2013-14 Hoops – Week 18 PLAYOFF PREVIEW (March 2)

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Updated: March 5, 2014

All Sports Hoops Modified Triple Elimination Bracket

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… the Playoffs are officially here!  In just 6 weeks we will crown the first ever Champions of All Sports Hoops..  Whoever will reign supreme, surely will have to earn it during the course of the brutal Triple Elimination Tourney.  We had a crazy finish to the Regular Season (so I hear…) and that will of course be a foreshadowing for things to come.

Just a reminder on how the Playoffs work:   In it’s simplest form, the Bracket truly works like this — Win and you advance in your current Bracket, Lose and you drop down to the next Bracket (So there’s a No-Loss Bracket, and a 1-Loss and 2-Loss Bracket).. If you lose when you are in the 2-Loss Bracket you go home for the Summer.  Teams 1-8, will start in the “No-Loss” Bracket..  Since it’s a Triple Elimination Bracket, those Teams have 3 strikes until they’re out.. Without getting too long-winded.. Teams seeded 9-12, will start in the “1-Loss” Bracket, meaning that they have only two strikes left before Elimination.  They will open the Playoffs against each other.. Here is a link to the BRACKET.

This is the FINAL WEEK OF VOTING FOR THE ALL HOOPS TEAM… Voting ends March 10.  Click Here To VOTE. Please read the instructions (or at least skim them) so you understand how Championship Night will work regarding the All Hoops Team Festivities (yes, there is going to be a Game and a 3PT Contest).

Here’s a link to the Weekly Highlight Video.

We are officially DONE with Power Rankings for the Season as we will move into a Game Preview style where the following week’s Playoff match-ups will be highlighted.  Survival has now become the name of the game.. Let’s get to the Preview shall we.

No-Loss Bracket

1. Team Lalez (Highland Pop) v. 8. Team Apuli (Wrigley View Rooftop)

We’ve known for weeks that the Champions of the Eastern Conference would be the #1 overall seed when the Playoffs begin.. Team Lalez might have had their most impressive W of the Season in it’s final week when they had nothing to play for but pride.. As they were “resting” several of their key players, they came back from a 17pt Halftime deficit to win AND they did so with only 4 guys.  These guys have earned the right to be called the favorites after tearing through the regular season, winning 17 of their 18 contests.  First up for those favorites is the #8 Seed out of the Western Conference, Team Apuli.  Team Apuli started the season off strong and was routinely in the Top 5 of the Power Rankings during the League’s first couple of months.  However, as 2013 turned into 2014, they’ve had problems fielding their entire squad and with that have come some losses.  These guys certainly are dangerous though, as there have been assurances made that the whole crew will be back together once again starting with the Opening Round of the Playoffs.  Team Apuli has the necessary size to play with Team Lalez, a luxury many others do not possess.. Team Lalez defeated Team Apuli all the way back on December 1st… This should be an interesting one.. If Team Apuli brings their A-Game, this could very well serve as more than a footnote, in Team Lalez’s Championship journey.

4. Team Kozin (SLA Insurance) v. 5. Team Harmelech (iShot)

In any Playoff scenario when Teams are seeded with the classic 1-8 match-ups, the one to watch is always the 4-5 Game.  Sunday Night will be no different.  For the majority of the Regular Season five teams separated themselves from the pack…  For close to 2 months it was a foregone conclusion that those five teams were going to wind up with Top 5 seeds, and it was really race among those five to wind up in the top 3, so to avoid another Top 5 crew in the Opening Round… That has all led to Team Kozin and Team Harmelech doing battle in the Opening Round.  No matter what, by this time next week, one of these two Teams will be just two losses away from extinction.  Team Kozin made a statement early in the Hoops campaign (including a win in Week 1 over Team Harmelech), as they were the final undefeated Team last standing.  Time will tell if that was foreshadowing for the Playoffs.  As for Team Harmelech, they accumulated tons of success at different points of the season, but have still had their pitfalls. They’ve had to deal with major injuries throughout the season and frankly I think it’s impressive that they wound up 5th in a supremely deep 12-Team League.  Regular Season success will not satisfy this group though. Many have held past All Sports Series crowns and they truly believe they can be the kings of the mountain once again.

3. Team Maione (B. Weinstein Associates) v. 6. Team Zimmerman (Teplitz & Bell)

While the 4-5 Game is going to have the closest match-up in terms of record, the 3-6 Game very well could be the most electric of the night. Both squads want to get up and down the court so they can allow their high-powered offenses to get going.  If the eventual Champions came out of this Opening Round game I would not be surprised one bit; that does not just go for Team Maione either… Team Zimmerman has a tremendous amount of talent and if they can figure out a way to just cut down on a few wasteful turnovers and staying within themselves, they really can be the last team standing.  As for Team Maione, they defeated Team Zimmerman back in December and this squad might have the most pure talent in the League.  They lack a true big, but they have managed just fine without for the entire season.  They also are the reigning All Sports Series Chicago Summer League Champs (yes that is a mouthful).. They know the “survive and advance” method well.  All that matters is staving off elimination and Team Maione understands that as well if not better than anyone.  If this game winds up in the 90s or 100s no one should be surprised. Bring your calculators.

2. Team Goldin (Sanders Court Pediatrics) v. 7. Team Schwartz (Stems)

The 2-7 Game is going to be the polar opposite from the 3-6 Game; this one folks will be all about defensive effort.  Both teams want to get up and make the other uncomfortable.  These two met just once in the Regular Season (just like the other No-Loss Bracket games and), during the craziness that was Double Header Sunday.  Team Goldin got the better end of that one, as they have in their past 8 games.  Team Goldin is truly the hottest Team in the League, as they propelled their 8-Game Win Streak into winning the Western Conference.  They were going to be my “dark horse” about 4 weeks ago, but it’s not really fair to call the #2 Seed the dark horse anymore.  I just wouldn’t want to see these guys while they are still on this run… As you’d expect with a Team seeded in the middle of the pack, #7 Team Schwartz, have had their fair share of great moments as well as one’s they’d rather forget… Last Sunday, being one of them as they gave up a big lead to Team Lalez in the second half.  They have been rocking a nasty 2-3 Zone as of late and it frustrates a lot of talented shooters.  If they can stay in the passing lanes and manage to not give open 3pt shots, they really should be in every game they play.  Wins/Losses have really come down to how their jumpers are falling.   I expect this one to be in the 60s or maybe the 70s. Both teams cherish the rock and it should be grind-it-out sorta night.  Good Luck.

1-Loss Bracket

9. Team Holzman (Groupon) v. 12. Team Shamberg (Sunset Foods)

10. Team Bauer (Jam ‘n Honey) v. 11. Team Eilian (Crystal Lake Chrysler Dodge Jeep)

Looping these two games together in order to preserve the significance for what would have been the second game previewed.  Simply put, these four Teams already have their backs against the wall.  By 9PM on Sunday Night, two of the four will be just one loss away from elimination.  All four of them have obviously struggled at different points throughout the Season, but I really do think that the talent in each case is far greater than the win/loss record would show.  All of them have endured tough defeats as during the course of the year, so in reality nothing should shake them.  In every All Sports Series, there is one team that makes an improbable Playoff run. The Hoops League will be no different. Just to prove that isn’t rhetoric — numerous double digit seeds have made Final4 Appearances throughout the Years.  All it takes is one fortunate bounce that didn’t come in the Regular Season and BOOM… Upset City.  The hard part is figuring out who it will be… Team Holzman looked good in the final weeks of the Season.. They grabbed hold of a few wins and their roles seem to becoming clearer by the week.  #9 Team Holzman split the season series with their opponents on Sunday, #12 Team Shamberg, who could be the group that sends home an unsuspecting higher seed late in March.  They have all the necessary tools at their disposal. They are in most games deep into the second half and if they can get some key buckets late, “why not them.”  As for #10 Team Bauer, they have the leading scorer in the League and two others that possess the ability to go for 20+ on any night.  They need to play smart and keep their cool.  If they do so, they have more than just two games left.  Finally, #11 Team Eilian who also split the season series with Team Bauer, might be the biggest head scratcher of them all.  From top to bottom, their roster would without a doubt be chosen before some Teams that finished before them in the Standings.  They have several scorers and on nights where they want to — they can defend. That will be the key — if they can get up and into the other teams’ shooters, they really could be the ones to make the run..

All in all these four groups certainly have the most to lose on Sunday.  No question about it.  However, when you really break it down.. They are all playing with house money.  Besides themselves, no one expects a thing from them..  In general, people with nothing to lose, are the ones who should scare you most…

Have a good week. See you Sunday for the Opening Round.

– Holden