2013 Suburbs College/Prep – Playoff Preview

Updated: July 25, 2013

The Regular Season is now officially in the Rear View Mirror and the Playoffs are upon us.  First here is a LINK to the Video Highlights from this week.   So the Wrap-Up is going to veer from the Power Rankings format and simply go down the line previewing the Playoff Bracket for the Opening Rounds Hoops Games.  A few things to remember — the Playoffs are win or go home (except for in one instance which I will get to shortly). In single elimination tournaments anything is possssssibbbbllleeeeeee — as evidence — just look back to the 2012 Suburbs College/Prep Playoffs when the #10 seed defeated the #11 seed in the Championship.  Quick plug in case you missed it — Here is a Link for the Suburbs College/Prep All @AllSportsSeries Team and MVP Ballot. One more thing — If you happened to miss it in the email — the Champions this Summer will not only take home sweet shirts, but also the members of the team will receive 3-month subscriptions to GameFly.com! Okay now let’s see what’s in store for us on Sunday.

Here are the Final Standings.  Top 16 made the Playoffs.

Team (Top 16 Make Playoffs)
x= eliminated from Playoff Contention
Regular Season Point Totals
Points Behind Leader
Top2. Team Simon (Carriage Hill Kennels)1350
Top2. Team Greco (Crescent Movers)1350
3. Team Valvassori (Once Upon a Bagel)10035
4. Team Maione (Norton's)9342
5. Team Wilneff (Factor 75)8847
6. Team Lev (Highland Pop)8055
7. Team Levin (Sarkis Cafe) 7857
8. Team Deutsch (Baker Boys) ** Wins Tiebreaker w/ Team Watts - Strength of Schedule (410 - 343) 7065
9. Team Watts (Sunset Foods) Loses Tiebreaker w/ Team Deutsch - Strength of Schedule (343 - 410)7065
10. Team Teitelbaum (North Shore Turf)6570
11. Team Abramson (Menchie's)6075
12. Team Merritt (Michael's Event Catering)4590
13. Team Gambino (Sushi Kushi Too) ** Wins Tiebreaker w/ Team Sternberg - Strength of Schedule (541 - 431)4095
14. Team Sternberg (Camp Ojibwa) ** Loses Tiebreaker w/ Team Gambino - Strength of Schedule (431 - 541)4095
15. Team Almeleh (Loree's Closet)35100
16. Team Rijos (Salon ALX)22113
x-Team Kuhns (Janice Goldblatt)20115
x-Team Gordon (Gordon Bros. Steel)15120
x-Team Putlak (Tamales)15120
x-Team Liss (Testing Timers)0135

Playoff Preview

We are going to go team by team and game by game highlighting the Opening Rounds Hoops games. Let’s get started!

Top 2 Matchup — t-1 Team Simon (Carriage Hill Kennels) & Team Greco (Crescent Movers).  – Winning Team gets to select their side of the Bracket for the Elite 8 16″ Softball Round.

It seems as if these two teams were on a collision course to meet in the Top 2 Hoops game all Summer long.  Let’s backup and look at how they each got here.. Team Greco has been around since the beginning — well they were officially Team Greco in 2011 — but they have had players who participated in the very first All Sports Series in 2010.  Back then they were one of the youngest groups in the League.  Fast forward to 2013 and they are the grizzled vets who look more determined than anyone to take the All Sports Series crown. These guys are back to back Volleyball Tourney Champs and I think they would unanimously be called the best softball team in the League if there were a poll for that sort of thing.  Their one downfall in the past has been Hoops.  However, this year they did enough to avoid the Opening Round Hoops game by finishing with a Top 2 Seed.  You see while it is so important for the Winner of this game because they can pick their next opponent essentially, the loser will still advance to the Elite 8, just without the choice of opponent.  For Team Greco that means all that stands in the way for their Championship aspirations are 2 16″ Softball games and a Championship Flag Football game.  If you told them that at the beginning of the Summer you would see grins from ear to ear.

As for Team Simon — they are the new kids on the block that took the League by storm.  The only time they have lost all Summer was actually in the Volleyball Tourney Final to Team Greco.  That was the first meeting between these two teams, but a couple weeks after these two groups met on the Hoops court in a true preview of this Sunday’s Top 2 Hoops Game and Team Simon came out victorious in that one.  This Sunday will make it the 3rd chapter in these two teams book.  This is definitely the most important matchup they’ve had so far — what’s even more intriguing is if they can manage to meet a 4th time — which could only happen in the Championship game!  Back to Team Simon, they led the Suburbs College/Prep League’s All @AllsportsSeries Team Ballot with more nominees than any team.  Have you voted? Click here.  Anyways Team Simon is really making history this Summer — no 1st year team (excluding the 1st year when everyone was new) has ever done what Team Simon has accomplished in 2013.  To really cement their legacy however they will need to take the Crown.  They have the talent to do so.  The true question I’d have — were they tested enough in the Regular Season.  If a game gets really close do they have enough to look back on and know “we still got this.”  Then again they could just continue blowing everyone out..

I’m excited to see these two teams duel once again but I actually am more excited to see what strategy is utilized after the game has ended when the winning team gets to make a selection as to who they will take on in the Elite 8.  These two squads are two of your Elite 8.. However are one of them your Champion??

Reasons why Team Simon or Team Greco can win it all — Do I have to say more? They have been the best teams all season!

3.  Team Valvassori (Once Upon a Bagel) – Plays the Winner of 14. v. 15.

Team Valvassori was a playoff team a year ago but that is where the similarities between the 2012 and 2013 versions conclude.  This group has been money all Summer long.  They have looked great in every sport (except softball — but they faced a tough Team Gambino) and everything seems to be pointing toward an extended Playoff Run for these guys.  They defeated Team Abramson 14-12 in the Final week of the Regular Season in Flag Football.  I think this definitely put Team Abramson and several of the “older” teams on notice.  Team Valvassori is for real. Very for real.  Now who will play Sunday?

Reason why Team Valvassori can win it all — Great team chemistry, Alex Franczek and Dillon Rudy.

14. Team Sternberg (Camp Ojibwa) v. 15. Team Almeleh (Loree’s Closet) — Winner plays 3. Team Valvassori 

Both teams had to scratch and claw their way into the Playoffs but now they are here and that’s all the matters yo.  Team Almeleh is  competing in their very first All Sports Series this Summer and they managed to grab a Playoff berth — not an easy feat. No matter what happens they should feel as if they succeeded.  As for Team Sternberg, they are not going to be a bunch who is just happy to be invited to the party.  These guys are the Defending Champs.  Yes, I know they aren’t the exact same team but Captain Sam “player coach” Sternberg knows what he needs to get out of his team to take the whole thing.  A Repeat has never been done in All Sports Series and Team Sternberg is the only team in the field with that particular goal.  For those thinking that neither of these teams can actually take the Crown on August 8th — let me remind you that last Season both Championship Teams were double digit seeds.  Anything can happen in All Sports Series and especially in the Playoffs when matchups dictate more than seeding.  I think this has all the makings to go down to the wire.. Whoever does manage to come out of this one will have a tough test just an hour later when they have to go against #3 Seed Team Valvassori.

Reason why Team Sternberg can win it all — Experience.

Reason why Team Almeleh can win it all — Inexperienced enough to not realize the magnitude of the situation. 

4. Team Maione (Norton’s) – Plays winner of 13.  v. 16.

The 2012 Runners-Up had a much more successful Regular Season in 2013 than they did in 2012.  They entered the Playoffs last year as the #10 seed but this year they will have the benefit of getting to scout their eventual first round opponent — The winner of Team  Gambino and Team Rijos — and have fresh legs compared to their foe who will have played just an hour prior.  These guys have everything you need to win the whole thing.  Captain Frank “my favorite” Maione has a deep squad that might not overpower you in any particular sport, but I’d refuse to call them the underdog in any matchup either.   They are one of the top 16″ Softball Teams in the field which means if they do manage to get through their Opening Round Hoops game — they very well could find themselves right back in the Championship game.

Reason why Team Maione can win it all — Their wounds from 2012 are bigger than anyone else’s and they don’t want to go another year with that.

13. Team Gambino (Sushi Kushi Too) v. 16. Team Rijos (Salon ALX)

For the 2nd consecutive year Team Gambino has qualified for the Playoffs as the #13 seed.  What that means is they will have to win an extra Opening Round Hoops game if they wish to continue on their journey to the Crown.  Last season, they improbably won 2 Opening Round Hoops games in the same day, the 2nd of which was to knock off Team Greco in OT (then a 4 seed, now a Top2 seed) to make it to the Elite 8.  So for anyone who doubts one of the bottom 4 seeds can make a run I’d ask you to talk with Team Gambino.  As for Team Rijos, much of the intrigue of this final week really centered around them.  They held the 16th and final playoff spot heading into the final week of the Regular Season and really had no room to spare.  As Sunday Night games turned into Wednesday Night games due to weather it was clear that Team Rijos would be scoreboard watching.  They dropped their final game against Team Teitelbaum and their high-powered Flag Football offense.  So with the Loss they needed Team Kuhns to knock off Team Gordon in the final game of regular season or Team Gordon would get the last spot.  As luck would have it for Team Rijos that’s exactly what happened as Team Kuhns helped Team Rijos back there way in.  Like I said before though, it doesn’t matter how you got in.. you are in.  Team Rijos has a very solid Hoops squad — one that might not have been on display as much as they hoped during the Regular Season due to time conflicts.  This game is going to be a sleeper for most fun of the day. Winner gets their chance to send 2012 Runners-Up Team Maione home early this year.

Reason why Team Gambino can win it all — Throwing away seeds they can match anyone athlete for athlete. 

Reason why Team Rijos can win it all — Cause anything can happen.

5. Team Wilneff (Factor75.com) v. 12. Team Merritt (Michael’s Event Catering)

David v. Goliath.  Jack v. the Beanstalk.  Anyone v. Brock Lesnar.  — I am more sure about this than anything I have written or wil write for the rest of this Wrap-Up — the entire League will be rooting for Team Merritt on Sunday Night.   Team Wilneff is one of the most talented teams assembled and it has been that way for years.  Captain Brian “Pat Riley” Wilneff also made some key additions for this Summer by bringing in the likes of Cole Stern, Mitch King, Dean Baba and that guy Johnny Lindquist.  They are Big, Fast, Strong and can do everything on the field/court.  Team Merritt is the youngest team in All Sports Series — which to make the Playoffs as Rookies who are also the youngest guys in the League — well thats pretty much unheard of.   I’d like their chances more in this one if Gus Johnson was calling the game — but he’s booked on Sunday doing NASCAR or something.  Anyways, Team Merritt is going to have to play a perfect game to beat Team Wilneff and they know that.  However, if Team Merritt can keep it close in the first half and come out with a few 3s.. Eventually the pressure could get to Team Wilneff — when you tighten up, your legs go and jumpers stop falling. The first 15 minutes of this game will tell you the whole story.  Would I be surprised if Team Merritt gets another chapter after this Sunday? Yes, but sometimes the Slipper fits.

Reason why Team Wilneff can win it all — Most talented team in the field.

Reason why Team Merritt can win it all — Hollywood needs a new heartwarming Sports script.

6. Team Lev (Highland Pop) v. 11. Team Abramson (Menchie’s)

It’s been talked about a bit in the Wrap-Ups the past few weeks and at the Games on Sundays but I want to really dive in right now — the difference in talent level from All Sports Series 2012 to All Sports Series 2013 in the College/Prep League is incredible.  The League is so much deeper.  Not only at the top of the Standings but 1-20 I think it would be tough to find a more difficult League to navigate through than the one you guys have played in this Summer.  Which brings me to Team Abramson.. Last Season, they rolled through the Regular Season and earned a spot in the Top2 Hoops game. Fast forward to this year and while they still had a lot of success they couldn’t repeat what they did in 2012.  Now they had some roster turnover and some injuries that also contributed to this but all in all I think it’s the perfect representation of the difference in talent level.  Enter Team Lev — who is a Rookie Team in the sense that they have not competed together but they did have some Players from years past.  Captain Mitchell “get on his” Lev has his team firing on all cylinders and I think if Vegas were setting lines (I don’t think they are?) on the College/Prep Playoffs they’d be one of the favorites.  Of course they have a giant roadblock in their way come the Opening Round.  Team Abramson is not going to be intimidated by anyone especially on the Hoops court. They are grizzled vets and seeds are “just a number” to them.  To me this is the best “do or die” matchup of the Opening Rounds we have (and maybe not just this year but ever — so much talent will be on the court).  I’m excited for this one if you can’t tell — Good Luck!

Reason why Team Lev can win it all — Captain Mitchell Lev wants it more than any leader in All Sports Series.

Reason why Team Abramson can win it all — They are simply not scared of anyone. Nor should they be.

7.  Team Levin (Sarkis Cafe) v. 10. Team Teitelbaum (North Shore Turf)

Last Season Team Levin was the Cinderella story of the Regular Season.  They were one of the youngest groups in the League, in their Rookie Campaign, and knocked off a few teams to get the #6 Seed come playoff time.  Unfortunately, the team that went on to become the 2012 Champions were waiting for them in the Opening Round as the #11 seed and ended Team Levin’s playoff aspirations early.  This year they had much of the same success and I am almost more impressed with their avoidance of a Sophomore slump considering how much deeper the League is.  These guys still have another year of High School!  What could really damper their Playoff chances is that Tommy “MVP Candidate” Sutker will be MIA this Sunday.  Team Teitelbaum will surely take notice of that and try to get out in front of Team Levin early.  Speaking of Team Teitelbaum — man can those guys play Flag Football.  They dominated for the 2nd time this Season on Wednesday Night and it makes you think that if they can make a run similar to last year’s #10 Seed and get to the Championship Flag Football game they can win the whole thing.   Team Teitelbaum features Mr. 42 Zach Hilgendorf and a really nice supporting cast as well.  If they just stay within themselves and don’t press against their younger opponents they have a really strong chance of crashing the Elite 8 party as a double digit seed.

Reason why Team Levin can win it all — Patrick Ewing Theory. Look it up.

Reason why Team Teitelbaum can win it all — Zach Hilgendorf.

8. Team Deutsch (Baker Boys) v. 9. Team Watts (Sunset Foods)

This is one of the top 3 games or so that I personally cannot wait for on Sunday Night.  Both teams have all the Hoops talent in the world and it should be really fun to see which team has “THE” guy step up and say, “we’re not going home today.”  Both Team Deutsch and Team Watts just finished their Freshman year away at College and with Team Deutsch hailing from HP and Team Watts residing in Deerfield — there’s no doubt these two teams have known each other well for some time.  Last Season, Team Deutsch (playing as #12 seed Team Mordini then) took then #5 seed to the limit in the Opening Rounds Hoops game but they could just not close the deal.  Team Watts on the other hand found themselves in the 14 v. 15 Game with now #3 Seed Team Valvassori. Team Watts won that game handedly before being eliminated later in the day by Team Wilneff.  Both squads are hungry for that extended Playoff Run and one of them will at least get to the Elite 8 Softball Round.  I honestly couldn’t pick between these two teams if I wanted to. I expect a lot of 3-balls to go down and whoever commits less turnovers in the final 10 minutes of the Game to get the W.

Reason why Team Deutsch can win it all — Because I’m pretty sure no one else in the League wants to see that [Editor’s Note — other players, not me :)]

Reason why Team Watts can win it all — Nice guys can finish first too.

That’s it for the Playoff Preview — We will be back next week with to Wrap-Up the Opening Round Hoops Games and Preview the Elite 8 Round! Have a great weekend!

– Holden