Wow. What a crazy start to the Haru basho. Two weeks ago, who would have predicted Midorifuji on top of the leaderboard, followed by Daieisho? Certainly not me, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, the internet has a memory:
Takakeisho didn’t make it to nakabi. Mitakeumi might not make it to senshuraku. But Shodai and Abi have actually had a pretty decent first week. I am very eager to see how week two goes but it’s clear that my prediction has done about as well as they usually do. Maybe I should focus on the other end of the scoreboard and those who will have a terrible tournament. By the numbers, the four wrestlers in the joi with the worst records against the other top wrestlers turns out to be Nishikigi, Ryuden, Tamawashi, and Kotoshoho. Each has one win (Nishikigi is at 2-6 only because he drew Takakeisho’s fusen win). Put all of their wins together and you’d have an “okay” first week.
Before the tournament I had taken the bout histories of the top 17 positions and pitted them together (a few won’t face each other unless there’s a playoff). The order of the result is sorted along the top (the left axis is just alphabetical). It’s pretty rough but I just wanted to start with something.
I want to add something to this scoring to give a ranking discount/bonus based on recent form. That would have dropped Mitakeumi quite a bit but also would have brought down Shodai, who’s actually had a pretty good tournament. My first try with that just didn’t make sense so I scrapped it. I had thought Mitakeumi could be a sleeper where he was but that turns out to be Daieisho. Mitakeumi has looked hurt, especially somewhere in the lower body. There have been a few times where the only resistance he seems to offer is from his tsuppari.
If we drop Takakeisho out of the list and add Midorifuji, Midorifuji squeezes in nicely between Kotonowaka and Kotoshoho — who suddenly jumps up to the middle of the table because as Kototebakari, he was undefeated against Isegahama’s Mighty Mite but has yet to win against ‘Keisho.
While it looks like I’m still going back to the drawing board, it’s shaping up to be an intriguing Week 2.
One thought on “Andy’s Week One Review”
While there might be a lack of leadership at the top at the moment, and technical concerns about staging basho with an absence of Y / O, I think makunouchi is in a pretty good state: the named ranks and joi are forming up into a collection of good rikishi with varied styles, with plenty of ascendant youngsters.
It might be described as still being a ‘transition’ era post-Hakuho, but I think the competition feels much more exciting than a couple of a few years ago when it felt that sumo was headed the way of it mainly being a load of tadpole-shaped oshi pusher-thrusters (in fairly boring matches), plus Asanoyama.
I’m enjoying it, even if there is no dominant yokozuna instilling order. It’s also brilliant to hear the background din back in the arena, the raucous shouting, and the old grannies being able to openly cackle their heads off in the front row when a rikishi slips for no reason.