UCLA Takes NCAA Title

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mbaywaterpolo
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UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby mbaywaterpolo » Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:10 am

9-8 over USC...incredible to see that streak broken. Danny McClintick with four huge goals for the Bruins.

Looking ahead to next year, without knowing anything about recruiting classes, I think USC has a great shot and coming back next year and winning. Their team youth this year was incredible. So many freshmen on that team. Will be hard to replace the Greek though...

oneeyeddeacon
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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby oneeyeddeacon » Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:17 am

Glad to see someone other than usc take the title. Ucla came dangerously close to blowing it though.

I think any prediction at this point is a bit meaningless. You can't really assume a team will do well if they don't lose anybody, just like how you can't assume a team will do badly if they lose a lot of seniors. All of the top 4 teams can beat each other, and their games usually tend to be close. Usc could've been easily looking at a 7th championship this year, just like how an unlucky bounce by lbsu allowed usc to even be in the tournament.

On another note, Bret Bonanni managed to stat pad his way to 96 goals this season, putting him 66 shy of Azevedo's record. Glad to see that keeping him in the last 4 minutes of the 4th quarter to score 3 goals helped with that.

stats
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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby stats » Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:00 pm

It was really nice to have someone else win it for a change. UCLA deserved it... not only McClintick but also that 2m rocket from Marshall was big. And they had the better goal-keeper on the day.

That said, USC sure brought it, given the incredible roster turnover last summer. (The reason for which is still unclear to me.) They have no reason to hang their heads.

Agree it is impossible to predict too carefully for next year, but among the top four Cal has shown, for the last several years, that they can have some of the best talent yet still consistently finish clearly behind the best. OUP is bringing some guns back from redshirting, too, and might break into the top5?

Still a bit disappointed that LBSU couldn't be in the tourney, as they too were deserving. For me, they were the "feel good" story of the year.

2meterman
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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby 2meterman » Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:48 pm

Its time for some major changes in college water polo. The NCCA championship tournament needs to be ovehauled. In no other sport is a Division III team competing ( I used that word lightly) with top Division I teams for a national championship. How is it fair to the many strong teams each year that are excluded from the opportunity to play for a national title such as Cal, Long Beach, UCSB, etc. to allow a small D3 team to participate--that has zero chance of winning the national championship or for that matter even a single game in the playoffs? Its ridiculous and makes for watching really lopsided and boring water polo matches. (Even UCSD, the highly ranked WWPA champion got thumped badly by UCLA and Stanford). How is that helping the sport and its reputation grow at the collegiate level when one or two of the teams to go to the NCAA tournament gets slaughtered every year? It would be fairer in my opinion for the regular season to end a week or two early and have a "sweet sixteen" or "elite eight" style tournament. And, to make the conferences more competitive and balanced with each other, how about moving a few teams out of the MPSF and into WWPA? or creating new conferences altogether? That would probably help teams like long beach, santa barbara and cal which are better than 96% of the competition, get to the NCAA tournament. The stronger the non-MPSF conferences become , the better talent the colleges in those conferences will be able to recruit. And with that, teams become more competitive and with increased success and eventual big upsets and wins, will come greater development and support of the vast majority of collegiate programs that currently aren't able to compete with the top teams.

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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby sidelineview » Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:51 pm

I understand your reasons for dissatisfaction, but there is a bit of reality that needs to be considered...

Water polo is not the only NCAA sport that has one championship where all divisions must compete:
Bowling
Fencing
Gymnastics (both genders)
Rifle
Skiing
Water Polo (both genders)

And then also consider that men's rowing isn't even sanctioned by the NCAA - even though there are far more men's rowing teams (approx. 179; all divisions) than there are NCAA men's water polo teams (approx. 44).

And before anyone dumps on the other listed sports - consider what they all have in common...low number of participating schools (in comparison to the multi-division sports)

So like it or not, water polo is on the same level as bowling and fencing. Without more teams, the NCAA is not going to fund multi-divisions...so until that happens, you have to provide automatic bids for the smaller division schools, otherwise they will lose their incentive to field a water polo at all...then it's over, plain and simple. I'm sure Doc has a lot more to say about this than I do...

As for breaking up the MPSF teams...the Pac-12 ADs and presidents will not allow their schools to become members of separate conferences; they are going to demand that they compete against each other - with something at stake (e.g., a conference championship).

mbaywaterpolo
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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby mbaywaterpolo » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:13 pm

IMO the best solution currently is to expand the NCAA field to 8 teams from the current 6. You could make the extra bids one MPSF and the 2nd place WWPA team, or two MPSF teams. I don't think it matters a lot whether the first round/play-in games are blowouts, but having a noncompetitive game in the semi-final is wrong.

Last time I brought this up it was said the NCAA would not fund this, which I understand. But it's more realistic than conference switches or funding another division's championship.

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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby ephpolo » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:18 pm

I don't think you can measure the quality of the tournament by whether or not there are some blow out games. I may be wrong, but I think the MPSF tournament saw some bigger blow outs than the NCAA's this year. (I mean geez, those USC guys shouldn't even be in the same pool as quality teams like UCLA and Stanford-what a pair of stinkers! ;-) )

As the tournament gets bigger and in the first round you have the #1 seed playing the #8 or #16 seed, you're going to see the same kinds of blowouts you do in the early rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament.

There should be more teams in the tournament, and if the NCAA won't sponsor a DII/III national tournament, maybe CWPA would be up for the task.

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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby gametime » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:30 pm

I'm all for making a few changes. One change that I would like to see is setting roster limitations, though I am not sure how realistic that is? I am just sick of seeing such talented players redshirt, then ride the bench for a season or two before disappearing from the sport (not to pick on SC, but they had a lot of young talent on their roster last year who left). Go back and look at the players over the years that were highly recruited out of high school that went to the big four, and see how many of them ended up quitting or never really contributing at all. I just wish that teams weren't allowed to hoard all the American talent, then go out and get 4 Euro All Stars who take all the minutes. I have no problem with European players coming to the states to play, just set a limit on how big your roster can be so we spread the wealth.

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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby OLuwaterpolo » Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:44 am

Make the MPSF tournament the National Championship tournament and invite the winners of the CWPA, WWPA and SCIAC to be the #10, #11 and #12 seeds in the tournament.

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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby 2meterman » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:59 am

gametime wrote:I'm all for making a few changes. One change that I would like to see is setting roster limitations, though I am not sure how realistic that is? I am just sick of seeing such talented players redshirt, then ride the bench for a season or two before disappearing from the sport (not to pick on SC, but they had a lot of young talent on their roster last year who left). Go back and look at the players over the years that were highly recruited out of high school that went to the big four, and see how many of them ended up quitting or never really contributing at all. I just wish that teams weren't allowed to hoard all the American talent, then go out and get 4 Euro All Stars who take all the minutes. I have no problem with European players coming to the states to play, just set a limit on how big your roster can be so we spread the wealth.


I agree. I would like to see how the perennial powerhouse teams would fare with a roster of only American players and the Euro stars playing for the other colleges. How good would USC and others really be without have great European players in the lineup year in and year out? Perhaps just as good or maybe not. Maybe the NCAA should experiment with a national lottery system each year for foreign "students" to enter that want to play water polo in the USA. Have a national committee of top college coaches designate each year the top 40 foreign players and then by random lottery picks the top 20 ranked teams take turns selecting foreign players. If the student athlete does not want to attend the university that selected him then he can go to the school of his choosing but must redshirt for at least one year. Something like this needs to be considered to achieve greater parity amongst teams and to give US athletes more of an opportunity to play rather than ride the pine behind "hired gun" national team stars from the Europe, Russia or Australia.

2meterman
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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby 2meterman » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:09 am

sidelineview wrote:I understand your reasons for dissatisfaction, but there is a bit of reality that needs to be considered...

Water polo is not the only NCAA sport that has one championship where all divisions must compete:
Bowling
Fencing
Gymnastics (both genders)
Rifle
Skiing
Water Polo (both genders)

And then also consider that men's rowing isn't even sanctioned by the NCAA - even though there are far more men's rowing teams (approx. 179; all divisions) than there are NCAA men's water polo teams (approx. 44).

And before anyone dumps on the other listed sports - consider what they all have in common...low number of participating schools (in comparison to the multi-division sports)

So like it or not, water polo is on the same level as bowling and fencing. Without more teams, the NCAA is not going to fund multi-divisions...so until that happens, you have to provide automatic bids for the smaller division schools, otherwise they will lose their incentive to field a water polo at all...then it's over, plain and simple. I'm sure Doc has a lot more to say about this than I do...

As for breaking up the MPSF teams...the Pac-12 ADs and presidents will not allow their schools to become members of separate conferences; they are going to demand that they compete against each other - with something at stake (e.g., a conference championship).


Are there really Division I college bowling teams with scholarship athletes? Learn something new every day!

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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby ephpolo » Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:56 am

2meterman wrote: Have a national committee of top college coaches designate each year the top 40 foreign players and then by random lottery picks the top 20 ranked teams take turns selecting foreign players. If the student athlete does not want to attend the university that selected him then he can go to the school of his choosing but must redshirt for at least one year.


As a freedom-loving American, I prefer letting people make their own choices about college.

"Hey kid, I know you want to go to a big university in California, but we've decided you'd be better off at Bucknell."

Imagine the gamesmanship by the coaches on the committee making the assignments!

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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby Swearengen » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:17 pm

This is the issue. How is it possible in the US to say to someone you can't go to this college or that, even someone from a foreign country. We typically don't place these types of restrictions on people in this country.
What coaches need to do is agree to do something for the betterment and health of the sport, like baseball did with their scholarship agreements.
We need roster limits and a limit on the number of foreign players per team. There is a reason why the European leagues do this. We are hindering the development of American players and allowing the same teams to compete for the championship every year with the current system that we have. Congrats to UCLA and to USC for an amazing performance, but it's a little boring that only 4 or 5 teams have a legit chance to win every year. We need more equality for all! Look at Long Beach. They will look at their season as a tremendous success, which it was, but realistically that's about the best they can do unless they load up their roster with foreign players. It's sad that the best a school can do is to just come close to making the NCAA tournament. They should be able to have a chance to win. Why not???
Look at the best model for us to follow in the US - the successful professional leagues of baseball, football, and basketball. They took measures to try and make it possible for more teams to compete. The result is exciting, interesting playoffs and championships every year. Because of the salary cap!
We need to do the same and have roster size and foreign player limits. This will force coaches to make decisions about who to take, rather than just taking everyone so that they don't go somewhere else, on the off chance that they will pan out. Most end up quitting the sport because they'll never play, especially with foreign players dropped on top of them! 2 foreigners per team, max. that's it! 25 players per team, max. that's it!
This of course will raise the question of what happens to a school like St. Francis which is so heavily dependent on foreign players. I don't have the answer for that. I would not like to see them eliminated, that is for sure. I guess they would just have to abide by the rules like everyone else.

Al
"I'm declaring myself conductor of this meeting as I have the bribe sheet." - Al Swearengen

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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby mbaywaterpolo » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:28 pm

ephpolo wrote:
2meterman wrote: Have a national committee of top college coaches designate each year the top 40 foreign players and then by random lottery picks the top 20 ranked teams take turns selecting foreign players. If the student athlete does not want to attend the university that selected him then he can go to the school of his choosing but must redshirt for at least one year.


As a freedom-loving American, I prefer letting people make their own choices about college.

"Hey kid, I know you want to go to a big university in California, but we've decided you'd be better off at Bucknell."

Imagine the gamesmanship by the coaches on the committee making the assignments!


This same argument could be made for American players against roster limitations...if a kid wants to go to a big university in California he knows the risks and potential of being out of the sport in a year or two. If his priority was getting a chance to play he would have headed to the WWPA or the east coast, not the MPSF. That likely means that big California school is a place he WANTS to go to. Why tell these players it's "small school and play or big school and don't play"? Let them go where they want and play where they want.

Limitations on Euro players is a different conversation. In my opinion completely banning would be a mistake, there should simply be a limit of maybe 4-5 foreigners per roster. Enough to raise the level of competition without completing shutting out home-grown talent.

I know that being against roster size limitations is unpopular around here but I feel that until there are more varsity programs at large schools in other states (like U Michigan, U Texas, etc) it's not fair to push kids into smaller schools to play.

ephpolo
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Re: UCLA Takes NCAA Title

Postby ephpolo » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:55 pm

Go back and read Doru's article. Except for St. Francis--which has a long standing mission and tradition of serving immigrants, and generally a majority of its players from Europe--a limit of 4 or 5 players would only open up a couple of spots on US rosters. Currently, nobody else has more than 6 foreigners, and only 5 teams have more than 4.

Let's be clear about what problem you want to fix. I've heard two concrete complaints--that some of the NCAA tournament games were blow outs, and that some quality teams who might have been competitive didn't get a chance to play in the NCAA tournament. As I said earlier, I don't think you can eliminate blow-out games. And the solution to quality teams that don't get to play is a bigger tournament. There are lots of ways you could get that, but the easiest would be to move to two weekends on which each team plays two games. That would be a 16 team tournament. We should probably make that a goal, and start by expanding to eight teams.

And lets get creative about creating more opportunity for high school and college students to play competitive water polo at every skill level. Right now, there is little if any incentive for a school to move its club program to a Division II or III program. If anything, there is better infrastructure, especially for post-season play, if you stay a club.

Finally, let's be honest about why the MPSF dominates the game. I'm not sure I understand all the factors, but here are some key ones: (1) Tradition. Each of these schools has been a water polo powerhouse for years and years. (2) California. I wish this were not true, but California remains the source of the great majority of college players. We shouldn't be surprised many of them want to go to CA schools. (3) The MPSF schools, especially the big 4, are all fantastic academic institutions. This gives them a huge recruiting advantage, especially for local CA kids, who get instate tuition at the schools that are public.

In the spirit of Jonathan Swift's "modest proposal", rather than limiting opportunity for college students, let's move the best coaches around. How about a rule that states no coach can stay at the same institution for more than 5 years in a row of winning seasons? (And that fifth year only happens if the coach red-shirts and takes a season off.) After year 5, a coach needs to move to another institution at least 500 miles away. Maybe making Vavic, Wright or Vargas move to Princeton or Bucknell or Fordham would help build the sport in the East. :lol:

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