Drawing - when it matters and when it doesn't

This first by the #’s addresses the misguided notion that draws don’t matter.

This is a #’s driven blog, and I will get to the #’s associated with the Journeymen Fall Classic coming up this weekend, but I think that it’s important to start off with an idea that we tell ourselves, but isn’t necessarily true. That idea is “I’m the tough draw” or “draws don’t matter.” I have used them interchangeably because for the past several years I have heard them used on Twitter and on gym floors interchangeably.

First - they are two different ideas. The first, “I’m the tough draw” or “I’m the bad draw,” is a great mindset to have. It is the belief that you are the best in the tournament and that, no matter what, you will prevail. You may have to beat the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best man or woman to be on the top step, but at the end of the day … you will be there. We should never rob ourselves of this idea. It’s important that we believe we are the best and can beat any other person in the bracket. But …

Second - “draws don’t matter” is categorically false. In statistics there’s a simple idea of “regression to the mean.” Basically, it means that probability will win out in the end and that there might be anomalies where the best person doesn’t win, but ultimately if you have enough data points the best person in the weight class will win “more times than not.”

Let’s take the latest results from Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan (the country) finished 2nd in Men’s Freestyle at the 2019 World Championships (after not finishing among the top 10 in previous years). One could (and many have) argued that they had very favorable draws. If you take the mindset that “I’m the tough draw,” that would matter little and one could argue that each of their wrestlers performed better than expected. The other argument is that they received “favorable” draws and, as a result, were given opportunities that they would not otherwise have had.

Let’s now extend this idea and make it “real” in looking at 74kg weight class. If “I’m the tough draw” or “draws don’t matter,” then we could put Sidakov (who finished 1st), Chamizo (2nd), Burroughs (3rd), and Khadjiev (3rd) into the same quarter of the bracket. It might not interfere with who was 1st, but it most certainly would impact who finished 2nd, 3rd, etc. Given the current repechage system it would have eliminated two of the those four before they could “medal.” As a result, draws do matter and may impact the overall team score or team race. They might also eliminate the “better” wrestlers earlier, if the brackets are not drawn appropriately.

So what in the world does this have to do with the Journeyman Fall Classic coming up this weekend?

2 things …

  1. We are about to list the accolades of the different wrestlers. It is important to note that while not every accolade or ranking is important in drawing the bracket, it can matter as illustrated above. In a single instance - it doesn’t mean that a “State Placer from NY” won’t knock off a “World Team Member.” It just means that those accolades help to separate some of the talent so you get the best wrestlers in the finals.

  2. The Journeymen Fall Classic does an excellent job of putting the “top” wrestlers into pools or a round robin format that helps to decide the best in the weight. It is done very differently than your average tournament, a state tournament or even the World Championships. If you haven’t previously paid attention to it, please follow it this weekend. You might develop a better appreciation for the different types of methods (tournaments) used.

And now onto the #’s …

There are 330 wrestlers registered for the Journeymen Fall Classic

  • 2 are Cadet World Team Members

  • 4 are UWW Cadet All Americans

  • 3 are UWW Cadet Placers

  • 3 are Super 32 Placers

  • 5 are Fargo Junior Freestyle All Americans

  • 2 are Fargo Cadet Freestyle National Champions

  • 5 are Fargo Cadet Freestyle All Americans

  • 1 is a FloNationals Champion

  • 5 are FloNationals Placers

  • 2 are Junior NHSCA National Champions

  • 14 are Junior NHSCA All Americans

  • 2 are Sophomore NHSCA National Champions

  • 18 are Sophomore NHSCA All Americans

  • 3 are Ironman Placers

And the list could go on. Are there “too many” opportunities for someone to be an “All American” or a “National Champion”? Maybe… but that’s a topic for another post.

The Journeymen Fall Classic is one of the best “pre-season” tournaments of the year. As a fan you should just kick back and watch some of the best of the next generation compete.