80-90% of the coaches expressed a preference for the current double-elimination system over a single-elimination or a round-robin (my own preference) system. This preference was repeated in the most recent survey whose results have been tabulated just this week.
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Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:33 pm

StPickrell wrote:Let me make sure I've got this straight: take the eight teams and split them into two pools of four, so that two region winners and two region runners-up are in each pool? We can either do this randomly or have a pre-set rotation (I'd prefer the latter.) Then have the pool winners face off in the state championship match? I think the IHSA does this already.
Or just have a bracket of eight. It takes seven rounds to complete, whereas eight-team double elimination takes, I believe, seven at minimum and possibly eight.
My biggest concern is how to resolve Circles of Death. I do not want to see spots in the state championship finals determined on paper.
Play them off?
That spring, Bob Button and I decided it was high time to do a coaches' survey. Some 80-90% of the coaches expressed a preference for the current double-elimination system over a single-elimination or a round-robin (my own preference) system. This preference was repeated in the most recent survey whose results have been tabulated just this week.
Teams approve of what you're doing now not because they're committed to it, but because they don't care. If you switched to round-robin and took the same survey in three years, I bet 80-90% would want you to keep it.
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Post by Deviant Insider » Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:42 pm

The advantage of double-elimination is that it is 'double-elimination'. Every team has bad matches, but double-elimination gives another chance no matter when the bad match occurs. With divisions followed by playoffs, depending on the details, a team can have a bad match in the division but not a bad match in the playoffs.

I am not arguing for double-elimination, but I do want to point out that it does have one good reason for its existence.
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Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:50 pm

Standard practice for brackets is that the winner has to clear the field by 2 games. E.g., if the second-place team has only 1 loss, they get a chance to beat the first-place team twice in a finals series. So it effectively preserves that advantage of double-elimination.
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Post by cvdwightw » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:04 pm

All Southern California tournaments I've been associated with that have enough teams to necessitate running something other than a full round robin use bracketed playoffs.

Circle of Death is broken using NAQT ICT's rules for breaking ties. The brackets play either a full round robin or, like ICT, every team they hadn't already played.

I think teams generally prefer this, and an added advantage for the lower teams is that their playoff games will generally be closer and give them an opportunity to play teams about their skill level. This format is also more forgiving than double elimination because a team may have more than one bad match in the playoffs and still win if other teams also struggle.

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Post by STPickrell » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:24 pm

I don't have the power to simply will a round-robin into existence; if I did, I'd have done it many years ago.

After VHSL states, I will lay out the arguments for the consumption of VHSL members for turning regional and state Scholastic Bowl tournaments into a round-robin. I believe it's time we pressed for that change.

While people are happy with the way things are, Matt's point is very good -- they would also be happy with a round-robin, which is, in my opinion, a fairer way of determining a champion.

Getting officials might be difficult. But it is do-able.

Right now I am trying to get to NAQT's website, but it seems the hamster is exhausted. But their tie-breaker processes can probably be used or slightly modified.
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Post by First Chairman » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:27 pm

Not only is RR a fairer way to determine a champion, it also gives all the teams more opportunities to prove themselves and give a proper ranking of the teams from 1-8. Who wants to drive a few hours to a tournament to play two games and drive all the way back? Maybe a few teams, but certainly not your teams that qualified for your state series.

Of course you need to be sure you have enough of a coalition among the school representatives so that you aren't surprised when there is opposition to this idea. There may be legitimate reasons in their minds for keeping the status quo.

Tiebreakers... we can discuss until the next millennium. :)
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Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants » Mon Feb 13, 2006 9:43 pm

The problem with doing a two-bracket RR at VHSL States is that teams would only get to play three games before going home or advancing to the finals/a final four. This would end up giving less rounds of play to the top few teams, since an 8 team double elim. lasts between 5 and 7 rounds (depending on what you do with the last winning bracket team - see my original post for details...). What if VHSL States either did a round robin of all 8 teams (like at regionals) and then a final four, or if they allowed the top three teams from each region to advance and did the exact same thing PACE does (2 brackets of 6)?
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Post by STPickrell » Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:03 pm

Matt Morrison wrote:The problem with doing a two-bracket RR at VHSL States is that teams would only get to play three games before going home or advancing to the finals/a final four. This would end up giving less rounds of play to the top few teams, since an 8 team double elim. lasts between 5 and 7 rounds (depending on what you do with the last winning bracket team - see my original post for details...). What if VHSL States either did a round robin of all 8 teams (like at regionals) and then a final four, or if they allowed the top three teams from each region to advance and did the exact same thing PACE does (2 brackets of 6)?
Actually the Central is the only region that does a round-robin. While State is designed to be a double-elim, Regions and Districts can do either double-elim or round-robin.

I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to having three teams from each Region, but only if they can balance out the Regions.

As it stands right now, Region II in Group AA has 33 teams and Region IV has 16 teams. Region D is also smaller than the other regions, as well. I'm sure the Regions were balanced in the 1970s and 1980s but there have been consolidations and declining enrollments southwest of Roanoke and literally 1-3 new schools a year opening in the nothern part of the state. There is a move underway to try and rebalance the regions, but now we're devolving into territory where I can only comment as an interested fan.
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Post by Tegan » Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:04 pm

StPickrell wrote: Let me make sure I've got this straight: take the eight teams and split them into two pools of four, so that two region winners and two region runners-up are in each pool? We can either do this randomly or have a pre-set rotation (I'd prefer the latter.) Then have the pool winners face off in the state championship match? I think the IHSA does this already.
The IHSA used to advance one sectional (geographic) winner to a single elimination bracket (some teams traveled all day to play one match and go home). We talked them into changing that, and no we play two pools of four, three rounds round-robin, with the winners playing for the championship, and the runners-up playing for third.

Sadly, our draw is and will remain random for the foreseeable future. I don't think I need to caution you about how bad that is!

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Post by emactruman » Wed Feb 15, 2006 3:03 pm

I wish to implement a double round robin system with a "small" championship bracket.

For example, a 16 team tournament could be divided into 4 random divisions of 4 then the top two teams of each division is place into another pool, while the bottom two are pitted against the bottom from another division. Then, take the top 4 teams with the best overall record and have a two round championship bracket.

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Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants » Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:47 pm

^^State College did something like that last year I think, though double RR implies that all teams in the same bracket play each other twice, which isn't quite what you're proposing I guess, but still, it could work
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Post by cvdwightw » Wed Feb 15, 2006 8:36 pm

emactruman wrote:For example, a 16 team tournament could be divided into 4 random divisions of 4 then the top two teams of each division is place into another pool, while the bottom two are pitted against the bottom from another division. Then, take the top 4 teams with the best overall record and have a two round championship bracket.
I can think of a reason right off the bat why this wouldn't work. Say one initial division ends up with 3 2-1 teams and an 0-3 team; with random divisions I could easily see three teams of about equal strength in one division. Say then that the 2-1 team that gets demoted ends up winning all its lower bracket games. Given that you will have no more than two undefeated teams at the end of the top vs top/bottom vs bottom rr, you will have a team from the bottom vs bottom bracket at least contesting for one of the championship bracket spots, if not getting in outright.

I would much rather place the 16 teams in two randomly assigned divisions of 8, then have the top 2 in each division (ties broken by one-game playoff) advance to the 4-team championship bracket. If the field is particularly strong, I would advance the top half of each bracket and have them play the top 4 teams from the other bracket (and split bottom/bottom as well), then take the top 2 overall records from the top 8 to a championship game.

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Post by samer » Tue Feb 21, 2006 5:03 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
StPickrell wrote:Let me make sure I've got this straight: take the eight teams and split them into two pools of four, so that two region winners and two region runners-up are in each pool? We can either do this randomly or have a pre-set rotation (I'd prefer the latter.) Then have the pool winners face off in the state championship match? I think the IHSA does this already.
Or just have a bracket of eight. It takes seven rounds to complete, whereas eight-team double elimination takes, I believe, seven at minimum and possibly eight.
Minor point: 8-team double elim takes at most seven rounds, and possibly six.
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Re: Double Elimination (a la NAQT and VHSL, for example)

Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants » Tue Feb 21, 2006 6:15 pm

^^*sigh* the whole point of my original post/this thread was to lower the number of rounds in 8 team double elim. to 5-6, and also make the final more exciting.
Matt Morrison wrote: Standard Format:
#of winning teams left / # of losing teams left / Round / Bye round teams
8 / 0 / 1 / 0
4 / 4 / 2 / 0
2 / 4 / 3 / 0
1 / 3 / 4 / 2
1 / 2 / 5 / 1
1 / 1 / 6-7 / 0

My idea -
# of winning teams left / # of losing teams left / Round / Bye round teams
8 / 0 / 1 / 0
4 / 4 / 2 / 0
2 / 4 / 3 / 0
1 / 3 / 4 / 0
Scenario 1 (winning team wins in rd 4):
1 / 1 / 5-6 / 0
Scenario 2 (winning team loses in rd 4):
0 / 3 / 5 / 1
0 / 2 / 6 / 0
by the way, some final that UVA tournament was, ehh?
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