State Rankings during the Legends Era - Part 4

April 22, 2021


The first part of the methodology for my rankings is actually relatively simple. The most important factor that led to where nearly all of the states ended up in the rankings is their placement percentage. That is to say, the percentage of competitions where teams from that state placed. Usually (and in all Legends Partner competitions, BA Bid competitions, and BA Wildcard competitions), placing is considered being in the Top 3. In some other competitions where there are fewer than 8 teams competing, there can be 2 teams (for 5 or 6 team competitions) or even only 1 team (for 4 team competitions) that place and in those situations only those few teams are counted as having placed. The easiest way to think about it is if that team heard their name called at the end of the competition and walked away with a trophy on their cabinet and/or extra money in their team’s Venmo account then that is considered “placing.”

After that comes a very important distinction, particularly for someone with a statistics background like me. To be considered for the “proper” rankings, a state must have teams that competed in at least 5 competitions during the Legends era. This is honestly a relatively low threshold, but I took the lowest possible competition number (assuming a team competed each year) during the Legends era of 1 competition per year which was 4 competitions and picked the lowest whole number greater than that. Basically the “5” ensures that a team is doing more than the least possible amount of work annually to be counted. The second distinction to ensure that a state can be considered for the “proper” rankings is to ensure that greater than 80% of their overall competitions have total placement information available for them. The “80%” is actually picked for a very similar reason as the 5 competitions. Assuming the absolute minimum that I just allowed, 5 competitions, if 80% of those competitions have full information, then that means we only have information for the team for 4 competitions and then we go back to the above argument of doing the absolute least to be considered, which is why to be considered, states must have full placement information for greater than that 80%.

That being said, any state that had a team place in at least 1 competition still remained ahead of all of the states that have 0 placements regardless of their lack of competitions attended or competitions with enough information. This is simply because if they have placed at even 1 competition, no matter when they eventually reach the proper number or percentage of competitions, they will be ahead of the 0 placement states. However, due to their lack of competitions or information for their competitions, they remain below any state that has a sufficient number of competitions that has placed at least once regardless of whether their placement percentage is higher or not.

While placement percentage is the primary factor in determining a state’s spot in the rankings, if necessary, there is also a tiebreaker. The tiebreaker is the mean placement in a competition for all of the teams in the state where there is full information available. So, for example, if a state had teams that placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th in their 5 competitions their mean placement would be 3. If a state had 6 competitions with the same 5 placings as before and had no placement information in their last competition, the missing value would be ignored, and their mean placement would remain 3. It must be stated that this tiebreaker only ended up being used for the 0 placement states or the states without sufficient competitions as all other states had distinct placement percentages.

If placement percentage was equal, mean placement was equal, and all other tiebreakers (none of which ended up being used so I will not go into long, boring detail about them) ended up completely equal, then the states ended up tied. This only occurred for the 0 placement states that did not have full placement information at any of the attended competitions.

After that, it was just ordering everything into the proper rankings and adding a creative blurb under each ranking to make people actually want to read about this. Hope you enjoyed!

About the Author:

Akshay Luthra is a senior at the University of Michigan. He was on Michigan Manzil for 2 years (if you count pandemic years) and was a Competition Logistics Chair. He got really into DDN after making it on his team and that's why he decided to write about it. If you have any questions about the articles or him, his email address is!

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