Four members of Woodland High School at a table with buzzers.

2022 PACE NSC Preview and Simulation

Hello! It’s finally the time of year to crown the PACE NSC National Champion. The competition will feature 72 teams; 71 from across the United States and another traveling all the way from Singapore. With so many teams and so much quizbowl to be played, it’s time to break the tournament down group-by-group.

But first, let’s discuss the tournament format. The 72 teams will be whittled down to 24 after the conclusion of the preliminary rounds, which will the be further reduced to 8 teams after the Saturday afternoon playoff. The final 8 teams will duke it out over the Sunday morning rounds to determine the PACE NSC National Champion.

Thanks to our friends at GrogerRanks, I was able to simulate the PACE NSC 100,000 times to determine the probability that each team advances to a certain phase of the tournament. For teams that did not have an available GrogerRank, one was interpolated based on results and statistics from competitions this year.

Group A

Group A is headlined by 2022 HSNCT champion Detroit Catholic Central A, who are joined by other perennial contenders Stevenson A and Chattahoochee A. Also joining them is Sagittarius, who entered the field as a standby team on Friday. The favorites out of the group are Detroit Catholic Central A, who my model gives a 1.3% chance to win the tournament and take the double on the season. Chattahoochee and Stevenson will likely be battling for the second Tier I spot, but Sagittarius has an outside chance to make a run.

Group B

Group B features Great Valley from Pennsylvania and Richard Montgomery A from Maryland as the favorites, both with decent shots at making top bracket, but who are unlikely to win the title per the model. Waukee Northwest from Iowa is also in this group and will making their NSC debut this weekend, after taking runner-up for the Iowa state title.

Group C

The top dogs in Group C are Solon from Ohio and my alma mater, Wayzata A of Minnesota. Both teams had solid runs at HSNCT and have teams with multiple younger players on their rosters so both of these teams, while not title contenders this year, could see this as a practice run for the 2023 NSC. Singapore’s Legation School are also in Group C, and are the only non-American team in the field.

Group D

Group D features HSNCT runner up Hunter A as well as Belmont from Massachusetts and Rockford Auburn A who have assembled a quality team and look to return back to the top bracket of NSC. Hunter A enters the tournament as one of the teams with the best chances to take the title at 8.31%. Although they did lose most of their scoring from their 2021 runner-up performance at NSC, Hunter will surely be looking to make another run for the title.

Group E

2021 HSNCT Champions Barrington A highlight Group E with a 95% chance of making it out of prelims into tier I. College Heights Christian, who are making their NSC debut in 2022 are the other favorites to advance out of the prelims into Tier I. Group E also features one of six(!) Thomas Jefferson teams that are at PACE NSC this weekend.

Group F

Three-time defending NSC Champions Thomas Jefferson A are in Group F, where the model says they have a 62.12% chance of winning the title, by far the highest in the field. It does seem like it will be TJ and everyone else purely based on the metrics. That being said, the battle for the second Tier I slot in Group F is rather intense, featuring 2022 SSNCT Champions Glasgow and Manheim Township, who had an impressive 24th place finish at HSNCT. Pay particular attention to this game, as it should be a good one.

Group G

Group G features Beavercreek, who have turned into a perennial contender at recent NSCs. Hoover A from Alabama are also in Group G, where they will be looking to build on a solid run to 10th place at HSNCT two weeks ago.

Group H

Group H features one of the tournament’s favorites, Kinkaid, who have a 5.8% chance to take the title alongside TJ B, who, while they might not be battling for the title last year, has players who will likely be featured on future incarnations of TJ’s A team. TJ B definitely has the ability to be a dark horse as the tournament progresses, with the tournament giving them a 23% chance of making the top bracket, despite being a farm team!

Group I

Group I is one of the less competitive groups per the predictions with University Lab and Strake Jesuit the favorites to advance. This group does feature three different teams from Illinois, who despite being in the same state, all play in different circuits.

Group J

Group J is another wide open group at this year’s NSC. While favorites Lambert will be looking to improve on their 15th place finish at HSNCT, High Tech and White Station will be locked in a battle to see who will be joining Lambert in the Tier I playoff pools.

Group K

Group K features Mira Loma and IMSA A as the group favorites alongside Wayzata B, the team I played for at the 2019 PACE NSC :). Calloway County are making their NSC debuts and will have their work cut out for them battling it out with many established programs in their preliminary group.

Group L

Group L has favorites Detroit Country Day who have around a 45% chance to make it into the top bracket, joined by Ridgewood who are returning to PACE NSC for the fist time since 2014! Iowa state champions Waukee will be joining Waukee Northwest in Iowa’s return to NSC as this is the first time Waukee has sent a team to the tournament since 2014. Lastly, I would like to extend an apology to Clayton, who I mistakenly gave the Kentucky flag on my preliminary group brackets. They are in fact from the great state of Missouri, and have a 25% chance to make it out of prelims into Tier I.

That just about sums up the tournament preview. There are lots of great games of quizbowl to be played over the weekend and I cannot wait to see what upsets and triumphs the 2022 edition of PACE NSC has in store. I’ll be liveblogging the tournament on Twitter at @PACENSC_BW and you can follow live scores for all the games on the Live Stats page. We hope all you reading have a great time this weekend playing, coaching, spectating, and following the 2022 PACE NSC as we determine the national champion in high school quizbowl.