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Court Requirements and Game Format

We need to hammer out what the court requirements for the 2014 season are going to look like. This discussion is going to have to include the tournament planning committee and the people in charge of regulating this sort of thing, but Tiff from Lex brought up a good point in that we have hashed out a length, width and goal size but have not specified the height of the walls, or even that there must be walls, etc… Should we dictate 4 ft boards all around? Should we dictate curved or banked corners? Keep in mind that this could make it hard for regions to participate in NAH tournaments or create a hassle that may be a bit unnecessary. Or maybe it’s something that needs to be done to create uniform competition across the qualifiers. Maybe it’s not even such a big deal anymore to begin to require it.

Also, let's talk about implementing standard time limits for games depending on where the tournament is at and on what day. So, what should the winner's bracket final be timed to? Should it go to 5? What should be the standard time for a swiss rounds game on Saturday? Should we leave this up to regional tournament organizers? I'm inclined to say probably not.

What do? Go:

One thing I noticed about the NAH v3.3 ruleset was that it lacked any mention of playing games first to five goals.

While I am actually in favor of keeping it this way and playing all NAH games to time, I think this is probably a good place to kick off discussion on the topic. (My opinion below)

When this topic came up in previous years, the prevailing sentiment was that playing to time or first to five was a decent way to alleviate the problem of tournaments running over time by getting some buffer time from quick games. Tournaments (qualifiers in particular) now have some additional forces keeping the schedules in check like limited teams, greater requirements on host facilities, and a generally more serious attitude.

Timed games allow for higher-scoring, more exciting games. First to five, while great for pickup and open tournaments, is an unnecessary crutch for qualifiers.

i dont understand the concept of making the final match a different timing format, other than it's become somewhat of a convention over the years. i dont know of any other sport that does this. for tournaments under time constraints with lights it can pose some problems late in the day. having your most important matches under poor lighting isn't what we're looking for.

it would be nice to see the court facilities like goals and boards standardized everywhere, but it will limit the candidate cities for tournaments. there are some kick-ass venues with good host clubs that wouldn't be able to host if they're saddled with the additional costs. maybe there's a fundraising solution to that?

may be a better idea to leave the rules open for NAH to give the OK on a case basis for now. i suppose when the advocacy plans are moving forward, we'll start seeing more legit facilities in more places and this won't be as big of an issue.

@txgoldsprints

[quote=txgoldsprints]i dont understand the concept of making the final match a different timing format, other than it's become somewhat of a convention over the years. i dont know of any other sport that does this. for tournaments under time constraints with lights it can pose some problems late in the day. having your most important matches under poor lighting isn't what we're looking for.

agreed

stop trying to be other sports. i hate this reason. polo is not other sports. many sports have unconventional rules. volleyball, tennis. win by two etc.
Courts:
court requirements, if made, need to be consistent, or don't make them. don't say they need to be n" X n" dimensions, then make exceptions. if you do that what is the point?
summery:
court requirments must be strict or they're inconsequential and a waste of time putting into a rule set.
Format:
Timed games are a no-no. tennis doesn't have a time minimum, you play til you win. while that can't be for every game, i feel it should be how it is for championship games. but a time limit until the end makes sense. many game tournaments do this same style. It's not unprecedented.
Summery:
first to 5, 12 minute limits until the semis. semis first to 5 time 20 minutes. finals first to 5 no time limit, no reset.

Play to time every time. Point limits are for sets. Want to keep first to five? Play best of 3... Or 5... Or 7. I'm all for timed games with unlimited scoring. Let the goal scorers go wild.

Edit: the same amount of time for every game, as well. Want to get weird in the playoffs? Fine, do sets or whatever pleases you, but keep the 'game' unit consistent. It might mean trimming qualifier attendance or other tournament restructuring, but changing game structure in the middle of a tournament is a shoddy way to shoehorn more teams/games into a tournament.

lomax wrote:

Play to time every time. Point limits are for sets. Want to keep first to five? Play best of 3... Or 5... Or 7. I'm all for timed games with unlimited scoring. Let the goal scorers go wild.

Edit: the same amount of time for every game, as well. Want to get weird in the playoffs? Fine, do sets or whatever pleases you, but keep the 'game' unit consistent. It might mean trimming qualifier attendance or other tournament restructuring, but changing game structure in the middle of a tournament is a shoddy way to shoehorn more teams/games into a tournament.

You're going to be miserable at FCI this year then!

as a whole, many tournaments are done this way. it's not shoddy, in my opinion. Warhammer events are done this way. thats a silly made up game. MTG also. Expand your scope, don't narrow it to "sports". Sports are just games that stop being fun. Keep polo fun.

But this is a discussion about the 8 tournaments a year that are as legitimate sport-like as is possible, and those deserve standardization, in my opinion. I will have all of the fun at FCI (and other non NAH) tournaments, but for the tournaments that determine continental and world champions, I believe that short games or games to 5 for the sake of cramming a ton of games in do the sport no justice.

lomax wrote:

But this is a discussion about the 8 tournaments a year that are as legitimate sport-like as is possible, and those deserve standardization, in my opinion. I will have all of the fun at FCI (and other non NAH) tournaments, but for the tournaments that determine continental and world champions, I believe that short games or games to 5 for the sake of cramming a ton of games in do the sport no justice.

i just used the proposed times that have been the standard. i'm in favor of lengthening all games. but i'm still in favor of point limits.
also if you standardize this, it sets precedent. it turns the game into a different game for the sake of convenience. i hate that. it's like taking all the cool parts out of thriller to make it a video they can play in 3:30. changing the format from first to 5 is like changing wookies to ewoks. it's fucking child horse shit cop out. it changes the game, not progresses it. it makes a different game. wrist shots, shaft goals, mallet moving... those things focus the game. changing the conditions of victory changes the game. for my style of play, thats great, defense is easier, and controlling a clock is not hard. but beating a clock on hard offense is more fun to watch.

having unlimited time in the final is a no-no. unlimited time changes the game.

Keep your standards low, and morale high.

Absolutely fuck untimed finals. If the only teams that get to play this radically different game are the two that make it to the finals, that's just silly.

First to 5 is a throw-back from throw-ins (pick-up).

It sucks when an excellent game is artificially cut short because someone scores a fifth goal. It's also a bad idea to make the data between teams less comparable/accurate... all games to time with larger goal differences produces more accurate standings.

First to 5 also makes tournament schedules harder to stick to (game length is no longer static), the predictability of X games taking X long is preferable in my opinion.

I have no problem playing first to 5 "because we always have", but any other positives are imagined.

Prediction: much longer games and no goal limit is the future, but some people will drag their knuckles getting there.

JonoMarshall wrote:

First to 5 is a throw-back from throw-ins (pick-up).

It sucks when an excellent game is artificially cut short because someone scores a fifth goal. It's also a bad idea to make the data between teams less comparable/accurate... all games to time with larger goal differences produces more accurate standings.

First to 5 also makes tournament schedules harder to stick to (game length is no longer static), the predictability of X games taking X long is preferable in my opinion.

I have no problem playing first to 5 "because we always have", but any other positives are imagined.

Prediction: much longer games and no goal limit is the future, but some people will drag their knuckles getting there.

Great games aren't artificially cut short by a fifth goal, that's how the sports played. A great game is artificially cut short by a timer if anything.

If we're keeping first to five, game limits over 20 minutes is pretty much useless in my experience... I like that this was kept off the rules and it should be that way.

Also, I think game time duration should be left to organizers, but all games should be at least 15 minutes and maybe no longer that 30, maybe?

In the Argentine Nationals we had 15, 20 and 30 minute games but most didn't make it past 15 because of the five goal limit

If I had a real scoreboard and clock I would make all games timed and first to 5 would be only for pickup.

Timed games with no score limit are impractical without a good scoreboard, at a minimum. Seems every tourney has at least one debate about the actual score of a game. How professional is that? Lifting score limits would only make it happen more often.

polojoel wrote:

If I had a real scoreboard and clock I would make all games timed and first to 5 would be only for pickup.

Timed games with no score limit are impractical without a good scoreboard, at a minimum. Seems every tourney has at least one debate about the actual score of a game. How professional is that? Lifting score limits would only make it happen more often.

also turn it into bike hockey.

isn't it already? we just call it polo

How common are no-goal-limit games in NA?

We've done a lot of them in Europe, certainly UK has been pretty much exclusively no-goal-limit for over a year.

We don't even do first-to-five in pickup any more.

Not that common in tournaments. In Toronto we usually time pickup games if there's a crowd, and play to time not to 5.

I'll chime in on this one!

When I hosted the Eastside Thaw, the first day was with unlimited scoring, and we played to time only. The skill levels were dramatic at times, but we only had two game with extreme score differentials at the end of time (10min). We had many games go over the 5 pt mark, but stay within a margin of 3 points. The only complaint I got was that I should have done 8 min games. I disagree, but I figure I should state it was the *only* complaint.

From a planning standpoint, going by time alone was helpful in calculating play time with limited sun time for games.

I think timed play with no score cap would be a good development for the future.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

1. as for court sizes i think the goal line to goal line should be a constant measurement. or at least the goals should be a minimum distance from the wall. i have played many tourneys where the courts were two different sizes. that sucks when your geared right for one but not the other.

2. i always like first to five over timed games or at least make the games longer. 10 min games are not long enough. plus beer point games are exciting.

Tied games going into overtime will be allowed, as will beers.

Going pro might mean we have to call it Energy Drink™ point.

first to five is the game. i guess it could give a team time to make a come back if they are down some points but who wants to sit and watch along blowout game? for example bench games. this makes sence but not 3v3

Deaddog- sacbikepolo

I think for NAH qualifiers, there should be some sort of standardization of the boards. At SEQ's this year there was one center four foot wall made of plywood and the other three walls were just chainlink fence. Having inconsistent walls changes the way the ball handles and the game plays and kinda sucks.

D FENS

RE: Court size and wall height

I think that NAH having upper and lower limits for the size of the court is good, and having already established a range of values for x and y, why not have a range of values that are acceptable for z? I do not think that uniform wall height is a good requirement, even if I have my own preferences for what makes good play. Instead, I think a club bidding for the host position makes a case that they can provide the best accommodations, and we go from there. I can see guidelines for types of walls (like if a chainlink fence is a barrier, requiring a base board of z-height).

RE: Corners

I have a preference on which is the best to play on. I think most players do. Is there a real consensus on this? Do we have too many places to play that we need to filter it down? I don't think so on either question. Variance in play is a given, from the court dimensions, corners, to the surface itself. I think this feature of the court deserves no specific rule.

RE: Goal dimensions

I still think the 6' x 3' goal is misguided. What have we got from it? Better to use 6' x 4'. because its standard sizing means clubs can purchase and maintain goals better instead of every official goal being DIY. In that 6' sq of the goal plane, how many shots are going there that have made a difference? I think this choice needs to be re-investigated and rejustified.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

Urban Editor wrote:

RE: Court size and wall height

RE: Corners

I like your thoughts here. Keep it loose and let NAH approve the bids.

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Urban Editor wrote:

RE: Court size and wall height

I think that NAH having upper and lower limits for the size of the court is good, and having already established a range of values for x and y, why not have a range of values that are acceptable for z? I do not think that uniform wall height is a good requirement, even if I have my own preferences for what makes good play. Instead, I think a club bidding for the host position makes a case that they can provide the best accommodations, and we go from there. I can see guidelines for types of walls (like if a chainlink fence is a barrier, requiring a base board of z-height).

RE: Corners

I have a preference on which is the best to play on. I think most players do. Is there a real consensus on this? Do we have too many places to play that we need to filter it down? I don't think so on either question. Variance in play is a given, from the court dimensions, corners, to the surface itself. I think this feature of the court deserves no specific rule.

RE: Goal dimensions

I still think the 6' x 3' goal is misguided. What have we got from it? Better to use 6' x 4'. because its standard sizing means clubs can purchase and maintain goals better instead of every official goal being DIY. In that 6' sq of the goal plane, how many shots are going there that have made a difference? I think this choice needs to be re-investigated and rejustified.

i actually champion slightly smaller goals. but you know, i come from the chronically hated wristshot world. but you know. im really opposed to the idea of bigger goals though.

If we ever allow wrist shots in 3v3 (seems like they've been in play in bench), I agree with your that the 6'x3' is a good goal size. Until then, I don't think the short goals are justified.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

Urban Editor wrote:

If we ever allow wrist shots in 3v3 (seems like they've been in play in bench), I agree with your that the 6'x3' is a good goal size. Until then, I don't think the short goals are justified.

but whats the benefit of larger goals other than we can use goals already made?

That is the primary benefit. I don't know if there need to be other benefits.

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

PREACH.

Edit, for Pete Abram: it is an extra 1 foot of height and 6 sq. feet of area. Conveniently, your body eats up a lot of that new surface area passively while your arms, mallet, and front wheel can cover the rest of the opening actively. "But wheelie blocks are hard... But then we have to touch the ball with our hands..." Cool. Shooting was hard once, too, and I see absolutely nothing wrong with contacting the ball with the hand that holds your mallet. Frankly, I don't care if you play it with an open hand, either... Just no hand passing. Knock it down to yourself and play on.

I fully expect the future of polo to include intentional upper body / arm blocks as part of the goalkeepers repertoire.

The days of simply putting your bike in the right spot and trying to mallet-guard your 5 hole are numbered.

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

i always liked the idea of non timed finals....all four of them!!! winners bracket final, losers bracket finals and the final final. was talking about it with some people....not henry...and they suggested if there was a second final it would be timed. i dont know how i feel about that but i do like no time games because of the play that comes out of it. players need to score to win until its over. every goal is exciting especially the last one. yes there are so many people playing we have to cram games together so that so many people can play in one tournament. isnt that why we time games anyways?

i

I just think that whatever we decide on game format should be uniform across the board. Why should the format change when the finals roll around? Thats my question. I personally think timed games are the best but to go from a timed format to a score based format late in the brackets just doesn't make sense. just my 2 cents.

Keep your standards low, and morale high.

There seems to be a lot of odd inconsistencies in our game like from what part of your equipment a goal can be scored from (or what kind of delivery), or how the game starts compared to how the rest of the game continues, maybe this sort of thing is common in sport in general. I like timed games but I understand the desire people have to maintain the sense of urgency that needing to get 5, in order for the win, creates. It's not unusual for any game, where time is a factor, for the team ahead in points to create a game stifling defence. The offence must work even more vigorously to break that, so that provides some degree of excitement. But one team holding out for the clock to countdown can be considered a bit boring by some. Perhaps timed games need rules that make the defence work just as hard as the offence in this situation. A "crease" - like idea might provide that. Forcing the defence back out into play. Perhaps we need to look at all our rules by how they work in concert and not just how they might operate discretely.

I think the game shouldn't be so different in the finals... after all, it's still the same sport... they should be timed IMO... otherwise make evey game non-timed

1. Boards: 4ft boards all the way around should definitely be regulated, but as we all know it’s become an understood standard.

2. Yes, to defining and mandating the distance between back of goal to boards. Going to measure our court tonight and revisit this.

3. Corners: Have Kev create a survey and let the results decide.
a. Curved corners only
b. Banked corners only
c. Who Gives a $*&@#

4. Winners bracket final, losers final and final final: Timed or first to 5.

5. Swiss Rounds Game time: 12min is fine and yes to NOT leaving it up the regional tournament organizers.

When you play a game "First to Five" the game (not sport, game) plays out differently. It takes more work to win and it allows for a team that is tired or a dark horse team to really play the other team on a more mental level, like a chess match almost. Instead of being (or feeling) rushed for time, you can make smart or even ingenious plays to come from behind and win.

I know in our tournaments, you basically try to survive through the timed games to make it to the point where you can show how well you can play the game in a "First to Five" scenario.

For the love of the game, please, stop comparing Polo to other sports or games, it is what it is.

(Also: Most of the time, "First to Five" games do not take that much longer than what the time calls for, has anyone else noticed this? Seriously, watch the FtF final games, how long do they go?)

Oh yeah, also times two to the court dimensions eliminating a lot of awesome host cities (Seattle) from hosting NAH tourneys.

And times two to what Coach said about regulating the space behind the goals and/or the distance from goal line to goal line....rather than the overall dimensions of the court.

Personal opinion: House rules anybody? Get off this high horse of being the exact same from city to city and court to court, Street Fighter? Different baseball stadiums with harder to make home runs? Different roller derby arenas with different court surfaces (faster/slower/tackier), this happens all the time. Clay/Grass/Concrete tennis courts??

Yeah, different baseball stadiums have different home run distances but the dimensions of the infield are exact and I think that the distance between our goals needs regulation as well.

Now obviously we can't build polo stadiums so we have to provide a window so we have a wider range of playable spaces but there needs to be some sort of standard. We're on bikes! There's supposed to be enough room to go fast.

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yeah but you hate baseball!

"Should we dictate 4 ft boards all around?"
I honestly have a serious issue with dictating this kind of rule without the league backing the host club in a way that allows them to finance such things for the sake of tournaments. For clubs with courts at the ready (frederick....who else?) its no issue, but for clubs who build the courts for the tourney (long ass list)...?

Get that issue settled, and I completely would LOVE to see this mandated. NAH tourneys should be the best case scenario, much like Lomax said. But its hard to tell a city who's willing to host what they have to build, on top of hosting. Just my 2c.

lancasterpolo.com
agile for my size.

Any club that can't afford to build full height boards has no business hosting a major tournament.

I get your point but even without this mandated I'm pretty sure all qualifiers this year had them. I think Henry is right in saying that it's pretty achievable - especially if you consider the resources of an entire region pooling together, community style and shit.

Add to that the fact that most regions, having done this before, have courts stacked up places just sitting there.

Tournament organizers have the say in how much their tournament will cost. I know budgets are tight when hosting but it's been proven to be doable. Also, it is worth noting that bike polo with 4 foot boards and bike polo with 2 foot boards are different games. One is far more physical than the other and also far safer in regards to physicality near the boards. And we are definitely seeking, with the ruleset, to standardize play at all qualifiers heading into the big show each year.

But I do understand that increasing the requirements on host cities makes it harder to FIND host cities, in general. We definitely don't want to write the rules in a way that strangles the ability of regions to thrive and participate.

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Nick Kruse wrote:

I get your point but even without this mandated I'm pretty sure all qualifiers this year had them. I think Henry is right in saying that it's pretty achievable - especially if you consider the resources of an entire region pooling together, community style and shit.

You weren't at SE. Two Courts. 2 walls with boards, the remaining 6 were chainlink fence. Yep. You read that right.

lancasterpolo.com
agile for my size.

I was able to cover my big ass court for a pickup day with plywood boards cut to sections 6in by 8ft long. Just enough to not get stuck and have a *little* bounce. Cost me maybe 40 bucks of lumber. No excuses.

Winston Salem NC Bike Polo

just be honest with what your bid is and then deliver it. even if it's 1' boards... with real great courts in a real great city with real great amenities. just tell your community what you can do... nobody likes surprises.

even if NAH rules say you can't have this or that... put in your bid and let us decide. if people want to go, they'll vote for it. if NAH doesn't like it... then fuck'em

I've got a question about goals, as we are building 3 sets of goals for the London Open this weekend, and want to stick to the standards.

So:

§2.2.2 – Goalmouth will be 6’ (183cm) wide by 3’ (91.5 cm) tall by 2.5’ (76.2 cm) deep.

What is referred to by the goal mouth? I assume the area inside of the posts, at the posts widest point

But it could also mean the centre of the pole (If you take the goalmouth as being right at the front of the goal, and the poles are curved.

Or it could mean the outside of the poles (less likely)

To clarify what I mean, here's a diagram

  • goals.png

I think the 'A' option is the most clear reading of "mouth." The goal plane should be defined by the space where the ball actually passes through. This means the top corners being square or rounded also might matter.

Personally, I'm cautious about over-specifying measurements.

e.g. - Depth of goal is a silly requirement. As long as the goal is not so deep that it creates an obstacle, it's okay.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

This is a good point, there is not enough specification here. If you say center-to-center, the effective size of the goal (inside to inside) is dependent upon the diameter of the posts. Rebounds in general are dependent upon the diameter of the posts. Goals with different size posts play differently, no matter if their effective goal mouth is the same.

I don't know if we're to the point where we can try to regulate the size of the posts though. The NHL measures 6 feet between the insides of the posts. I'm inclined to agree that this is the right way to do it and maybe some year in the future we can seek to regulate the diameter of the posts.

I fucking love the NHL ruleset. It is so well written.

I will note that this needs to be updated to be more specific in the 2014 ruleset.

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if we're going to that extent, don't forget to note that the nets have to have be round posts. trig is a bitch sometimes.

I agree with that addition.

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Thanks Nick

No time finals is a thing of the past like 360 tap out or cones. Does anyone remember the NA final in Calgary? That final went on forever. Both teams got exhausted half way through and the play got sloppy. Do you want an explosive final or a slow chess match?

140x65

I agree that timed finals are necessary, i just don't think that 20-25 minutes is sufficient. I don't recall being "exhausted" during the finals in 2011, but I do think we need to run games long enough to challenge players athletically and 20 minute games don't cut it IMO. Half time is also cool.... Two 20 minute halves would be my ideal final.

This can lead to a double 2x20min final so if the Looser B win the first final. This can bring a 1h20 finals without including breaks. I would love to play something like that, but from a tournament organizer perspectiv that's a lot to deal with, you can have daylight trouble, spot location trouble (cleaning aera by night for example is a pain), plus the fact that you can loose part of the crowd who can't stay so much because of travelling back isssues.

What are we disscussing for here? Give a rigid structure to every tournament, or more a guidline to organizers? (for example, "in best case scenario your finals should be a 2x20 min game, in worst case a 1x20 min game").
In my opinion a guildline is enough. We play odd finals since the begining of this sports, like first one without time and second timed or vice versa, organizers choosing the format at the last second etc, most of the time, the players and crowd deal with it. So giving a guidline could be a good first step without putin' organizers in trouble. In another way, it could be also possible to let some space for organizers options, but asking them to make them public before a specific date.

I'm in for long timed finals but i want to say that having a short timed game influences goal PREVENTION and creates other strategies for the game that are now considered smart play. when you are forced to score 5 goals these "smart" plays (stacking the net, dumping the ball, riding behind your own net with the ball to run the clock) are actually bad ideas. the first game of this last final was two 20 min halves and i thought that worked well. for some reason the second game was cut in half. i don't think the two finals should be different for sure!! the point of having the games before the finals being shorter is ok because everyone is in the same situation to get to the finals. the finals themselves can be whatever format we choose. it is the last game we can make it whatever we want. them being longer is definitely a good idea. if the finals were to five points what you would see is both teams pushing to get goals and that makes for exciting play. GOALS!!! we all want to see them. and honestly it doesn't take that long to score five goals and we are all in good shape out there...no one is going to get too tired. oh and that game in Calgary was one of my favorite games to play in it ended with an awesome goal!!.. do you want people trying to score goals or people running away with the ball???

Totally agree with you! The game changes and not for the better when teams are running the clock down. Slow chess match? Hardly. I'd say exciting tension.

I defiantly agree with keeping it the same for both finals. Uolmo has some really good points coming from an organizers perspective, I think if we want these longer finals which is great we need to cut out some of the games during the day to give us more time, which means less teams. To be at the courts from 9am to 10pm is ridiculous.

140x65

if we didnt go down to one court so early there would be hours of spare time... we should go down to one court for the last three games. this last time we went to one court so early and that makes teams wait around and also cuts the end of the tourney down.. keep the games on all the courts until the three finals and we can play them however we want. everyone is fighting to get to play in those last three finals. those games should be played to the max. let it be long ass timed games or to five!!!!

It's a nice idea, but doesn't work. After a certain point you can only use 1 court, otherwise teams have to play back-to-back games.

On a 32 team DE bracket, you have to cut to 2 courts by game 45, and 1 court by game 55 (out of 63 games).

The solution is less teams (in the elim, and in general). I agree with the people above who say consistency of format is important. There is no guarantee that the best team over 10 minutes, is the best team over 40 minutes (strategy, stamina, etc...)

16 team Double Elim would mean you could have 30 minute timed games throughout the bracket, or maybe we should even consider going to single elim...

Of the 8 teams that finished tied for 25th at NAHBPC, only one of them started Sunday higher than 25th in ranking. I think at 3 day tournaments, 24 teams is plenty for the double elim day. That eliminates 1/4 of the games, or about 2 hours from the schedule.

Yes and first round byes are. Very good thing for a top 4-6 teams