Thursday, January 15, 2015

West Coaches Poll

Over the next week, the Quidditch Post will release the results of our Coaches polls. Coaches or captains from every team were invited to vote or designate someone from their team to vote for the top teams in their region (one vote per team). The number of selections voters were asked to make depended on the number of teams in the region.

The West voters were asked to pick their top 10 teams from the fall season. Eleven voters participated in the poll. Points were allocated in the following manner: Ten points for a first place vote, nine points for a second place vote, eight points for a third place vote, etc. The votes have been tabulated and listed below in order of total votes. The number in parentheses indicates how many first place votes a team received.

W Coaches Poll Results
  1. Lost Boys – (6) 105
  2. Los Angeles Gambits –  (5) 103
  3. Silicon Valley Skrewts – 79
  4. Santa Barbara Blacktips – 72
  5. Northern Arizona University (NAU) – 49
  6. Arizona Quidditch Club (AZQC) –  48
  7. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) – 42
  8. Crimson Elite – 36
  9. San Jose State University (SJSU) – 33
  10. Arizona State University (ASU) – 16

Also receiving votes: Utah State University 7, University of Southern California 6, California Dobbys 5, Long Beach Funky Quaffles 3, Stanford University 1

Voters Explain Their Decisions
“The Gambits and Lost Boys are head and shoulders above the rest. With a full roster, the Lost Boys might be best, but the Gambits' skill when the snitch is on the pitch, and their ability to neutralize Peter Lee, gives them a slight edge. The Blacktips clearly outplayed the Skrewts at Next Best West 2, and while Alex Makk, who will be playing for the Skrewts at [the regional championship], is worth as much as the rest of the offense combined, until that time, they remain firmly fourth.”

“1. Gambits. Snitch-range game against the University of Texas, up by 20 against Lost Boys and AZQC in their only Western losses this season. If their beaters have the subs needed to be fresh come the snitch game and their seekers make sure they aren't capturing the snitchs entire attention, they're the top team in the West.
2. Lost Boys. They play like a better version of the Skrewts team from two seasons ago—big keeper flanked by two strong beaters who escort him to the opposing hoops. Can be countered, but most teams haven't figured out how to do so yet.
3. AZQC. Aggressive and easy to bait into cards if the refs are paying attention. AZQC will do anything, legal or not, to win... that drive can take you far.
4. UCLA. Untested, but with its roster it shouldn't logically have fallen any lower, despite the lack of real game experience this season.
5. NAU. A lot more dependent on a few individual players than in past years, but it’s still a hard-hitting group with solid seeking.
6. Skrewts. This team looks weaker than they have in two years, but they still have a great grasp of strategy, and the West struggles against offensive beating, which Miles and Kyrie excel at.
7. SJSU. A few very large ball carriers plus two lines of impressive beaters makes this team hard to blow out if you let it set the pace.
8. Blacktips. A win over the Lost Boys but blowout loss to the Gambits makes this team a mystery. Their success depends on the mood over their beaters. Get in their heads and it's over.
9. ASU. It's hard to watch what was one of the Wests strongest programs drop so dramatically, but its new blood shows a lot of promise and this can definitely change quickly. A very spirited and athletic bunch. Keep an eye out for this squad.
10. USC. If this team plays its best players until they're tired, it’s competitive. However, it seems to prefer to let the new kids get playing time, even if it means a blowout loss.”

“Although almost all polls include UCLA; I did not put it in my top ten because it hasn’t played a single game. If this was a preseason poll, then I would. My rankings are based on teams that have played at tournaments or that I've seen.”

Voters in the West seemed very uncertain about how to rank teams. Voters were nearly evenly split at the top spot between the Lost Boys and the Gambits, with voters noting Gambits’ success out of region but also the Lost Boys head-to-head victory over the Gambits. The Gambits and Lost Boys generally received the remaining second place votes; however, the Skrewts earned one, beating out the Gambits. Five teams received third place votes with the Skrewts and Blacktips leading the way with 4 and 3 votes, respectively. Both teams made up the clear second tier of the West, receiving 8 of 11 top four votes. Northern Arizona was named on all 11 ballots ranging from fourth to ninth. Arizona Quidditch Club and UCLA placed sixth and seventh overcoming voter uncertainty. In the case of AZQC (and to a lesser extent NAU) voters didn’t seem to know how to handle the team from Arizona that hasn’t played in many tournaments, while in the case of UCLA the team hadn’t played an official game at the time of the vote. Voters generally struggled to rank some of the non-California and less active teams, with teams like Crimson Elite and the Arizona squads receiving rankings all over the map.

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