Thursday, April 7, 2011

Centex, Bids and more!

Sorry for the long delay in writing. I have been sending out reams of emails to Fugue about this-that-and-the-other and not really had time to write. It's another in a long line of conflicts between myself as a coach and as a commentator. (A conflict which probably deserves its own post, but not today.)

Centex In General
I'm going to say some nice things and then complain a bit.
1. Well run as are all of Michelle's tournaments. She just does a good job of making sure that all the details are attended to. We have gotten a bit spoiled over the last few years as the institutional memory in our sport has gotten better and better and the tournaments have steadily improved.
2. It was very nice to go to a women's only tournament again. Last year, Prez Day and Centex were only women. These were the first tourneys I'd been to that were only women and I was surprised how much I enjoyed them and how little I missed the men's teams. Since I don't give a rip about the social scene and don't really care about watching men's teams play (except to see CUT paste the Hodangs) I don't miss the boys. Unlike Prez Day and Stanford, at Centex this year the best women's games got the best and most central fields instead of being delegated to the secondary locations.
3. I hate the format. I am reminded very much of the old Chicago Tune-Up format which in the late 90s was to Club what Centex has become to the college women. Every team in the country went and that glut made an unmanageable format. In an effort to please everyone and make it possible to have a divided and yet open format both tournaments had a huge number of games squeezed into a very small amount of time. At Tune-Up it was 6! pool play games on Saturday. At Centex it was 4 games on Sunday starting at 8AM. If these games were against SW Wichita State and Olympic Peninsula Forestry College and are going to wash out at 15-2, no biggie. But our four games were against Wisconsin, UCSB, Washington and Stanford. Nobody reached 11 points in any of these games. Bah!

Centex for Fugue
We staggered into the tournament with major injuries all over the place. Here is our out list to start the tournament: Julia (concussion), Bailey (hamstring), Krista (foot), Rachel (ankle) and Lily (ankle). Butters played only Saturday (Achilles), Sophie (hamstring) and Aubri (ankle) didn't play the last two.
Nonetheless, we managed to eke out a wins over Stanford (Sat) and Wisconsin (Sun) with some great defense and just enough offense. We dropped one to UNC that we shouldn't have. We were up 8-3 and lost 11-12. Four first-pass turnovers probably hurt us. Credit to them though-they played very well and cashed in on the opportunities we gave them. We played great defense in the quarters against UCSB and had plenty of opportunities to win, but couldn't cash them in. We lolly-gagged on the field switch from the Wisco game and weren't ready to play. We went down 0-3 and couldn't close the gap and lost by the same margin 7-10 or 8-10.

Bids to Nationals
Weirdness in the bids. There is far more parity in the women's division than anyone expected and some strange things happened.
1. State of California?! After their reputation got the rules rewritten, the state of California failed to cash in and has only three bids. Yikes! The new adage that You Region is Only as Good as Your Worst Good Team really was proven here. UCLA, Korb-less and Kodiak-less plummeted through the standings at Centex and cost California a bid. I wouldn't count them out at Regionals, though.
2. Cowboy Region?! The region strength bid came through for this group. With a mess of good teams, (Colorado, Co College, WUWU, Texas...) but no great ones they get two bids which I think they deserve.
3. Atlantic Coast. I talked to Lindsey Hack on Sunday and she was PISSED about the schedule and the format and the bid! But it all worked out. UNC's finishes elsewhere in the season prevented a total collapse ala UCLA and UVA's nice results propelled the Atlantic Coast to 3 bids. Wahoowa!
4. All in all, despite some weirdness in the actual placement of teams (like UW being 2nd despite not making semis in any tournaments this year) I think the bids were allocated fairly. If I'm wrong for any reason, I'd love to know.

The Regular Season
Here's my problem with the USAU's system. Now is the time we should be ramping up. Now is the time I should be getting freaked about the games within my Region. UW. UBC. Western. But those games don't really matter until regionals. A month and a half in the heart of the season will pass without a meaningful game. It doesn't make sense that we are all stressing about games in February and then not about the games in April. In every other sport, the regular season is against the teams in your division/conference/region that matter, not so much. I spent a lot of time this year talking with Danny (UW), Tasi(UBC) and Jinny(Western) about other teams and scouting reports and whatnot. Can you imagine Les Miles co-scouting with Nick Saban? Or Gino comparing notes with Muffet?


  1. I missed something: Ottawa ( It looks like they didn't turn in a roster for Prez Day, which is smart. Get the reps against the Westies, but don't have it count against you. But how did it affect the bids? Cornell is sitting at 26 at the #1 in that Region. Ottawa is almost certainly a top 10 team...

  2. Lou,

    Is there really that much parity? Or is the only reason Fugue isn't separating themselves because you have an all region line sitting on the DL?

    As for the lack of meaning of the conference championship, was sectionals of the past more meaningful?

    Thank you for writing again and please do not take so much time off.


  3. Lou, does this mean that Ottawa doesn't have enough sanctioned games to compete at Regionals? I'm still not entirely familiar with the process.

    Seems like maybe a slippery slope for the future, no? BLU would have had their 10 sanctioned games without Centex so if you know you're missing your coach and starters for a tourney, just don't turn in a roster. Like you said, reps for your youngsters without dropping too far in rankings. I guess this is why they don't disclose the exact math behind the algorithm. Teams would suddenly be recruiting CS majors to determine which games and tourneys are most important and which they could play an open rotation.


  4. Hey all,

    Just to clarify,I was not pissed about the format. It was the same format that has been at centex for years. Is the format fair? No. But, is that the point(a fair format...and what is fair?) of the tournament? No. And, I think I said that Sunday afternoon next to the championship field.
    As Lou stated clearly, it is Michelle's effort to do what she does best - give the very elite the games they want but also give those with less exposure the chance to "play up." We were exhausted playing Tufts after three ridiculous games against three ridiculously good opponents, but I am very thankful we got to play Tufts and I am probably even more thankful that they killed us. Their offense was spectacular. We could not buy a turn from them. #23 (Hailey), Claudia, #18, and Michaela Fallon are DANGEROUS. We could not shut down Hailey's smart cuts she was making for Claudia. Hailey made Claudia look ridiculously good (Claudia is ridiculously good...but,any good thrower knows it only works when you have a cutter cutting to the right spots). Tufts deserves major props and I shudder to think of them as a three seed in a Nationals pool.

    I am upset about the bid allocation procedure, not the bid allocations. There is a difference. And, that is no one's fault but my own. I made no effort to be on the college restructuring committee and I made no effort to offer my opinion, or even have an educated opinion for that matter. But, now, after playing in it for one year, I do have some major issues that I do hope the college restructuring committee will at least entertain the thought of addressing after the season.

    These girls pay to play. And, they pay a lot of money. It isn't like the schools are footing the bill like they do for varsity teams. I think that it is absolutely ridiculous that as a coach I feel an exceptional amount of pressure to win games that don't necessarily need to be won and run up scores on teams that do not necessarily need scores run up on them. But, every game matters and counts towards those bid allocations. When we think of it from a positive angle...big wins are awesome, it is great. You get credit where credit is due. But, when we think about it from a team building, constructive angle, it can kill your region. 17th place at centex should not really matter. I should be able to play my entire roster evenly (at least) and get them the PT and exposure they deserve because they work just as hard as my most experienced, and skilled top ten. But, I cant. Because every game counts. And, I think that is just silly when we are a club sport and these girls, each and every one of them, are paying an extraordinary amount of money to play.

    just my quick .02

    michelle...please don't black list me

    Lindsey Hack

  5. Lou, for someone who's known what's meant to be on the periphery of qualifying for nationals for three consecutive years, the "parity" that exists this year makes me happy. I mean, does it have something to do with the regional re-draw? Or is it more about development of teams elsewhere? What are your thoughts?

    Also, sorry that the Fugue roster is hurting. Take care of those girls! I am really excited to see how Oregon performs at full-strength in the post season.

    Lindsey (we have yet to meet)...but I feel your pains in the Bed allocation procedure. I agree, that the bids/strength/etc. being awarded based on every single game of the season. It rewards teams who play their top players without getting the chance to play "sanctioned games" using their whole roster to develop depth. Some developing schools, are not blessed with having a really deep roster. Rather than going to Centex and using the entire roster, top-to-bottom, it encourages teams to go and play their top two lines only. It's frustrating as a player, and someone watching. It becomes a battle between developing your team for the post-season vs. helping your region or conference earning extra bids to the next tourney in the series.

    I think many people share that sentiment.

    -Robyn Fennig

  6. thanks for chiming in robyn. good to know i am not alone. yes, let's meet in boulder!?! good luck with the series.