IHSA Regional Results and Discussion

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CometCoach72
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Re: IHSA Regional Results and Discussion

Post by CometCoach72 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:14 pm

I'm just dying to know something from anyone caring to answer; if you particpated (as we did) in that tournament that shall not be named on Saturday March 6 (you know...THAT one...in Riverton), did it mess up your timing for Monday night's Regional?
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Re: IHSA Regional Results and Discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:36 pm

Stephen Colbert wrote:...it [is] nearly impossible to craft a state series which adequately differentiates between top-tier, nationally competitive teams and simultaneously remains accessible to remainder of the state.
This isn't so. Write good, pyramidal questions on the good topics that came up Saturday and rid of some of the crazy question on crazy stuff and you'll be fine. You'll also see conversion go up. An especially obvious point in favor of that view is since a large fraction of questions on reasonable topics (Erasmus, etc.) were so poorly written as to be very much harder than they ought to be.
Frankly, even if what you're saying is true, you'd have no way of knowing from those questions, since no bona fide attempt to accomplish either end (of differentiating top teams and writing accessible questions) was made with that set.

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Re: IHSA Regional Results and Discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:42 pm

Aaron Goldfein wrote:To those using our victory over St. Ignatius as a reason to denounce the state series, I'd like to offer a few comments. It may seem strange that an unseeded team upset the number 1 seed in the sectional and, in the opinion of many, one of the best teams in the state. But consider this. The Niles West scholastic bowl program is not a particularly developed program. Our coach doesn't particularly have a huge interest in his job and, year in and year out, our school would do little more than compete in our conference tournament and then the state series. This year, we happened upon a particularly strong team. Our entire lineup is seniors, at the pinnacle of their ability. Too, this year we picked up Paul Domer, who had never even heard of scholastic bowl before the season started and has a vast, vast bank of knowledge in the fields of history and fine arts. I've watched him especially grow throughout the year into a strong player; he really just needed match practice. It's not surprising that we weren't seeded considering the only record our coach submitted was our conference record (7-3), ignoring the one other scholastic bowl tournament (New Trier Varsity) and our victory in non-scholastic bowl at the Huskie Bowl. He also did not attend the seeding meeting. And, given that our team is especially strong in math and especially weak in literature (hence making the IHSA distribution highly favorable for us), we're what many would call "raw talent." Nobody has heard of us because we didn't get out much. But when we beat Deveau St. Iggy, it wasn't because the questions were god awful or we got lucky, we just, for one game, outplayed them (also, Deveau negged a considerable number of times).
I congratulate you on your win, but I think even you would acknowledge that St. Ignatius is a better team than you in the mean, so you pulled an upset (in fact, rather a major one.) Surely you also acknowledge that a format other than single elimination would be more fair. The fact is that the poorness of IHSA questions means that the signal-to-noise ratio in the match results is unacceptably low for basically any format, much less single elimination.
Therefore, you're right that it's not a sound argument to say "A good team lost a single game to an opponent who may have been better than they seemed; change things ipso facto." I think a sound argument is "These teams didn't really get a fair shot to show who's actually better, because things were decided by single elimination on often-bad questions. This major upset constitutes evidence for that."

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Re: IHSA Regional Results and Discussion

Post by Aaron Goldfein » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:24 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:
Aaron Goldfein wrote:To those using our victory over St. Ignatius as a reason to denounce the state series....
I congratulate you on your win, but I think even you would acknowledge that St. Ignatius is a better team than you in the mean, so you pulled an upset (in fact, rather a major one.) Surely you also acknowledge that a format other than single elimination would be more fair. The fact is that the poorness of IHSA questions means that the signal-to-noise ratio in the match results is unacceptably low for basically any format, much less single elimination.
Therefore, you're right that it's not a sound argument to say "A good team lost a single game to an opponent who may have been better than they seemed; change things ipso facto." I think a sound argument is "These teams didn't really get a fair shot to show who's actually better, because things were decided by single elimination on often-bad questions. This major upset constitutes evidence for that."

MaS
I agree with everything said here. I agree that, even with IHSA distribution, St. Ignatius is a better team than we. So yes, I also agree that if anything, this upset is a sound case for the elimination of single elimination. But, given that the IHSA is an athletic organization who tries to treat scholastic bowl as much like a sport as it can, I have to believe it won't change from the single elimination format, the format it uses in every sport, any time soon. On top of that, as far as I'm concerned, scholastic bowl tends to see fewer upsets than a game like basketball or volleyball, tournaments that also are run on single elimination.

And besides, even if a round robin or pool play type of even is instituted in regionals, then it will still be like sectionals. That is, in sectionals, although one loss doesn't technically eliminate you, it pretty much does. If the number one seed at sectionals loses to the number two seed at sectionals, then, in all probability, the number one seed will not advance (especially considering that head-to-head is the first tie breaker).
Aaron Goldfein
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Re: IHSA Regional Results and Discussion

Post by CometCoach72 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:44 pm

To the Niles West Team, I offer my congratulations on winning the match; nobody should ever detract from the fact that you won the regional. That having been said...
Captain Sinico wrote: I congratulate you on your win, but I think even you would acknowledge that St. Ignatius is a better team than you in the mean, so you pulled an upset (in fact, rather a major one.) Surely you also acknowledge that a format other than single elimination would be more fair. The fact is that the poorness of IHSA questions means that the signal-to-noise ratio in the match results is unacceptably low for basically any format, much less single elimination.
Therefore, you're right that it's not a sound argument to say "A good team lost a single game to an opponent who may have been better than they seemed; change things ipso facto." I think a sound argument is "These teams didn't really get a fair shot to show who's actually better, because things were decided by single elimination on often-bad questions. This major upset constitutes evidence for that."
I stipulate that sometimes, the best team doesn't win a regional, and that is a crying shame. It happens frequently in Southern Illinois (I would say Staunton's upset of Alton Marquette in the Class A regionals is this year's example; Columbia's upset of Marissa in 2009 was my other example).

Mr. Sorice is right on the money. The Regional Round is nothing more than an overgrown bear trap. In a Regional of any size, the format is unfair to every single team, whether they are 100-0 on the season or 0-100. Given the structure of Sectionals and State Finals, of course it is optimal that you win every single match you play to win a state title, and that's the way it should be; however it is still possible to lose a match in Sectionals or pool play in the state finals and still be able to win the whole can of beans. However, you can't do that in Regionals. You MUST win them all on Regional night to advance. Every single team who particpates in a regional has a right to be offended by its structure. Often, teams must travel great distances, endure lengthy matches that usually run past the scheduled time, deal with inexperienced moderators, and then have to battle fatigue to try to win a championship match that in many cases does not conclude until after 9PM.

Look, I know many would disagree, but Sorice is correct. Single elimination is absoultely the wrong way to go if you are not playing that format in later levels. It just doesn't make any sense.

I sincerely hope the AdCo is willing to listen to the idea of a change in format for the Regionals. I'm pretty sure that IHSA is completely out to lunch with respect to the impact Regional night has on teams and the quality of its tournament.
Jay Winter
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Re: IHSA Regional Results and Discussion

Post by Geringer » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:55 pm

Aaron Goldfein wrote:given that the IHSA is an athletic organization who tries to treat scholastic bowl as much like a sport as it can, I have to believe it won't change from the single elimination format, the format it uses in every sport, any time soon. On top of that, as far as I'm concerned, scholastic bowl tends to see fewer upsets than a game like basketball or volleyball, tournaments that also are run on single elimination.
I've attended state tournament series in at least seven IHSA sports and activities. For starters, cheerleading, another notable IHSA Activity with a participation as large as scholastic bowl, does not use single elimination. They group into regionals, and the top scoring teams at each regional travel to a state final in Springfield (or Peoria, maybe) and compete in another large group setting. I'm pretty certain gymnastics and chess do this as well. Why is this so? Cheerleading suffers from a top-heavy distribution of skilled teams in the Northern area of the state and it would be unfair to penalize great teams from talent-rich areas. I'm reasonably sure that wrestling and bass fishing teams advance on total points rather than W/L records, as does golf, swimming, and I'm sure countless other things. Creating larger regionals and advancing multiple teams for Scholastic Bowl would mirror what I see as the majority format for IHSA events.

So, on to the topic of what differentiates the scholastic bowl tournament from the basketball tournament. The chances are very good that I've played in more IHSA-regulated basketball games than anyone else on the boards, and I can say without hesitation that a bad packet makes a much more profound difference on a scholastic bowl match than a bad referee has on any basketball game I've played on. I will attempt to make a bad sports analogy.

Three point shooting is one of the most difficult skills to master in basketball. Undeniably, good shooting teams have a much high potential to score points than bad shooting teams, that goes without saying. I have seen many teams win games on their ability to shoot the three. In scholastic bowl, the equivalent of three point shot is the ability to "power" questions on superior knowledge. Whether or not a team is awarded an extra five points is irrelevant; being rewarded for superior knowledge is what scholastic bowl is all about. When bad IHSA questions come into the picture, it is equivalent, in my mind, to getting rid of the three point line and essentially changing how the game is played. Without the ability to use your superior knowledge to beat teams, the game turns into a buzzer-race competition...a glorified lay-up drill. By dumbing down the activity with bad questions, an inferior team can walk off with a game without being more skilled. If this upset was an isolated event, I could understand, but there is a disturbing pattern of early upsets in IHSA Scholastic Bowl play that not only does not occur in other quiz bowl formats, but that I have not seen in any other IHSA activity, basketball, football, volleyball, baseball, and soccer included.
R. Jeffrey Geringer
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Re: IHSA Regional Results and Discussion

Post by Tegan » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:08 pm

http://www.ihsa.org/org/policy/2009-10/policies.pdf
IHSA Policy #19 wrote:The cornerstone of IHSA state tournaments has long been geographic assignments to the state series leading to geographic representation at State Final tournaments. The geographical concept was developed to insure that interscholastic participation was compatible with a school’s educational objectives. The geographic concept helped maintain a “reasonableness” to competition and safeguarded key resources such as time and money, while, at the same time, providing for a structure that was equitable to all member schools.
IHSA Policy #19 wrote:The State Series is designed to determine a State Champion. The State Series is not intended to necessarily advance the best teams in the state to the State Final.
This is a acknowledgement, intended or not, that there is no concern for which team or individual is crowned the state champion; only that there is one. Ideally it would be whichever team truly is the best, but there will not be special concern given to give that team due consideration. While, at the regional/sectional level, seeding is allowed, once an individual/team reaches the state tournament, everything is random. Is it bad competition? Yes. Are there some arguable reasons for why some of this goes on? Yes. Could it be greatly improved? Absolutely! For starters: I get the need for some geographical representation ... it would be impossible to seed a state like Illinois, break up the top seeds completely, and try and play from there without introducing some unacceptable driving times, not to mention extra cost. However, I see no reason why teams cannot be ranked, good faith efforts made to separate the top teams as best as can be done, seed locally, and then when the teams reach state, set up a system for seeding. This would all be based on the idea that many coaches can make reasonable decisions about who the better teams are, and as Illinois has, sadly, demonstrated in the past month or so, this is routinely more difficult then it should be.

Moving out of a single elimination tournament is not something the Advisory Committee has control of, which is a shame, because it would allow for a greater chance of it happening. The fact that Scholastic Bowl is unique in allowing "round robin" play at sectionals/state is considered controversial within the IHSA, as we are the only bracketed competition that allows for it at any level. At least twice in the last five years, there have been implications given that it could be revoked, and single elimination restored.

Dr. Geringer notes that this is not the case in cheerleading. While I am not 100% sure, cheerleading may mandate the format from a national federation. A national federation can wield a great deal of power when determining the format of competitions. States are not required to follow them, but more often than not will strongly consider a national federation's policies, traditions, and guidelines for conducting competitions. Illinois does make adjustments in national federation rules in some sports, but for the most part follows what comes down from those groups. Since cheerleading does not follow a bracketed format, and almost certainly never did, their competitions allow for multiple teams to advance from one level of competitions to another. Because Scholastic Bowl ended up being a bracketed team event, it, unfortunately, exists under the umbrella of single elimination.

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Re: IHSA Regional Results and Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:18 pm

If you're going to compare the IHSA treatment of Scholastic Bowl with sports, IHSA classifies sports as head-to-head and pool. Head-to-head sports (or bracketed as Dr. Egan just posted), which have two teams playing directly against each other with a winner and a loser, are all single elimination. Scholastic Bowl has been allowed an exception, albeit a very modest one, because we're not a sport. That exception is very unlikely to expand because of money. IHSA spends tens of thousands of dollars on Scholastic Bowl, and they do not want to pay for the writers to write more questions or the moderators to moderate more matches. It's fine with me if people submit proposals for more matches, but any such proposal needs to be revenue neutral or better.

That basketball analogy is cracked. For one thing, plenty of IHSA basketball games have been impacted by major players getting into early foul trouble on questionable calls. For another thing, that's just a sucky and unnecessary analogy--nobody here needs iffy sports analogies to understand why bad questions are bad. Nothing personal.
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Re: IHSA Regional Results and Discussion

Post by Dan-Don » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:41 pm

I wouldn't spend so much time worrying about the format of the state series. After all, there was hardly any outrage directed toward the 2008 and 2009 Masonic States. Why? The format sucked, but the questions didn't. The question quality of the IHSA State Series needs to be fixed waaaaay before we start talking about geographic sectionals or seeded state pools or any other radical ideas.
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Re: IHSA Regional Results and Discussion

Post by Matt Bardoe » Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:12 pm

Would it be possible to eliminate the regional round and just have a sectional tournament with approximately 36 teams? How many rounds of questions would such a tournament need to determine a winner?
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Re: IHSA Regional Results and Discussion

Post by jdeliverer » Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:17 pm

Matt Bardoe wrote:Would it be possible to eliminate the regional round and just have a sectional tournament with approximately 36 teams? How many rounds of questions would such a tournament need to determine a winner?
Unless you're using way more rounds (and remember they are 30 questions each), I would imagine even this format would end up effectively eliminating any team that loses. How would you organize it? If you do it by pools, you would need a round robin with wildcards to make it "fair".
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Re: IHSA Regional Results and Discussion

Post by CometCoach72 » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:16 am

Tegan wrote:
IHSA Policy #19 wrote:The cornerstone of IHSA state tournaments has long been geographic assignments to the state series leading to geographic representation at State Final tournaments. The geographical concept was developed to insure that interscholastic participation was compatible with a school’s educational objectives. The geographic concept helped maintain a “reasonableness” to competition and safeguarded key resources such as time and money, while, at the same time, providing for a structure that was equitable to all member schools.
Geography will be the driving factor for a long time to come. Too many principals and AD's from below Riley's Mason-Dixon Line will shout loudly if geography is tossed out the window.
Tegan wrote:
IHSA Policy #19 wrote:The State Series is designed to determine a State Champion. The State Series is not intended to necessarily advance the best teams in the state to the State Final.
This is a acknowledgement, intended or not, that there is no concern for which team or individual is crowned the state champion; only that there is one.
Every competition that I know of will have a surprise participant in its championship at some point in time; a team that the observers and experts had no idea was capable of such achievements. From last year's Class A tournament, I offer Altamont and Columbia as examples.
Tegan wrote: Moving out of a single elimination tournament is not something the Advisory Committee has control of, which is a shame, because it would allow for a greater chance of it happening. The fact that Scholastic Bowl is unique in allowing "round robin" play at sectionals/state is considered controversial within the IHSA, as we are the only bracketed competition that allows for it at any level. At least twice in the last five years, there have been implications given that it could be revoked, and single elimination restored.
Lucky us. Once that happens I will push the AdCo to preface the T&C Manual with the words "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter."
Jay Winter
Greenville HS (IL) Scholastic Bowl Coach and Chief UN Translator for Math
Decatur MacArthur Class of 1990 - Illinois State Class of 1994 - MS Ed SIU Edwardsville 2010
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