2014-15 Hoops – Week 14 (Feb. 8)

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Updated: February 11, 2015

The Chicago Hoops League started 115 days ago (from posting of the article) — a lot has changed since Oct. 19, 2014 but so, so much is still left to be determined.. The Playoffs are in sight and we have a sprint of just 4 Regular Season Weeks remaining before the second season starts on Sunday March 15.  This Week’s Rankings are going to take a dive into what is still in store for each Team over the final 4-Week stretch.. This coming Sunday will be the last non-Divisional Games of the Season, so tons of shake-ups in the Standings could be in store.. Before we get to that, 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!  OK Let’s Rank ‘Em!

Power Rankings

1. Team Maione (Biaggi’s Blue) – 13-1, 1st in West Division

Back to their winning ways and now it’s very easy to tout that they rattled off 13 of their first 14 this year.. The continue to find different ways to get Ws..  This week was a bit tighter than many would have predicted but again, they found a way..

They’ll finish up against #3 Team Harris (one of this Week’s co-Accelerated Games of the Week and what may be the highest scoring Game of the Season) before moving on to a tough Division slate to finish the Season — Team Schwartz then Team Horwitz and they finish against Team Apuli..

They’ll have to fight to keep that #1 spot/seed over the final stretch — they have one of the toughest schedules to close out the year and it’s going to be interesting to see if they can go on another winning streak and take it into the Playoffs.

2.  Team Lalez (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 12-2, 1st in South Division

After starting 2015 on a rocky note, Team Lalez has regained their old form and rattled of 3 straight Ws.. They still have their sights set on the #1 Seed and as outlined before it’s more than feasible they can catapult into that spot down the final stretch.. However, they have Teams breathing down their neck as well..

To close the season they will go toe to toe with Team Goldin (the other co-Accelerated Games of the Week) and then they wrap-up against the competitive South Division — Team Shaffer, Team Levitan (who took them to the brink to begin the season) and their last contest is against Team Zimmerman with a potential South Division title on the line.

Team Lalez can finish as high as #1 going into the Playoffs but can dip to as low as the #4 seed.. Certainly an interesting road ahead..

3. Team Harris (Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.) – 12-2, 1st in North Division

Team Harris got another huge W on Sunday Night.  It’s been a season full of impressive performances as seemingly week after week they turn away new tests.. They battled with Team Horwitz on Sunday Night in an offensive affair and they simply ran away with it in the second half.  They are looking primed for an extended run this Spring.

As for finishing out the year — as mentioned above they will take part in one of the co-Accelerated Games of the Week against #1 Team Maione in what could really be a classic — most importantly they have a chance to pull into a tie for 1st place in the Standings and would have the head to head tiebreaker over Team Maione.. A lot is at stake this coming Sunday.. Then they move onto the North Division where they opened up the season 3-0.  Those Teams have gotten much stronger though as the season has moved along.. It’ll be Team Hernandez, than Team Elrod and finally Team Shamberg to close the season..

4. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Orange) – 11-3, 2nd in South Division

You know what’s nuts?  This crew is 11-3 and has beaten some of the best the League has to offer and they are still looking up in the Standings to three different Teams. Shows how loaded the top of the Hoops League truly is.. They won a big one against Team Kozin on Sunday Night.  Another great W.. They’ve looked just great in 2015.

As far as the rest of their schedule goes — They have a feisty and improving Team Bernkopf squad before heading into the South Divisional Games to close out the year.. They’ll face Team Levitan then Team Shaffer and then the big one.. The Rematch.. They end the season against Team Lalez with a potential Division title on the line and more importantly a higher seed come Playoff Time.  #Can’tWait. #BartScott.

5. Team Goldin (Cy Fredrics) – 9-5, 1st in East Division

Team Goldin has won a couple in a row and it looks like they are raring to go for another extended run into April.  Remember, this is the Team that finished in 3rd place last season and if a couple possessions went in their direction they would have been competing for the Championship. They’ve been banged up and dropped a couple Games so their record may not seem as “elite’ as the other top squads but make no mistake.. they are one of the favorites for the crown.

Their final 4 weeks go like this — this coming week in one of the co-Accelerated Games of the Week with Team Lalez — a Rematch that many have been waiting almost a calendar year for.. Then they close out against the East.  A division that they hold a two game lead in over Team Kozin, which is who they play in 2 weeks.. If they win that one, the division will be theirs.. Then the final two games are against Team Holzman and finally Team Bernkopf. Lots left to do for these guys but they have what it takes to close out on a strong note.

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

They are coming off two losses in a row — a rarity for these guys — as they’ve fallen out of the Top 5 for the first time in seemingly forever.. Here’s the positive — each top team has one throw a small skid this year and each has bounced back.. Team Horwitz has beaten some of the best in the League and are capable of doing so come March and April.

In their last 4 weeks they’ll face — Team Elrod to close out the non-division schedule and they’ll dive into another round of the South Division starting with Team Apuli, then a big one against Team Maione and they’ll finish against Team Schwartz. Not an easy road to the finish but they will certainly be prepped for the Playoffs.

7. Team Schwartz (Greater Than) – 5-9, 4th in West Division

Know who holds the second longest winning streak in the League right now?  Well it’s Team Schwartz.. They just won their 4th in a row on Sunday Night by defeating the also hot Team Shamberg.  It seems like a distant memory at this point but these guys started 2014 with seven straight Ls.  They’ve gone 5-2 since then and have shown what they are truly made of (and look a lot more like the tough team from last year).. They’ll be the first to admit it took them a bit longer than they wanted or expected to get going and correctly infuse the new talent but now that they have.. Well they are playing some of the best ball out there right now.. Their record may not be among the League’s best come Playoff time but they have ejected themselves from the Bottom 4 and are going to be a real hard out come March and April.

As for finishing the season — They have the improving Team Hernandez squad next week and then head into the West Division.. Team Maione, then Team Apuli and finally Team Horwitz to finish the season.  The West is tough.  However, they are as hot as anyone and they still have wins in front of them.

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

Dropped this one to Team Zimmerman — which 10 other Teams also did this season. No reason to dwell on that.  Their record is at .500 but everyone knows Team Kozin is still one to be reckoned with and they are a group NO ONE wants to see with their seasons on the line.

To finish it out they’ll face Team Shaffer this coming week before heading into the East Division for another go around.. They’ll take on Team Goldin (who they defeated in Week 1 and with their division title hopes still in the balance), then it’s Team Bernkopf and finally Team Holzman who they owe some retribution.. Would love to see them get on a roll before the Playoffs and they certainly can.

9. Team Bernkopf (Stems) – 6-8, 3rd in East Division

As we ge to the bottom half of the Rankings there’s a lot more intrigue come Playoff Seeding — up top, while they are still jockeying for position they all know they are winding up with a top seed.. Here in the middle, there’s a much larger swing, and one that can really impact Championship chances.  Team Bernkopf, is chalk full of All Sports Series vets and they know now is the time to turn it on.. They’ve on two in a row and show no signs of slowing down.

Next week they’ll face a tough, tough Team Zimmerman squad before entering another round of East Division Games — They’ll face Team Holzman then Team Kozin and finally Team Goldin — with this final slate Team Bernkopf good go 4-0 or 0-4. It’s not an easy road but if they can scrape together a couple wins here their Playoffs lives will likely live a lot longer.

10. Team Hernandez (Kelly Parker Home Collective) – 5-9 – 3rd in North Division

Team Hernandez got another Win, making 2 in a row, and they’ve seemingly turned the corner.. This Free Agent squad has had a bunch of talent all along and they’ve infused some more as we’ve gone on this season. More importantly, they’ve figured out how to play together and they are another Team that come Playoff time are going to be playing above what their record shows.

To end 2014-15, they’ll face the streaking Team Schwartz in what could end up being the best game of the night and then they head to the North Division for another go around with Team Harris then Team Shamberg and finally Team Elrod.  If they take care of business they’ll stay out of the Bottom 4 and have a real shot of making a serious run into April.

11. Team Shamberg (Muchacha Salsa Silver) – 6-8, 2nd in North Division

Finally dropped one on Sunday but it was to the surging Team Schwartz — nothing to be alarmed about. Team Shamberg is for real and they are going to be around a while come March.

To close out the season they’ll take on Team Apuli next week and then it’s another run through of the North.. Team Elrod, then Team Hernandez and they close against Team Harris.. They should be able to go at least .500 here and if they do they’ll fall right around the 10-12 seed range (a prime opening round upset candidate).

12. Team Apuli (iShot Mounts) – 6-8, 3rd in West Division

Like with any League, scheduling matters, and even more so in the Hoops League — where you get some Teams twice and the majority only once.. The long season usually leads to the scheduling quirks evening itself out but its hard to look past Team Apuli and their uncanny ability of getting Teams at their absolute best.. Every Team goes throw bumps and bruises and has needed subs at one point or another.. It just seems Team Apuli catches everyone at their peak performance.  So what does that mean?  Well, as said earlier, things usually have a way of working itself out so they might be gifted something come Playoff time.  Either way they are still right in the thick of everything and aren’t in danger of falling into the Bottom 4.  They are better than their record indicates.

Their last 4 Games start with Team Shamberg next Sunday and then they head into another go of it with the rough West Division.. In order it’s Team Horwitz, Team Schwartz and then Team Maione.. They may have the toughest slate of games remaining.. Again, things have a way of evening out and they are sure due for some scheduling gifts.

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical)

Team Elrod (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Navy) – 2-12, 4th in North Division

Got down big against Team Maione but didnt pack it in and actually made it just a 3pt Game down the wire.. They are improving and next for them is to learn how to just win baby. They are there now.. They are playing better and it’s coming at the right time.

To close the season they face Team Horwitz before diving back into the North Division.. It’ll be Team Shamberg in a rematch of their epic Week 1 clash, then Team Harris and finally Team Hernandez.. The North has surely gotten stronger as the Season has waged on.. It’ll be a great measuring stick for them before heading into the Playoffs.

Team Holzman (Benjamin & Shapiro Law) – 4-10,  4th in East Division

Lost to the Defending Champs last week.. so has everyone else more or less.. nothing to really dig into with that one..

To close the season they’ll take on Team Levitan (a key Game with Bottom4 implications) and then head out to the East again where they’ll collide with Team Bernkopf then Team Goldin and finally Team Kozin who will be looking for some pay back from Week 3. If they can get hot, they can still climb out of the Bottom4.

Team Levitan (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Maroon) – 3-11, 3rd in South Division

It looked as if they were poised to upset Team Goldin but they just couldn’t quite hold on.. It’s evident in the scores of their Games among the top Teams — they can play with anyone!

2014-15 will close with them playing Team Holzman before entering the tough South Division to take on Team Zimmerman, then the Defending Champs Team Lalez (who they could have beaten back in Week 2) and then finally Team Shaffer.

Team Shaffer (Muchacha Salsa Black) – 2-12, 4th in South Division

Forget the record. These guys need to just take the next 4 weeks and figure out their rotations.. They have talent and honestly they can play with anyone for 44 minutes.  That’s got to be their mentality heading into each game now.. Forget resumes and what’s happened in the past.. For the next 44 minutes they have to believe they are better than the guys standing across from them.

Their last four Games will be against Team Kozin and then they too run the tough South gambit — first will be Defending Champs Team Lalez and then the tough Team Zimmerman and finally Team Levitan which could have real seeding implications.

 

That’s it for this week, see everyone at the gym on Sunday! Have a great weekend.

Holden