Photo by Bob Durling – Ultiphotos.com
Throw of the Weak … No breaks, No Mercy … Tables Not Benches … Unforced Errors … No Breaks … New Angles … Opposition Research … Keep it on the Field … Crossfield Passing … Differential Tables … Wrong-footing … Correct Handing … Game of Offensive Chicken … Check in on the Picks … Battle for the East …
Short Sips of Hot Bitter Blackness. A hint of far-off stone-fruit sweetness. A smoky thickness lingers from the roast.
Now that you’ve seen that moment, we’ll dive into some break and hold numbers. The first bit will look at how each team does by quarter. The second will look at how the opponents of each team perform. As so often happens, the best start is a look at the basics in table form:
Why is this in the “hot bitter blackness” section? Vancouver has zero breaks in the first quarter. That is 60 minutes of ultimate without a single break. Which leads into this clip which shows a big chance for Vancouver to go up for the second time in 240 minutes of play… Drop. Which illustrates the largest problems for both of our bottom-ranked teams: Unforced errors. And not just unforced errors, but poorly timed unforced errors at that. Going up 1-0 with a break is not a guarantee of victory, but it is a step in the right direction and a statement that the opponent must be on notice.
A few things to notice as your eyes wash over the chart:
Tastes good so far. Future health consequences are sticky.
It seems like just a failed bid, but the accomplishment of forcing the Rainmakers to start all the way down the field rather than where the disc originally went out of bounds is a worthy victory. In this case, it nearly results in a Callahan and does result in a short-field goal for the Nighthawks.
From 8:09 in the first quarter through 5:13 in the second of Portland vs. San Francisco (13:22 in game time) there were 18 consecutive holds.
After this, the Spinners don’t really slow down on the way to the end zone, with an eventual goal to Baer. The quick change of the angle of attack is the precisely the sort of boon which, like an #ultrafresh IPA, turns into dirty malt-water if you wait too long to enjoy.
Ah, the core of the non-vegan breakfast. Boiled. Scrambled. Poached. Fried. Loco Moco’d.
Let’s dive back into some numbers. This time for the *opponents* of each team:
Things to notice:
– Portland (3.0) and Philly (3.2) are the only teams to concede fewer than four breaks per game.
– Vancouver is the only team to concede more breaks than holds.
– Portland concedes less than a break in every quarter.
– Philly, Portland and Boston are the only three teams who hold their opponents under five goals for each quarter.
As is my wont, I want to dive more deeply into this with words, but the question of differential over quarters and the like is more compelling. Below is a list of the differential for each team in terms of holds and breaks per quarter:
Things to notice:
– Boston is the only team which, on average, does not lose a quarter with respect to breaks or holds.
– Vancouver is the only team which loses, on average, all quarters by breaks (and only wins one quarter by a .2 margin while tying the other).
– New York and Vancouver both lose the opening quarter by over three points (the only teams to lose any quarters by as much).
Veggies? Fruits? Yogurts?
Something light and possibly a positive decision.
The best way to beat Woodside?
Definitely a thumbs up for keeping with ultimate culture by throwing the same pass again.
Waffles or Pancakes?
Choose… but choose wisely.
Another week, another perfect pick. This time it was Statmaster Luke with the 25-15 perfect call on Spinners vs. Rumble. This leaves the standings at:
Total Variance = Lower is better (“Total Variance From Actual Values”)
If you’ll take note, I am no longer in the basement with Poster. Not even in the proto-basement which Poster and Paul moved into together. Nope. I’m tied for second place with four other valiant prognosticators at 17-3. I lag behind only Luke and Tim in terms of perfect picks in that tranche. To that end, Curb’s top-notch picks in terms of wins and losses are still the second-worst w/r/t overall accuracy, trailing only Mistah Ruby.
Now, I shouldn’t tell you how to meta-wager on these game pickers, but I’ll bet that betting on this group would have a higher variance than betting on the actual games themselves. If gambling were legal. Which it is not.
Las Vegas Ultimate? Yes please.
Looking at this weekend’s picks, everyone has picked San Francisco over New York, while Luke, Ruby and I picked Boston over Philly while the rest of the group has picked Philly to go to 6-0. That, as far as the picks of record are concerned, is the game to watch.
Beverage of Choice
Players or matchups to watch.
New Tests for Proven Veterans
While we’ll get a look at East vs. West next week too, this is the first chance we’ll get to see a few of the league’s brightest stars play against new teams. The obvious players to watch this week are Gabe Saunkeah (who has been a star in ultimate since his Cal days) and Marques Brownlee (who is still coming into his own on the national stage). What resistance will their new opponents provide? Which old tricks will work on new prey?
Who Blinks First?
The battle for the East commences this weekend in Boston between the Spinners and the Whitecaps. My expectation is that the teams will be difficult to stop on offense, and hard pressed to score on defense. So, the game may well come down to which offense blinks and grants the opposition extra opportunities early on. Look to the handler sets for both teams to see how the game will play out. Philadelphia, last week, was missing Panna and Hirannet and, while it did not cost them the game, it did cause some disorder in their backfield motion.
For this weekend, Boston is missing a host of players and will need to adjust accordingly. If they are successful, the ‘Caps will keep rolling on offense. If they fail, the Spinners will be gifted the first steps on the way to a victory.
The Place to Be
Boston, Philly. Philly, Boston.
This is the matchup in the East. There is no better place to be, save maybe traveling to the yay area (thanks E-40), to see what happens when two sides of the continent collide. Stop Plate Tectonics, kids. I’m going to the great northeast to see who wants to stand up and be counted among the early leaders. I’ll be on the color call with Mr. Poster as the play-by-play. Looking forward to it, but not so much the bus ride back to Philly with the Spinners. Not because of the Spinners, but because of the bus. And possibly the ride.
Anyway. Point is: The game in the East will either give Philly the season series or will tie both teams at 5-1, only awaiting the rubber match June 4 in Philly to determine the winner.