Question

Is it allowed to bend/tie the pool noodle before the human player throws it?

No. Check the blue box under G16.

Would it damage the pool noodle? Probably. So I believe that is banned.

I’d imagine that would violate the rule of “don’t do the breaking of game pieces”

You can bend the noodle, as long as it doesn’t damage it. Tying is however illegal.

G16 The following actions are prohibited with regards to interaction with FIELD elements (items A-D exclude TOTES, RECYCLING
CONTAINERS, and LITTER):
A. grabbing
B. grasping
C. grappling
D. attaching to
E. becoming entangled
F. hanging
G. damaging (exception: unintentional damage to LITTER)
H. tying
I. removing or repositioning LITTER tape
VIOLATION: FOUL. If the Head REFEREE determines that further damage is likely to occur, offending ROBOT will be DISABLED.
Corrective action (such as eliminating sharp edges, removing the damaging MECHANISM, and/or re-Inspection) may be
required before the ROBOT will be allowed to compete in subsequent MATCHES.

Or the rule that says “humans or ROBOTS tying or weaving LITTER into a knot” is prohibited.