Thursday, August 09, 2012

Charlotte Bonspiel Preview

For those of you who don't care, sorry for all the curling talk. But you see, we're curling once again this weekend!

The main reason we signed up for Charlotte's inaugural "Grits 'n Granite Bonspiel" this coming weekend, the weekend immediately after the Carolina Classic, was as sort of a "backup" in case we lost both the Classic lottery and the Debbie McCormick auction. Well, we made it into the Classic after all, but we figured we might as well still curl in Charlotte anyway! I mean, this is the inaugural event we're talking about. And this way, we get to complete the "Carolina Triple", curling in all three North Carolina summer bonspiels - Wilmington, Raleigh, and Charlotte. (Justin and Tabby also complete the Triple this weekend, although we curled on separate teams in Wilmington. Chris J. and Kalon S. are other Triangle curlers who are completing the Triple this weekend. A couple of curlers from the Charlotte and Wilmington clubs are, too.)

Our team will be the same as last week, minus Debbie, plus Amber and Tabby in every game instead of alternating. I'll be playing Vice, which I think suits me best. This will be Justin's first ever bonspiel as Skip.

As always, we're sure to have a good time, regardless of how well we do. And, we're getting a babysitter this time, which will help a ton. But I have a hard time relaying "how much fun we'll have" into a blog post, so instead, I'll devote a few paragraphs to detailed tournament analysis! How well should we expect to curl? What's our easiest route to the final draw?

(Begin detailed tournament analysis)

It's a lot harder for me to handicap the field here than it was at the Classic, because about half of the 24 team field, I'm unfamiliar with. For example, there are three teams from Indianapolis (not sure I've ever been to a bonspiel where anyone from Indianapolis was present), plus a team from Mankato (you'd think that a team from Minnesota would be pretty good, no?), two from Ontario, and many other curlers I've never met or anything. But based on my initial analysis, it's likely we won't play any of those guys, because they're all on the other side of the bracket. Most likely, here's what I think will happen.

(Oh, right: team rosters, full draw. I forgot to send the bonspiel coordinators our updated order, so it still says I'm the Skip.)

Our first opponent (a team from Plainfield, NJ) is good will probably beat us; I give us a 20% chance in Game 1. It would be about 5% if we were playing on dedicated curling ice, but at an arena club bonspiel, especially an inaugural arena club bonspiel, ice conditions are always going to be a wild card.

Assuming we do lose Game 1, then Games 2 and 3 would both be against teams that a) I know from past bonspiels, and b) I think we can at least have a competitive game against. I think we have an 80% chance of winning at least one of our first three games (slightly less than coin flip odds, which would be 87.5%). Anything but an 0-3 start would guarantee us a fourth game, and maybe more if we keep on winning. One potential path through the brackets would give us seven games (including three on Saturday).

However, if my Game 1 assessment is wrong and we do in fact open the weekend with a victory, then Game 2 would be against...Debbie McCormick! Wouldn't that be fun?

(I had written a long paragraph here with REALLY detailed bracket analysis, but it ended up being a little too much. Suffice to say, our easiest route to the final draw is actually if we lose our first two games and end up in the 4th event, which is completely different than the Classic 4th event.)

I've had a pretty good record in the first two legs of the Carolina Triple, winning the overall title in Wilmington, and the 4th event at the Classic. However, the the third and final leg will be the toughest of the three. Not only do we not have Debbie on our side this weekend, but we lose home ice advantage; also, the Grits n' Granite field is deeper than the Wilmington Beachspiel field (where literally half the teams were Triangle teams). Can we do it?

(End detailed tournament analysis)

If you're going, see you there! If not, then enjoy your weekend off!

(Note: I'm going straight from Charlotte to Tampa after the bonspiel for work and won't be back until Wednesday, so it might take a few days for me to post the recap. In the meantime, there's always Twitter!)

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