2014-15 Hoops – Week 15 (Feb. 15)

Updated: February 19, 2015

Week 15. Done.  Each Team has now taken on every other Team in the League and all that remains in the grueling Regular Season is one more run through of Division Games.. In just 3 short weeks we will be seeded and ready for the Playoffs!  Before we get into this Week’s Rankings — here’s the Weekly Highlight Video 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! Only a few weeks left to VOTE.  OK Let’s Rank ‘Em! 

Power Rankings

1. Team Maione (Biaggi’s Blue) – 14-1, 1st in West Division

Let’s chalk up a short-handed, come from behind, OT Win in the c0-Accelerated Game of the Week against top-flight squad Team Harris to the unbelievable Regular Season Resume #1 Team Maione has put together.  It seems no matter who they are missing or who they are playing.. they are going to come out on top. When the clock was ticking down in Regulation Bradley Deutsch stepped up and hit a huge 3-ball to tie it up and that shot would eventually force OT.  In OT, they grabbed hold of a lead in the final seconds at the Free Throw Line when Mikey Weisberg sunk one of the most clutch Free Throws of the Season.  It has been unbelievable to see them win 14 of their first 15.. They already locked a up the West Division crown — which is another testament to them because over the past month or so the West has established itself as the strongest Division in the League (showcased this week by having 3 of the Top6 and all 4 Teams in the Top9).  If they can repeat their West Division sweep from the opening Weeks of the Season they will be the #1 Seed entering the Playoffs.

2. Team Lalez (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 13-2, 1st in South Division

Still hot on the heels of Team Maione is the Defending Champs Team Lalez..  That weird start to 2015 seems awfully far back in the rear view at this point as they’ve now won 4 in a row. There’s so many great performances week after week that sometimes some can get lost in the shuffle.. Just want to make sure everyone is aware of how Team Lalez won their latest — they were down 52-40 with about 9 minutes to go..  They scored the final TWENTY TWO points of the Game and won 62-52.  It was incredible and a reminder to everyone that to get the Crown, you are going to have to go through the Champs.

3. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Orange) – 12-3, 2nd in South Division

It’s been a long road back to the Top3 for Team Zimmerman.. Some may say it’s been long over-due and they may be right.. Their last Loss was all the way back on Dec. 7, 2014.. It’s the longest winning streak in the League. What’s most important is that they are still just a Game out for the South Division with the Team Lalez Rematch looming to finish the Season.   The South’s race is going to be the most interesting Division race to close the Season.  Both top teams will be favored to win their next couple of Games but will won look too far down the road?  They’ll have to take care of business each and every week..  For those who may be questioning what’s the real difference.. Well, when reseeding takes place during early rounds of the Playoffs the difference between the #2 and #3 seeds is potentially a giant one, especially if there are upsets.. There are always upsets.

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

When Team Harris looks back upon the Regular Season they will not have many instances where they feel they let one get away.. Sunday Night, however, they had the #1 Team on the ropes and it slipped through their finger tips.  They controlled most of their contest with Team Maione on Sunday Night and it seemed like they were primed to get the biggest win to date (in a season of several big wins).. With 30 seconds to go in regulation Team Maione tied it up with a big 3 and then Team Maione capitalized in the OT session.  Team Harris, sitting at 12-3, has two losses by a combined 7 points to last year’s Championship Game combatants (Teams Lalez and Maione) as well as an 0ff-night against the surging Team Schwartz a couple weeks ago.. They are the real deal and a loss like the one on Sunday Night will fuel them to more post-season success..

5. Team Horwitz (Esser Hayes Insurance Co.) – 10-5, 2nd in West Division

Back in the Top5 is Team Horwitz who have been at or near the top tier all season long. It’s great to see them get their mojo back as they had dropped a couple in a row.. They have the entire West gauntlet to close the season and it’s one of the hardest stretches anyone will go through all season.. They have a chance to grab hold of a few more signature Ws in the final 3 weeks of the Regular Season but they’ll need to play their best in order to avoid backing into the post-season.  Simply put, when these guys are on, they may have the most Offensive fire-power in the League.  When the calendar turns to Playoff season — they’ll need to win Games by getting stops.. Expect them to start turning that facet on in right about now..

6. Team Schwartz (Greater Than) – 6-9, 4th in West Division

For those sitting their saying, “wait, wait, wait, wait.. they are 6-9.. How are they #6 right now?” — Here’s your answer — They have the second longest win-streak in the League right now.. 5 in a row.  They have beaten tough Teams during that streak and frankly if you were to throw out records and just went with current playing-level.. They’d be even higher.  They have re-found their magic that they possessed a year ago when they were the best Defensive bunch in the League and a Team no one wanted to see in the Playoffs.  Frankly, they are a dark horse to win the whole thing and to not have them up this high would just be wrong.  They have an impossibly tough final three weeks of the Regular Season.. But, the way they are playing right now, they’ll walk into any Game expecting to win.

7. Team Goldin (Cy Fredrics) – 9-6, 1st in East Division

Even though they were undermanned, they outplayed the Defending Champs, for the first 35 minutes of their Game on Sunday Night. It was going to be their biggest win of the season and a nice taste of redemption after many Playoff run-ins a year ago..  Then the script flipped.. It was just not to be.  Team Lalez went on a tear down the stretch and Team Goldin could just not get the ball to stay down.  They were getting looks, just not capitalizing on them.. To turn this into a positive section — they are still in first of the East.. They’re up a Game on Team Kozin — who just happens to be their opponent next Sunday Night — a Team that they dropped a Week 1 battle to.  They have all the opportunity in the world right in front of them, so no time to dwell.  If they win on Sunday, they’ll more or less lock-up the East and assure themselves at least a Top 6 seed in the Playoffs.. Have to get the W.

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

Speaking of Team Kozin.. They looked great on Sunday Night.. The pattern has held true.  When they can get the entire squad to FFC on Sunday Nights they are almost too tough for anyone to handle.. However, they have struggled with roster consistency as it’s usually a different 6-7 of their 9-man rotation.. This usually leads to slow starts and allows the other Teams to get comfortable/confident against them.  It’s been said many times in the past month or so.. They are far better than the 8th best Team in the League.  They and everyone else know they are true Championship contenders and over the next few weeks they’ll show it.. That all starts this Sunday with a Game that directly impacts the East Division title and who will wind up with a top notch seed come March.  Going to be a fun Rematch on Sunday Night.

9. Team Apuli (iShot Mounts) – 7-8, 3rd in West Division

Their Game with Team Shamberg on Sunday Night was one that many top Teams should have been keeping an eye on.. Which is hard to do with several of the top ranked Teams facing one another — however, the Apuli/Shamberg Game showcased just how much talent those Top Teams are going to go up against in the opening rounds of the Playoffs.  This Game had immediate seeding implications in the middle of the Playoff seedings and Team Apuli came out with the W.  Their are few guys that really can ignite a Team and seemingly take the squad to another level — but that is exactly what Eddie Tellez brings to Team Apuli.. It was on display again on Sunday Night.  He makes the whole group better and with a crew who wants to get out and run he knows where to find people and how to get them involved.  Captain Justin’s Team is going to make some top Teams pay in March.. It’s just a matter of who and how many..

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

Dropping one to Team Zimmerman is nothing to get down about. They are clearly in the upper echelon of Teams in the League. If you dig a little deeper though you’ll see that Team Bernkopf’s Offensive is still continue to grow and just in time. They have always been great on the Defensive end as they so badly want to win.  Getting Zach Bulwa back in the fray is making everyone a more dangerous offensive player and that will continue to develop as the Regular Season comes to a close.  They have a couple tough tests left in the East Division but with that comes some great opportunity to make a few statements before the second season starts.

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

They are going to be one of the more interesting Teams to watch.. We’ve seen them take down the top Teams — like dealing Team Maione their only Loss — and they’ve fallen to others who are out of the Rankings all together.  The key to an elongated playoff run is consistency..  Their best is as good as anyones.. They just need to bring their best every week.   In 3 weeks it’s officially go-time but they need to start bringing that now as they are right on the brink of the Bottom-4.  Remember the Bottom-4 Teams will start the Playoffs with a Loss.  They do own the head to head tiebreaker with Team Holzman who they are currently knotted up with for the 12th (and final No-Loss spot) entering the Playoffs.. Have to keep an eye out here.

12. Team Holzman (Benjamin & Shapiro Law) – 5-10, 4th in East Division

.. As mentioned above, with their Win this week, they’ve pulled into a tie with Team Hernandez for the final spot outside of the Bottom4 seeds for the Playoffs.  The Bottom4 will start the Playoffs with a Loss already tacked on.  Team Holzman is no stranger to that role though as they started with a lower seed last year and then went on to upset a few Teams during their Playoff run.  Team Holzman lost head to head to Team Hernandez during the Regular Season which means they’ll still need a little help to climb all the way out of the Bottom4. Team Shamberg and Team Bernkopf sit at 6-9, a full game ahead, but are still within striking distance as well.. They certainly could use a hot finish to the regular season.

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical)

Team Elrod (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Navy) – 2-13, 4th in North Division

Scheduling snafu means the Commish owes them one.

Team Levitan (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Maroon) – 3-12, 3rd in South Division

Had many regulars out this week and their subs filled in admirably but they couldn’t get the W against Team Holzman.  Team Levitan is a crafty bunch that should benefit from playing their Division foes a second time.  Also, think they’ve got a Playoff W or two ahead of them.

Team Shaffer (Muchacha Salsa Black) – 2-13, 4th in South Division

Team Kozin showed off their full arsenal on Sunday Night and when that happens there’s not much anyone in the League can do to stop them.  On to the next one.  They have two top Teams in the next two weeks — Lalez and Zimmerman — before closing out with an important Game against Team Levitan.  Listen, we reseed in the Playoffs.. That means upsets can really throw things for a loop and Teams that are seeded higher will benefit — even if it’s a 14 seed compared to a 15 seed.  These games matter.

Team Shamberg (Muchacha Salsa Silver) – 6-9, 2nd in North Division

Team Shamberg should really be ranked at this point of the season and this is more of an issue of having no where to put them because Teams behind them won than an indictment on their play as of late.  They dropped a tough game against the hottest team in the League on Sunday (Team Schwartz) and they could have pulled it out.  They’ve established themselves as one of the better Teams in the North Division during 2015 and they’ll have an opportunity to notch a couple more Ws before the Calendar turns to do or die time.

That’s it for this Week. See ya next Sunday!

– Holden