2014-15 Hoops – Week 13 (Jan. 25)

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Updated: January 28, 2015

Upsets ran wild on Sunday Night!  By the time Sunday came to a close, #1, #2,#3, and #6 all went down. There are no more Undefeated Teams left and the two longest, running win-streaks were snapped as well.  Of course, that calls for an interesting Power Rankings conundrum.. More on that soon.  Here’s a Link to the Weekly Video Highlights.  Also, many of you have already voted but just as a reminder to the rest — the All-Star Ballot is officially LIVE (w/new rules) — right here!  Here’s a friendly reminder that we are OFF this coming Sunday. Enjoy the Super Bowl. One more thing before we get to the Power Rankings.. The marathon that is our Regular Season is nearing its final turn — there are just FIVE Weeks remaining.. With that in mind.. Want to give everyone a Reminder on how Seeding/Playoffs will work:

1)  Every Team makes the Triple Elimination Playoff Bracket.

2) Teams seeded #1 through #4 essentially get a bye in the Opening Round while Teams seeded #13 through #16 start the Playoffs with 1-Loss already.  That Leaves Teams seeded #5 through #12 to play in the Opening Round.

2a) The Four Regular-Season Division Champs being seeded #1 through #4. Unless..

2b) If a Team who finishes in 2nd in their Division finishes with the 2nd or 3rd Best Record in the League they will be seeded above the Division Winners with worse Records. Note: This can only happen twice so the lowest a Division Winner can be Seeded is #6.

Recap:  You want to be in the Top4 and be out of the Bottom4 before the Playoffs start.  Here’s a Link to the Playoff Bracket.  (Yes, it’s reminiscent of the Bracket from Baseketball).

Ok Let’s Rank ’em!

Power Rankings:

1. Team Maione (Biaggi’s Blue) – 12-1, 1st in West Division

They did not win. Team Hernandez, who has been touted for having serious talent all season long, squeaked out the upset 82-81.  First time since last season’s Championship Game that Team Maione didn’t win their Hoops League Game.  But you know what?  When you rattle off 12 in a row to begin the season.. You earn yourselves a little cushion.. So Team Maione will remain at #1 in the Power Rankings.. Let’s look at the big picture. They won’t have the “undefeated dream season” — Championships are not won in the Regular Season however.. More often than not, a Team like this one, will rally around the Loss and come back improved (see #2 Team Lalez below).  They will not have to shoulder the burden of the Undefeated Season any longer and can now use the final 5 weeks to get just right for Playoff Time.  There are several Teams nipping at them to claim the top spot in both the Power Rankings and the Standings — it’s going to be an exciting ride at the top to close the season.

2. Team Lalez (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 11-2, 1st in South Division

After their brief slide, it didn’t take the Defending Champs long to pop right back up into the Top2.  They’ve put together two wins in a row with the latter against Team Kozin being one of their more impressive wins to date. The Accelerated Game of the Week has repeatedly delivered all season and their contest Sunday became another highlight this season.  The battles in the paint between those two squads were just incredible.. If (when) these two meet come March or April — fireworks will be in store.  These Guys are getting back to full strength after an undermanned beginning to 2015 and it’s at the perfect time to make a surge for the #1 spot in both the Power Rankings and Standings before the Regular Season comes to a close.  While they are in a great spot and control much of their own fate they do not have any room for error as it has become very crowded atop the Standings.  Team Zimmerman sits just 1 Game back with that blockbuster rematch still looming.. The Defending Champs are looking great going into the Super Bowl break.

3. Team Harris (Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.) – 11-2, 1st in North Division

Much like Team Maione, Team Harris earned some “room for error” when it comes to the Top 3 in the Power Rankings.  For those up in arms — they won 11 of their first 12 and 8 in a row coming into Sunday.  Their Game on Sunday Night says way more about Team Schwartz than it provides any insight on Team Harris.   Truthfully, this should do nothing more than just rattle Team Harris’ cage a bit and get them amped for the stretch run.. The Playoffs are a completely different beast than the Playoffs.  No one is getting through them without a few bumps.. It’s good for Team Harris to experience “bouncing back” — and against strong competition — that’s exactly what they’ll get the chance to do when we return on Feb. 8.  They’ll make up one half of the Accelerated Game of the Week with Team Horwitz.

4. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Orange) – 10-3, 2nd in South Division

At first glance, Team Zimmerman, will likely have the biggest beef with this Week’s Rankings.  With all of the turmoil near the top of the Power Rankings this Sunday — they likely feel they should have moved up a bit more.  Their current 5-Game Win Streak is now the longest active streak in the League.  So what gives?  Nothing really.  The Teams that lost near the top of the mountain earned a bit slack and they cashed in this week.. However, everyone is ripe to be toppled now and it seems as if Team Zimmerman is ready to do just that. When we return from the Super Bowl, they are going to face a real test in Team Kozin.. On paper, both Teams matchup in the size department but it will likely come down to who can assert their will on the block.  Unless, Esto Vega or Kyle Nelson put up 40 again, which he is capable of doing on any given sunday.  Their schedule will be tough to close the season but they are so dialed in right now, it might not matter who stands across from them.

5. Team Horwitz (Esser Hayes Insurance Co.) – 9-4, 2nd in West Division

Didn’t have their best stuff on Sunday Night.  Team Shamberg did… Team Horwitz was #3 last week and similar to #1 and #2 they Lossed and took a bit of a dip in the Power Rankings as a result.. Now, they were without a few key guys — including League Leading scorer – Alan Tucci. It’s probably fair to just discard this one and move on for Team Horwitz.. They’ve shown everyone what they are capable of and as Sunday Night’s Games proved.. No one is perfect.  Getting back in the Win column will not be an easy feat however as they will return after the Super Bowl in the Accelerated Game of the Week against Team Harris.

6. Team Goldin (Cy Fredrics) – 8-5, 1st in East Division

Team Goldin is getting healthy and just in time.. They welcomed Dominic Lopez back to the lineup on Sunday and right off the bat he showed off why he was missed so much — he provides another versatile option on the wing which really allows Team Goldin to space the floor and properly use their talented bigs down low.  Soon enough, Alex Filin will also return to the court and these guys will be at full strength — a scary notion for the rest of the League — considering they’re leading their division after what seems like months of playing short-handed.  They are Playoff-ready and Playoff-tested.. This is not a Team anyone will want to see in March and April.  They send people home for good..

7. Team Shamberg (Muchacha Salsa Silver) – 6-7, 2nd in North Division

Shhhh… Don’t look now but they’ve won 4 of their last 5 and simply put.. They are coming for you.

8. Team Kozin (Theory) – 7-6, 2nd in East Division

Over the course of a Season, there’s usually a few Games that can go either way for each Team and more often than not they end up equalling out in the end… Through 13 weeks of the Season, Team Kozin has suffered more than their fair share of Losses in Games that could of (and maybe should have) been Ws.  They could easily be 10-3.  However, as it sits right now, they are 7-6 after a tough one against Defending Champs Team Lalez.  It’s mentioned above in Team Lalez’s section but it bares repeating — when these two squads get together it’s just a different animal.. There’s so much going on in the paint and so much talent spread out through the two Teams that it’s just incredibly fun to watch.  They’ll meet again come Playoff time, and maybe more than once.. Team Kozin will have a chance to get redemption.

9. Team Schwartz (Greater Than) – 4-9, 4th in West Division

Let’s recap here — Team Schwartz started off 0-7.  Not good.  Since then, they are 4-2.  Very good.  Which is the real Team Schwartz?  The latter.  For the first couple of months of the Season, it was repeatedly said, they are better than their record, they need time to incorporate the new offensive weapons, they hustle too much to not start getting bounces, the ball will eventually stay down.. You know what?  It was all true.  Obviously, not everything said here comes to fruition, but when it does, you are going to hear about it!  It’s not just that they are winning — they are beating the League’s elite. They defeated Team Harris on Sunday Night and it just shows that they are going to be awfully dangerous when the Playoffs start.. They’ll face fellow up and comers Team Shamberg when we are back after the Super Bowl.

10. Team Bernkopf (Stems) – 5-8, 3rd in East Division

Remember the “up down” tapes in high school?  When they made everyone do the crunches test?  “Up.” “Down.” “Up.” “Down.” — Welp, that’s Team Bernkopf right now.  This was an “up” week which is obviously a good thing.. What they have to do now is get away from the pattern of going up and down.. They need to string together a few Ws here come Playoff time.. It seems they finally have their rotations in order and they had their best offensive showing of the season on Sunday Night.  They are a scary group when they can get the ball to go in the basket consistently.  Everything else shows up for them each week.  The rest of the League certainly does not want to see them get on a roll.

11. Team Apuli (iShot Mounts) – 6-7, 3rd in West Division

Ran into a much different “Team Elrod” crew than was expected and dropped a close one.  Can’t/Won’t make too much of this one.. What can certainly be said.. Their size is very real.  It might take a couple weeks to get the bigs comfortable with each other once again but it’s hard to imagine Dan Stone and Kyle Daniels not wreaking havoc come Playoff time.

12. Team Hernandez (Kelly Parker Home Collective) – 4-9, 3rd in North Division

Now holders of the “biggest upset of the season” award.. Team Hernandez put the whole League on notice Sunday Night when they took down the Undefeated Team Maione 82-81. Shout out to Christian James who hit a fall-away long-2 to give them the lead for good with a couple seconds left on Sunday Night (pictured above).  For those who don’t often read the Team Hernandez section, but are checking in to see what they are all about after the big win, here’s what you need to know — They are a Free Agent Team who met for the first time during Week 1.  Tons of talent but obviously needed time to get to know one another.  Dave Altman has been a true force for them as one of the League Leaders in scoring.  They picked up a couple big wins early in the Season but they have a big roster and the rotations got pretty out of whack during the middle portion of the season.  They had a few guys only able to play in the first half of the season and added some new blood for the second half.. The new guys have started clicking with the old core and what’s left now is a group that is so, so much better than it’s record..  If the Power Rankings were a complete week to week thing with no input from past weeks — Team Hernandez would have been near or even at the top this week. They have that much talent.  Fair warning to everyone — they are really good.

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order)

Team Elrod (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Navy) – 2-11, 4th in North Division

Winnnnnnnners.  Got a little help some friends but at the end of the day the streak has been snapped and they can now focus on more important issues — like climbing out of the Bottom 4 in the Standings during the final 5-weeks of the Regular Season.  They are at 2-11 right now, tied with Team Shaffer in 15th.  They sit just 2 Games back of Teams who are outside of the Bottom 4 and they’ll play a couple of those Teams who are within their grasp down the stretch.. If they can take care of business, their Playoff dreams will be in much better shape.

Team Holzman (Benjamin & Shapiro Law) – 4-9, 4th in East Division

A week after exploding on the offensive end they did a 180 and gave up a bunch of points on the defensive end.. Team Zimmerman putting up a bunch of points is not a new thing and not something to get down about.  Their focus, like so many teams in the bottom half of the Standings is to just stay out of the Bottom4 prior to the start of the Playoffs.  That extra Loss can breathe new life into playoff runs and it will be crucial in their wanted Cinderella run.. They sent teams home a year ago in a familiar spot.. They will not be afraid of anyone.

Team Levitan (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Maroon) – 3-10, 3rd in South Division

See Below in Team Shaffer section.

Team Shaffer (Muchacha Salsa Black) – 2-11, 4th in South Division

Taking these South Division squads together this week.. Both are on very similar paths right now.. They are out of the South race as two of the best teams in the League are their division-mates — Team Lalez and Team Zimmerman.  Both have struggled in the W/L columns as of late as well.  They both have a rough road down the final weeks of the season, as all Teams will finish against the Teams in their divisions.. So they’ll eventually lock horns once again with a potential Bottom4 spot on the line.. So what does this all mean?  The time is now.  When we get back from the Super Bowl break, they have to shake everything off and get back to what got the Ws early in the season. There are winnable Games to be had.. They just have to take them.

 

That’s it for this Week.. Enjoy the Super Bowl and see everyone on Feb. 8!

– Holden