2018-2019 Day 21

The A Bracket seedings are below. You’ll see most of these were relatively easy without having to go TOO in depth. The only one I admit I wavered on was the #1 spot between Feeney and Brian, and you can weigh in on that, cause I’m really on the fence there.

There’s a lot to get to here so I’m not gonna spend too much time with what happened last night as there were nine matches played.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Ethan 21 21 21 3
Steve 14 10 17 0

This one happened first on the main table before everyone got here. Ethan looked very much in control right off the bat when he went up 8-0 in game 1 and 8-1 in game 2. Steve was constantly battling from behind. This was the first time Ethan had played at my place this year but it didn’t seem to slow him down.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Keegan 21 21 16 21 3
Haynes 17 17 21 2 1

Not sure what happened there in the last game. This was otherwise a really good contest, with the scores of the first three not reflecting how close they were. The first two in particular Keegan didn’t pull away until towards the end of both games. Haynes mostly held the lead in game 3, but then that last one really looks out of place.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Ethan 21 21 21 3
Cedar 12 5 19 0

Didn’t see any of this, as it was in the cave. Also hadn’t seen Cedar play all year. He was at the barn twice, and the last time he came to the Potomadome, I had to grab Erin from the airport when her flight got cancelled, and I missed the whole night.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Ethan 20 21 13 21 21 3
Corey 22 7 21 3 19 2

This one was fascinating, as Corey nearly pulled the upset. Corey was down in the first game around 19-16 but pulled out the OT win on the darker side of the main table. Using the Sandy paddle, Ethan was not comfortable and was clearly forced to play his older more defensive strategy. But when Ethan was on the darker side, he dominated. Not sure what the deal was that the first four games were won on the dark side. As we went into game 5, it looked like Corey would have the side advantage. But there were a series of really interesting plays that turned the tide, most notably in my opinion was around the time Corey was up maybe 15-13ish, and Ethan hit a drop shot just over the net that Corey had to lunge for. From my vantage point it was tough to see if Corey hit it before the ball struck the table the second time, but if held to a lie detector I would say he got to it in time. But Corey seemed to believe he didn’t get there, and said it hit twice and gave up the point. It was a pretty classy move at a critical moment in the match.

Still Corey held a 19-17 lead and Ethan got 4 straight at the end to pull it out, with the final point coming on a back of the line back-breaker that Ethan had to step backwards on to hit it, but managed to pull out the acrobatic winning shot. Great match. Awesome to watch.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Keegan 21 21 21 3
Steve 19 19 11 0

Two tough losses for Steve to start this one out. Missed it all, as it was in the cave.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Keegan 21 21 13 21 3
Cedar 10 13 21 17 1

This one was supposed to be played on the main table at the end of the night, but Keegan had to get home so instead they played it in the cave early as Ethan and Corey’s match was still going on on the main table. Although I saw none of it, I’m not surprised Cedar lost this one, as I’ll explain later.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Haynes 22 18 21 21 21 3
Corey 24 21 9 10 5 2

The most entertaining match-up of the night also proved to end in the most surprising way. Both players were definitely playing to the crowd. Corey in particular. Karen and Erin had come down to the garage at this point and Ethan hung around. Then Cedar also came to watch when his match ended, so everyone was pretty much watching this one. Corey did not fail to add his own personal commentary after almost every shot in the first few games. Between Haynes’ normally long warm-up time, Corey’s mouth running the whole time between points, and their general slow pace of play with extensive rallies, this was by far the longest match, possibly all season.

Corey’s first game 24-22 win was epic with several amazing shots at the end. Although Corey won the first two, Haynes was a defensive God. Corey had a few points in almost every game where he assumed he had a winner and seemed to stop playing the point only to watch in amazement that the ball came back. And Haynes’ chopping style was also making it difficult for Corey to get too many successful slams in. By the time the third game happened, Corey seemed to be frustrated with Haynes’ ability to keep returning everything, and seemed to give up once the game started to go heavily in favor of Haynes.

Same thing basically in the fourth game, with Corey’s frustration growing. Continuing to keep the crowd abreast of his entire thought process, he said over and over how difficult it was to play against Haynes, who was on fire at this point. Corey started just slamming back shots out of desperation, not really focusing on where they were going, to the point that Karen and Erin had to literally move their chairs away from Corey for fear of getting smashed in the face.

The first game was over before it began really. Corey looked flustered and unable to regain his composure. In the poker world, you’d say he was on tilt. Haynes, helping to fan the flames of Corey’s resignation, threw in a few subtle taunts as well; some strategically placed heckles like when Corey bemoaned that he couldn’t hit a shot, Haynes goes “must be your wood paddle”.

The end result of this match would end up being huge as you’ll see in the final seedings below.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Steve 21 17 19 0
Corey 23 21 21 3

Corey regrouped and took down Steve in straight sets in the cave. After that loss to Haynes, where he pretty much knew he’d lost his spot in A, you’d forgive Corey for coming out flat in the final game. But as we know from past seasons, Corey plays better in the cave, so maybe that was rejuvenating for him.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Cedar 11 21 21 16 21 3
Haynes 21 19 16 21 17 2

The final match of the night on the main table was my first chance to get to see Cedar live all season. And since he missed out last season, that means I haven’t seen him play since April 23, 2017 at the A Bracket tourney at the Barn. Two years later, his style of play is almost unrecognizable. For starters, although he’s still the only player in the top half of the league to serve out of his hand (which is legal in this league) he does occasionally add a drop serve to his arsenal now. But the glaring change is the low slam he’s added. It’s crazy for this league, unless he’s able to play all his games at the barn. The only player to consistently hit shots from below the table line was three-time champ Scott who loved to hit choppers from down there. But Cedar is doing a between-the-legs and sometimes cross-legged slam from the lowest point he can realistically hit the ball. At my house, there’s just not enough space for that shot to arc back onto the table at full strength. And that’s why I say I’m not surprised he lost to Keegan in the barn which must feel like a chicken cage to him. He was clearly taking something off his slams so they wouldn’t go long. And he hit the back wall numerous times, as though he was trying to physically will the wall back a few inches.

After Haynes took the first one 21-11, Cedar adjusted and was able to get his shot falling pretty well to win the next two. Cedar also had to contend with Haynes’ insanely colorful shirt that he’d be hiding under his sweatshirt all night, but finally revealed it. Hard to describe it, but it was a sublimation explosion of graphic design. And I’m sad I didn’t take a photo of it.

We had the third 5-set match of the night, but Cedar finished it off even though Haynes started mounting a nice little comeback starting at 20-14 that got the sideline pretty excited, only to see a shot just go a hair to far over the back left side of the table to end it.

Next Sunday will be myself, Dot, Garrett and Yosh. And after that’s over, I’ll do the final seedings for B.

But here’s the seedings for A and my explanations for each.

#1 Feeney

The only two people who could realistically be here are Feeney and Brian, winning the regular season with 10-2 records. Brian obviously dominated on PPI. His 1546 is much higher than the next closest person Ethan at 1477 and 146 points above Feeney at 1400. Because it’s that much higher, I have to take it into account, but PPI is flawed as it doesn’t take match wins into account. It was copied over from USAU’s RRI and so it only factors in game results. But it still has value, and especially when it’s 146 points ahead of Feeney. That’s not really close at all. Head-to-head Feeney beat Brian in 4. In Record Against Common Opponents (RACO) Brian wins 8-1 to 6-2.

Note: Brian played 3 matches against Cody, and won all of them, so in cases like that for RACO I treat it as only one win since Feeney only got to play Cody once. But Brian’s two wins against Grant are both counted, because Feeney also played Grant twice, and lost one of them. Brian’s two games against Ethan are both counted because he won one and lost one, while Feeney beat him in the one game they played. This is why Brian shows more games than Feeney.

When it’s close like this, I sometimes also go to individual Games Against Common Opponents (GACO). (In the case of Cody, I used the average of the three matches.) There Brian wins 26-7 to Feeney’s 20-11.

I’ll go one more place.
Brian’s average margin of victory in his 26 wins in GACO was 6.22. Average margin of loss in his 7 losses was -5.25. A difference of +0.97
Feeney’s average margin of victory in his 20 wins in GACO was 6.7. Average margin of loss in his 10 losses was -5.82. A difference of +0.88

Also, despite playing a harder schedule than Feeney, Brian’s overall game winning% is 75% to Feeney’s 70% and overall point diff. favors Brian 3.5 to 2.7

So in conclusion, all numbers favor Brian except for the one I put the most value into, which is head-to-head. And that head-to-head match happened in the last round. If it was a 5 game win, or earlier in the season, I’d weigh it less, and the other advantages Brian had would win out. But that round 4 victory can’t be ignored, because at that point both players had to know the stakes, which makes the match result have high significance. I admit this is a tough one. Am I putting too much value on head-to-head? Let me know. I could be persuaded on this one. I might even open this up to the equivalent of API, where you guys can vote on it if you want to, since I’m kind of torn. As a reminder, here was the results of the head-to-head match:

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Brian 16 19 21 18 0
Feeney 21 21 14 21 3

#2 Brian

This is a clear case for Brian here. Not only does he win in PPI over everyone, he also beat everyone below him, with the only loss being against Ethan. But he also beat Ethan. They won 3-2 over each other 10 days apart in November. RACO favors Brian over Ethan 6-1 to 5-2.

#3 Ethan

Ethan’s only loss not to Brian or Feeney, was to Keegan. He beat Grant and Cody head-to-head, and both Grant and Cody swept Keegan in straight sets. Ethan beats both Cody and Keegan in RACO, but loses to Grant in RACO 6-3 to 5-3. Looking at GACO, it’s even closer where Ethan was 19-13 and Grant was 20-14. Here’s Ethan’s head-to-head plus his 90 point advantage in PPI gives Ethan the nod.

#4 Grant

This is another easy one as Grant’s four losses were only to players listed above. Two to Brian, one to Feeney, one to Ethan. He beat Cody and Keegan head-to-head and beats them both in RACO. He also has the PPI advantage. All-in-all, an easy call.

#5 Cody

Both Cody and Keegan beat Cedar, the only other person I’d consider for this spot. Cody swept Keegan head-to-head. Cody has the PPI advantage 1313 to 1278. And in RACO, they are tied 3-4. In GACO, it’s also super close with Keegan squeaking out the lead 11-15.5 to 11-16. (This is due to me averaging Keegan’s two wins over Cedar that went 3-0 and 3-1 since Cody only played Cedar once.)

I also looked at average margin of victory in GACO (explained in the Feeney/Brian debate above.)
Average margin of victory for Keegan’s wins was 6.35. For his losses was -7.06. A difference of -0.71.
Average martin of victory for Cody’s wins was 7.67. For his losses was -6.27. A difference of +1.4.

So all of that is close enough that it’s a win for Cody. The head-to-head sweep in Round 2 carries the day.

#6 Keegan

All of these last few were decided last night. Keegan swept the night with wins over Haynes, Cedar and Steve that cemented this spot. Keegan’s 1278 PPI is 91 points higher than the next closest person in Haynes. His 7-5 record is better than Haynes, Cedar and Steve’s. He does however have the same record as Corey, and lost to Corey in straight sets. But Corey lost to both Cedar and Haynes, and Keegan easily beats Corey in RACO 5-2 to 2-5.

Just for good measure, Keegan beat Haynes in RACO 4-4 to 2-6. And he tied in RACO with Cedar 4-4 apiece. In GACO, Keegan wins it 14-17 to 13-17 over Cedar. But ultimately, Keegan actually beat Cedar head-to-head twice. So that’s enough to do it, but all the other stuff is in Keegan’s favor as well anyway, so it’s actually pretty easy to put Keegan here.

#7 Cedar

Cedar’s only losses are to players above him on this list. He beat Haynes, Corey and Steve head-to-head, so Ethan’s comment last night to Cedar that “you 100% have this spot” is pretty accurate. The only thing that puts up a question mark is Haynes’ 1187 PPI over Cedar’s 1149. But that’s not nearly enough to do anything, considering Cedar also beats Haynes in RACO 2-4 to 1-5.

#8 Haynes

So here’s where it gets interesting. The battle for the final spot in A includes a loop where Haynes beat Corey, Corey beat Steve, and Steve beat Haynes. The only other person you could possibly consider for this spot is Van, who beat Steve. But Van lost to both Haynes and Corey. So we’ll just focus on Haynes, Corey and Steve.

So the first thing we need to do is remove one player from this equation.

PPI gives the edge to Haynes 1187 to Corey’s 1145 and Steve’s 1134. Overall record gives the edge to Corey 7-5 to Haynes’ 4-8 and Steve’s 3-9. If we only focus on games played against the other A players, Corey holds the advantage. He was 1-4 thanks to his win over Keegan. Steve was 1-5 thanks to his win over Feeney. Haynes was 0-6.

So when looking at RACO, Corey beats Steve 2-4 to 1-5. And Haynes beats Steve 3-5 to 2-6. Corey beats Haynes 3-2 to 1-4.

Also, when looking at record just in the head-to-head contests between these three, it was Corey at +2, Haynes at -1 and Steve at -1. All in all, you have to drop Steve out of contention for this spot. Overall record, PPI and RACO takes him down.

That leaves us with Haynes vs. Corey. We know that Corey won in RACO 3-3 to 1-5. And he takes overall record. Haynes holds PPI and head-to-head, and it’s important to note that the head-to-head match was a 3-2 win for Haynes. But the two wins Corey got were 24-22 and 21-18, whereas Haynes’ three wins were 21-9, 21-10 and 21-5. All blow-outs.

So just to add another layer to look at, we’ll consider average margin of victory in GACO.
Haynes’ average margin of victory in wins was 5.43. In losses, it was -6.5.
Corey’s average martin of victory in wins was 5.33. In losses it was -9.33.
That’s a clear advantage to Haynes.

As you know, I highly value head-to-head, and similar to the Feeney vs. Brian debate, the fact that the win came in the 4th round has even more value to me. Especially in this case because all the players knew what the stakes were last night.

So that makes the quarter-finals look like this, assuming you all agree with my assessment of Feeney’s fourth round four set win over Brian being enough to trump all the other advantages Brian has over Feeney.

#1 Feeney vs #8 Haynes

#2 Brian vs #7 Cedar

#3 Ethan vs #6 Keegan

#4 Grant vs #5 Cody

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