2016 PACE NSC Preview

Tomorrow, teams will be traveling to Chicago (or more accurately Rosemont, IL) to compete in this year’s NSC. While a smaller tournament than HSNCT, the NSC packs a punch, with most of its 96 teams being some of the best in the nation and Morlan Ranked. The NSC uses a different format than most events, with 20 point powers, no negs, and “bounceback” bonuses (meaning if you miss a bonus part, the other team gets a chance at it). The distribution is also reflective of a college tournament, so less geography, current events, and trash are asked in favor of social sciences and art. This tournament also gives every team a very efficient 15 rounds of quizbowl, playing off every single place. Prelim brackets of 8 feed into afternoon brackets of 6 (so the top 2 move on in the event, the next two compete for 25th, etc.), and lastly three consolation or seven superplayoff games complete the run on Sunday.

Only three PA teams are competing at NSC this year. Once again, the predictions are just for fun:

Manheim Township

Fresh off their 13th place finish at HSNCT, the Blue Streaks seek to improve on their 34th place finish last year at NSC. I don’t see the format change really hurting or helping them all that much, so they should make another good run. We’ll see if senior Jake can relay his lit knowledge into another great performance, if Aaron Zuo can come up back to the “A” team and make noise at his last tournament, and if Ahan, Shayar, and Garret score with numbers that indicate they’ll stay at the top next year. Their stats were a little bit below comparable T13 teams at HSNCT, so I’d expect a finish in the 20th-30th range.

Delaware Valley

DV did not play this past HSNCT. The lack of negs and bouncebacks are going to really help them out. Though they’ll still feed the other team the answer with a wrong buzz, those lack of -5s will add 10-15 points a game, and they will benefit from Drake’s arts knowledge. This team’s high bonus conversion at regular difficulty suggests they’ll scale up to nationals; however, even really good teams finish in the middle of the pack at this elite field, and many other teams will be warmed up from last week. I’d predict Delaware Valley’s Warriors finish somewhere around 45th-55th, but anything between 30 and 70 wouldn’t particularly shock me.

Great Valley

Great Valley finished T77 at HSNCT. This is another team that had a tendency to neg this season, so again, the format helps them. Though a good team all around, I’m unsure how well they’ll adapt to the high amounts of fine art and RMPSS in this set. Hopefully this is a good send off for Deakon and continued buildup for more down the road. I’d give the GV Patriots a floor of 75th and a ceiling of 50th, with a finish in the low 50s or 60s the most likely outcome.

-Ben Herman

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