Switching A and B Teams

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PRStoetzer
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Switching A and B Teams

Post by PRStoetzer »

What is everybody's thoughts on having your best players play on a B team if you enter two teams in a tournament without Varsity/JV distinctions?
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Post by The Time Keeper »

If a team intentionally places their best four players on a B team in order to get an easier set of prelim games or some similar reason, it should be met with a "What the hell are you trying to do?" from the TD. As TD you could also ask (demand) that the teams be changed back to normal.

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Post by wwellington »

The B team had a harder bracket, though. So it's not quite the same.

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Post by blazer06 »

Personally, I think it's somewhat like sandbagging, especially if it is to get into a harder bracket; although it could be justifiable, as determining which team is A and which team is B does have a certain amount of gray area attached. Also, if not all 8 players(or at least a good 6 of em) agree, then tempers can also flare and people get pissed off.

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Post by alkrav112 »

I have to admit that I was a little upset about that because it put the three best teams *(in my opinion) in the same bracket, and it prevented our team from obtaining a better seeding and getting further into the tournament (granted, we had a bad round and we have nobody to blame but ourselves). If the seedings are done randomly, it throws a wrench into the system to switch the A and B teams just so that the worse team from the school can make the playoffs.

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Post by somerandomguy »

Why are you worried about seeding? If your objective is to prove you're the best team present, shouldn't you be able to beat whoever, regardless of if it's in prelims or playoffs?

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Post by pakman044 »

Just as a reminder, an older thread that is now on archive had a lengthy discussion on this point:

http://www.hsquizbowl.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1375

So everyone can examine that so the same points don't have to be reargued (no reinventing the wheel today!).

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Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

It seems ridiculous that a team would get its difficulty level guessed at a tournament by its name alone. Just seems like you're setting yourself up for that sort of manipulation.

Are high school tournaments really that large that you can't have an "equal" schedule? Are players so obscure that sending in a list of who is on each team is not going to do much?
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Post by PRStoetzer »

After I randomly made the divisions, I separated A and B teams so that two teams from the same school wouldn't play each other in the preliminary rounds and made minor adjustments to the divisions so they would be, in my opinion, of as equal difficulty as possible (I think I only moved one team). However, I did this thinking that the B team would not be their best team. I didn't say that they couldn't do this. In fact, I didn't realize it until I was looking at the scores and individual statistics after the third round. I only have a minor problem with this because it skewed the difficulty of the divisions, although I realize now that my divisions were not of equal difficulty in the first place, despite my efforts.
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Post by NoahMinkCHS »

PRStoetzer wrote:I didn't say that they couldn't do this.
If you didn't say it, it's hard to get overly mad about it. While you, and most everybody else, may "assume" that A is to be better than B, there's no reason that a certain team has to make the same assumption.

I think any tournament that's seeking "balanced" divisions needs to make sure they have a rule for this. (Most, it seems, don't.) Otherwise, pre-seed at your own risk.

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Post by dtaylor4 »

Any team that intentionally stacks their B team with their best players should not be playing. If you put forth two teams, set it up so that the A and B team are of similar strength. I know that at some tournaments if the B team does not move on, then they are allowed to play on their school's A team if the A team moves on to the afternoon.

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Post by Dan Greenstein »

DaGeneral wrote:I know that at some tournaments if the B team does not move on, then they are allowed to play on their school's A team if the A team moves on to the afternoon.
This procedure is generally much more frowned upon than cloaking, sandbagging, etc and is prohibited at most tournaments that I know of. This procedure could be used in the following way: The teams split their strength so both the A and B teams make the playoffs, then for the playoffs the strength is reassembled so the A team can make a strong charge for the championship.

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Post by pakman044 »

Dan Greenstein wrote:
DaGeneral wrote:I know that at some tournaments if the B team does not move on, then they are allowed to play on their school's A team if the A team moves on to the afternoon.
This procedure is generally much more frowned upon than cloaking, sandbagging, etc and is prohibited at most tournaments that I know of. This procedure could be used in the following way: The teams split their strength so both the A and B teams make the playoffs, then for the playoffs the strength is reassembled so the A team can make a strong charge for the championship.
Not just frowned upon, but way on the other side of the line of cheating. Almost every single format I've known of explicitly OR implicitly forbids the practice of mixing team compositions once a player has played for a team at a tournament.

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Post by dtaylor4 »

I don't know if it's cheating or not, but what I don't think should happen is something like what happend last year at a tournament: We faced a B team in the morning, slaughered them, lost a close match in the semis, beat the same school's A team for 3rd, and the school's B team won the whole thing.

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Post by Scipio »

I don't know if it's cheating or not, but what I don't think should happen is something like what happend last year at a tournament: We faced a B team in the morning, slaughered them, lost a close match in the semis, beat the same school's A team for 3rd, and the school's B team won the whole thing.
To people used to the standard logic of high school quizbowl this can seem anomalous: the "B" team is supposed to be the worse theam than the "A" team, and doubtless often such is the case. However, in college cases of a "B" team beating the "A" team from its schools and winning the tournament is not all that uncommon, for reasons which do not derive from cloaking or other malfeasance: sometimes teams have enough talent that they can divide their forces pretty much equally, such that "A" or "B" is almost a meaningless designation. And the reason this is done is not necessarily so that one team will get an easier bracket: it could be that putting all its best players on one squad can result in personality conflicts; sometimes players are split up so that they can score more points and escape the "shadow" effect; sometimes an "A" team will divide itself over two teams to provide anchors for teams introducing new players to tournaments, thus exposing the novices to play at the top level while simultaneously shielding them from slaughter; sometimes they even split up to give the tournament an uncertain outcome, because they are confident that if they played together they would win without difficulty. I have player on divided teams for all of these reasons, as well as some that are more college-specific (an A team split up can ensure more teams for a small field and more packets, for example). So, while the case of a "B" team finishing first while the "A" team finishes fourth is not that uncommon a thing in college, and it can often have nothing to do with foul play; this may happen less often in High School, but I suspect it does on occasion.

Finally, at some tournaments the luck runs hot for some teams and cold for others; maybe the B team, who at most events would be the inferior team, got lucky. Ask a Maryland player what "the Curse" means for further illustrations.
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Post by NoahMinkCHS »

I think Scipio makes some good points that can apply to HS, especially at superior programs like TJ.

While I can understand DaGeneral's complaint -- and he may have a point -- isolated matches aren't always a solid indicator of strength. The best way to see stacking or "cloaking" is in prelim results. For example, if the A team has a worse record and isn't even close in PPG (assuming there's no fluke in their brackets), you've got a problem. But if the teams are fairly even, I don't think that's unfair. And if both teams are fairly even with you (which I assume DaGeneral faced), it may make sense for weird things like that to happen.

Or maybe not.

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Post by dtaylor4 »

In my case, we beat the A and B team pretty badly, but the B team somehow beat one of the best teams in the state that year. We lost in a very close match to them, and somehow a B team beats them.

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Post by quizbowllee »

For what it is worth, I rarely split up my best players. However, when I do, I usually try to give them team names such as Brindlee Mountain Blue and Brindlee Mountain Gold (our school colors) rather than "A" and "B." Or I have "Brindlee Mountain" and "Brindlee Mountain JV" when there are different divisions...

However, sometimes tournaments simply won't allow this.

I consider "A" and "B" to be completely meaningless designations. As long as the tournament director doesn't explicitly say "A" has to be your best team and "B" has to be your weaker team, I say anything goes... But then, most people don't like me .... Go figure.
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Post by dtaylor4 »

From my experience, B teams are primarily made up of extra players on a team. At one tournament (not the one brought up earlier), every year there is something called an "X" team, which is made up of one or two people from different schools. The X team never moves on, but it does give people a chance to play half or all of four games and meet new people.

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Post by STPickrell »

Here's a riddle.

Let's say a school brings nine players to an event. The ninth player agrees to play on "Team X" which is explicitly ineligible for the playoffs.

A team makes the playoffs, B team doesn't.

During the playoffs, the A team loses a member to work committments. Should the player who played on "Team X" be eligible to join the A team for the late-end playoff rounds?
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Post by pakman044 »

No.

Once a player plays on a team, regardless of a playoff eligible on ineligible, they cannot and should not be able to play on another for the remainder of the tournament. This is the price of playing on an X team--you simply won't be able to play in the playoffs.

If that person were allowed to do that, it could just as easily happen that a B team that told the TD that they were going to leave early, had a player decide that (s)he wanted to stay, with the A team subsequently making playoffs. In this scenario, assuming that the player from X team could play on their school's team, the player from the B team would have to be allowed too (in the scenario defined here).

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Post by NoahMinkCHS »

pakman044 wrote:In this scenario, assuming that the player from X team could play on their school's team, the player from the B team would have to be allowed too (in the scenario defined here).
Well...maybe.

I think a tournament probably has a vested interest in making an X team to fill out a division, prevent byes, etc. The team, OTOH, has good reasons both to give up (more playing time) and not give up (lose their production--which, granted, probably wouldn't be all that much) a team member, especially if they risk losing that person for the duration of the playoffs, when they (I assume) know they'll be losing someone off their A team.

I see two solutions -- the team could choose to hang on to its player so he can sub in during the playoffs, and hope someone else fills out the X team (probably the best situation, if feasible)... or the TD can (hopefully with the agreement of all coaches in attendance) make an agreement that allows the player to return.

In the second case, the agreement is an addition to the rules that is mutually agreed upon for the sake of filling out the schedule. It should be very specific and narrow, mainly so it would not allow B teamers to move to A or vice versa (though I can certainly imagine a coach trying to use that reason anyway). I would imagine one would also want to make clear that the "X man" would play on Team A, not Team B, regardless of prelim/playoff outcomes...and, again, make sure the agreement was well-known and approved by all in attendance.

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Post by Gunnells »

quizbowllee wrote:I usually try to give them team names such as Brindlee Mountain Blue and Brindlee Mountain Gold (our school colors) rather than "A" and "B." Or I have "Brindlee Mountain" and "Brindlee Mountain JV" when there are different divisions...

However, sometimes tournaments simply won't allow this.
How often have you encountered a problem with this system? I have already told our returning players that we will enter Norcross Blue and Norcross White in most varsity tournaments next season.

We will be able to put together two solid teams that are very close in ability, and I though that would be easier than dealing with the bruised egos introduced by A and B labels.

My primary concern is how it will be received by tournament directors.

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Post by jrbarry »

At Brookwood, you'll be asked to declare one A and one B with A being your stronger team.

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Post by dtaylor4 »

I like that idea. When signing up for a tourney, those coaches with two (or more) teams need to declare the relative strengths of their teams to make it easier on the TD.

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Post by quizbowllee »

My only problem with that is if the "B" team outperforms the "A" team - which I have seen mine do in the past - will that coach be accused of cheating?

While I KNOW that my A-team is better than my B-team, it is within the realm of possibility that on a given day, on a given set of questions, against a given pool of teams, that my B-team will outscore my A-team.

Also, I have been known (albeit very rarely), to split my "A" team in half and field two strong teams. If I were to do this, I honestly would have no idea which one to call "A" and which to call "B."
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Post by rchschem »

The order of the day is good faith. My B team has occasionally beaten my A team in tournament finals, but both teams know who the better group is on balance. As a TD myself I would only raise an eyebrow if there was a deliberate attempt to deceive, as evidenced by a ridiculuous outperforming of the A team by the B team.

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Post by No Sollositing On Premise »

At UVA's tournament three years ago, we were experimenting with lineups and ended up making the C-team be consisted of myself and the three others that made the TJ B of the past two years. The B-team that day three years ago was made up of some upperclassmen "casual players." We beat them something like 430 to 20; I remember that tournament pretty well because it was the first time that "classic B" (as it was called the all last year) all played together.
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