I'm glad so many people have responded with their thoughts and predictions! I definitely think that this MSNCT could go in a huge number of ways. I'd say my personal top 4 would be Challenger-Almaden, Churchill, Hunter, and Longfellow. (Since "Super Six" now seems to be a thing (though there are generally three teams tied for fifth), I suppose I'd suggest Hopkins and Daniel Wright.)
Challenger-Almaden is in some ways the team to beat. As people have mentioned, one-person teams are definitely subject to more weaknesses than other teams, but a Challenger-Almaden win is certainly within the realm of possibility. Arin Parsa's team put up the highest PPB of any team on any MS set this year (26.38 PPB on MS-29), and Arin's stats (at least as far as PPB is concerned; his power stats haven't changed much) have increased impressively throughout the year. This is a boy who, as a 6th grader, made playoffs in Varsity
NHBB Nationals, losing to TJ by less than 100 points, and who won the inaugural MS IPNCT with only one loss. They've had losses throughout the year -- to Stratford-Sunnyvale, Pleasanton Scholars B (which, for a B team, is weirdly good), Hopkins, and Churchill -- but they've also won the last three MS tournaments they've played in and are not to be taken lightly.
Churchill's performance is very frightening. They put up 19.59 PPB on an IS set as Robert pointed out -- I don't believe any Middle School team has ever broken 19 PPB before, not even the Kealing teams which made HSNCT playoffs back in the day. And they did that with a huge number of powers, around 5.5 per game (including one game with 10 powers. How
?). Their A-set stats are similarly impressive -- 24.43 PPB. This would appear to make them the top contender, but they haven't always been able to convert these stats into wins. They won one MS tournament with more than 11 powers per game, but against stronger fields, they haven't finished as highly, with losses to Hopkins A (three times), Pleasanton Scholars B, Stratford-Sunnyvale, and their own B team. Interestingly, they are undefeated against Challenger-Almaden. They'll definitely be among the strongest teams in playoffs, which will be more difficult.
Hunter is another strong contender. They also happen to be my own school's team, so I may be a little biased, but I think they have an excellent chance of winning. On first glance their stats might not seem as impressive -- they haven't broken 25 PPB on MS and their 17.60 PPB on IS (that Hunter C team which Robert pointed out was, in fact, entirely middle schoolers), though initially impressive, pales in comparison to Churchill's above. Still, as seems to have been recognized by many, they are very good. They had 4 powers/game on IS (where their opponents, on average, were significantly more difficult than Churchill's) and the earlier mentioned good bonus conversion despite not having an entirely full team. In fact, they haven't played with their nats team at any point yet (their team at Bergen, the only tournament they won, was closest). It's worth noting that Jacob beat both finalists (Arin Parsa, Rohan Ganeshan) in MS IPNCT in their pool game together and was the last undefeated player there, and he is only about half of Hunter's scoring. Jacob and Ian's performances at NHBB (they both made Bee playoffs) speak for their strength in history, in which they'll be quite dominant. They also have a very low neg rate, which should come in handy, especially against neg-heavy California teams.
karsten7814 wrote: ↑Mon May 06, 2019 10:47 am
Sort of, but categories aren't as clearly divided as in, say, Hunter's MSNCT team two years ago.
Longfellow doesn't have too many stats, and their performances on higher level sets (A-sets, for instance) are not at the level of California teams'. Still, they're very good (as Longfellow always is), and I'm sure they've only improved through the year under Mr. Huang's coaching. At their one MS tournament this year, they broke 26 PPB and 10 powers/game, notably getting 16 powers in one game. That's better than their team's performance at their one MS tournament last year, and last year they managed 3rd at MSNCT. So yeah, look out for Longfellow.
The NorCal MS circuit is crazy (at one tournament the team finishing 9th out of 11 broke 24 PPB (https://www.naqt.com/stats/tournament/s ... t_id=10450
), and a number of teams could make finals. In approximate order, I'd suggest Hopkins, Pleasanton Scholars (which managed more than 18 PPB on IS), Bret Harte, and Stratford-Sunnyvale are all quite likely to make the top 10 and have reasonable shots at finals.
Looking beyond California... Daniel Wright, which has numerous good players, is the best MS team in Illinois in my view and has numerous good players, giving them a great shot to do well, possibly even winning it all. (Mr. Price, did Odle beat a full
Daniel Wright team? In that case, I'd put Odle in my top 10 overall as well. They do seem quite good, but their stats (look at their A-set results) don't seem quite as good as the other teams mentioned.) After that are Aptakisic, Barrington, and Quest Academy. Outside of Illinois, Burleigh Manor is a good team (and is finally
going to nationals!) and has beaten Longfellow a good number of times; I'd definitely put them in my top 10. Liberty seems very impressive (I was going to say that before you wrote!) -- in one tournament they reached 27 PPB, though it was on an easier set than NAQT MS -- but they don't have many other statlines to see. St. John's could be a top 10 team; Greenhill is good as well. From the NY region, Tenafly is the strongest non-Hunter team; Middlesex is good as always but doesn't look likely to continue their streak of always reaching the top 10 (now they'll surely prove me wrong). Emerson, from Michigan, is also good. Edmonson County would do very well if they actually went to MSNCT.
I'm sure there are other excellent teams, but I've already written far more than anyone wants to read, so I'll leave it at that.
(And sorry for the very long post -- I like doing in-depth analysis a lot, especially at the MS level where I feel it's often been lacking, but I tend to get a bit... carried away.)