2014-15 Hoops – Week 16 (Feb. 22)

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Updated: February 26, 2015

It’s time.  Well, it’s almost time.  But that in itself means it’s time.  Still with me?  Coming out of last Sunday Night there are just two weeks left in the marathon that is the Regular Season.. What does that mean?  It means it’s time to take a deep dive into Playoff Scenarios.. They will obviously be clearer in a week’s time but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start painting that picture..  A few Divisions will have crystal clear portraits while others got even murkier on Sunday Night.  More to come in the Rankings..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.  ONLY A COUPLE WEEKS LEFT TO VOTE! 

Playoff Seeding Reminder

1)  All 16 Teams 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 are assured a Top 6 seed.

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.

Power Rankings

1. Team Maione (Biaggi’s Blue) – 15-1 , Clinched 1st in West Division 

They put an end to the second longest winning streak in the League on Sunday Night. They climbed out to multiple 20 point leads but Team Schwartz kept fighting back to make it interesting.. When all was said and done Sunday Night, Team Maione left the gym keeping the best record in the League and the inside track to the #1 Seed come March 15 when the Playoffs tip-off.  They clinched the West Division which turned out to be the toughest in the League and did it with weeks remaining on the calendar.. Shows just how great they’ve been.. They can’t rest now as Team Lalez is still just a Game back and then there’s Team Zimmerman and Team Harris sitting at two games back (with two to play)..  However, when you start factoring in tiebreakers, which Team Maione owns in head to head over all of those Teams — you are looking at the probable #1 seed.

2. Team Lalez (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 14-2, 1st in South Division

Team Lalez has rattled off 5 in a row and they’ve needed to win all of them to keep hold of their Division lead in the South.  Team Zimmerman is breathing down their necks with the longest win-streak in the League, sitting just a game back and impending Week 18 clash.. Here’s where they stand for the Playoffs — they’ll need Team Maione to drop the final 2 and to also go 2-0 in order to get the #1 seed — while they can surely win their last two, it would be hard to imagine Team Maione dropping two straight to close the Regular Season.. Then Team Lalez holds the head to head tie breaker with Team Harris (and currently) with Team Zimmerman (again rematch pending).  So if they take care of business you are looking at the likely #2 seed. They’ve locked up a Top 4 seed though and will get that bye in the Opening Round of the Playoffs.  Team Lalez could potentially be winners of 6 straight and Team Zimmerman could be winners of 9 straight by the time they meet in two weeks.. Both need to take take care of business next week however.. The South Division will come down to the final day of the Season.

3. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Orange) – 13-3, 2nd in South Division

8 straight.  That’s no joke in this League.  Again, they haven’t lost since the beginning of December.  They are peaking at just the right time.. It’s recapped above but the South Division can and will likely come down to the Regular Season’s final day as Team Zimmerman and Team Lalez will have their much talked about rematch in Week 18.  For Team Zimmerman, there’s a big swing in potential seeding that can take place in the next couple of weeks.. If they take care of business and go 2-0 they could wind up with the #2 seed when the Playoffs tip.. However, due to tiebreakers, it’s still possible for them to wind up outside of the Top4 all together.  If they stay on their roll this Sunday, they can lock that Top 4 spot up though.

4. Team Harris (Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.) – 13-3, Clinched 1st in North Division

Team Harris has clinched the North Division (weeks ago already) and because of certain head to head wins they’ve also clinched a Top4 seed when the Playoffs start.  It’s possible they could still climb up to the #2 or #3 spot depending on how the Lalez/Zimmerman battle in the South shakes out.  It should be noted that they pulled out a tough one on Sunday Night.. It shows how much better Team Hernandez has become since the opening week of the Season.. The lead was actually changing hands into the second half when Dylan Richter decided Team Harris was going to win.. He hit 6 straight 3 pointers within a couple minute span and just simply erased all doubt who’d be victorious. One of the more impressive performances of the entire season so far.

5. Team Horwitz (Esser Hayes Insurance Co.) – 11-5, 2nd in West Division

Team Horwitz got a hard fought W on Sunday Night in a Game that felt like it was the Playoffs. Team Apuli brought it as well.  Rematches do that type of thing.. Alan Tucci went off. again.  They are likely going to be the #5 Seed come Playoff time.  They are two back of the Teams currently sitting in 3rd and 4th but would drop the tiebreakers to each even if they can pull into a tie.. They also have carved out a two game lead over both Teams in the East Division (currently sitting at 6 and 7).. So, with one more W they’ll lock up the #5 seed.  Some would consider that a bitter pill to swallow as they will just miss out on the Top4 bye, however, being 5th is still better than the next 11 seeds.. With reseeding, the higher the seed, the bigger the benefit when upsets happen.. And upsets will happen.. This is a tremendous spot to be in for this Team’s first Playoff run.

6. Team Kozin (Theory) – 9-7, tied for 1st in East Division

Arguably their biggest W of the Season on Sunday Night.  Not only did they pull into a tie for the East Division (which has been a long journey back) but they finished 2-0 vs. Team Goldin on the season and now they totally control their own fate when it comes to the Division crown.. Two more Ws and they will lock up at least the #6 seed which is a great spot for them to make a run.. This group is all about having confidence and forcing their style of play on the opposition. Case in point last Sunday Night. It’s been said here many times over.. But, it bares repeating — Team Kozin’s best, may be better than anyone else’s best in the League.  It’s a scary thought for the rest of the Teams to see them humming now at the end of the season..

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

Right now would be a good time to remind everyone that Team Goldin has been shorthanded since the calendar turned to 2015 and they should be back to full strength just in time for the Playoffs.  This is also a good time to remind everyone that they finished 3rd last year and had a few possessions gone differently would have been competing for the Championship.  That being said, they lost one on Sunday Night that could have kept them alive for a Top 5 seed. As everything stands now it seems they will fall into the the #7 seed when the Playoffs begin.  There are a few teams trailing them by 2 games a piece with two to play so Team Goldin still needs a W to lock up the #7 spot.. It’s also not crazy to think that Team Kozin could drop a Game in the final two weeks and then Team Goldin could jump them as well.. Either way they’ll head into their Opening Round Game as the favorites.

8. Team Schwartz (Greater Than) – 6-10, 4th in West Division

All good things must come to an end.. Their winning streak was snapped by Team Maione on Sunday night but what came from that Game is more important than a Regular Season winning streak.. In the game’s final moments, they were right there.. With a couple more stops they could have handed the 15-1 Team Maione only their 2nd Loss of the Regular Season.  Team Schwartz is playing really, really well right now and they have been for a while.. Austin Brown kept them alive on Sunday Night, as they fell victim to big deficits a couple different times, and his 3ball shot them right back into the Game.  Jason Vismantas was sorely missed as the interior presence on the Defensive end could have been all the difference..  The next two weeks may be more important for Team Schwartz than any other in the League.. They are not out of the woods in terms of the Bottom4 just yet.. If the season ended today, they’d be seeded #11 — yes, out of the Bottom4, but a battle with whoever finishes #6 will not be a fun start to the Playoffs.  They’ve been playing well enough to grab a couple more Ws, shoot up the Standings and come away with a much more appetizing opening round Game.  Now they just need to finish strong.

9. Team Bernkopf (Stems) – 7-9, 3rd in East Division

Big Win. They’ve assured themselves they will finish ahead of the Bottom4 which is a big, big deal.  That’s an extra life to play with in the Playoffs..  They found their rhythm offensively on Sunday Night — and when that happens they usually finish in the Winner’s circle. The story is the same for them.. They bring it on Defense, hustle, and usually play within themselves.. They just need to make buckets. Sunday Night they did.  With some help, they could end up finishing at #6 technically and still are not mathematically out of the East Division.. They control their own fate, as they’ll play the two Teams atop the East to close the Season.. Wins in both of those Games could give them a share of the East Division lead, if Team Holzman can help them out and finish 2-0 down the stretch as well.. Right now they are pegged for the #9 seed which is probably a bit more likely, but either way they are going to have a battle on their hands to start the Playoffs on March 15.

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

Dropped one that could have gone either way with Team Horwitz on Sunday Night.  The key to their Playoff run is going to be ball security.. Much like an NFL Team, when they take care of the ball they win and when they get going too fast which leads to turnovers they lose.. They can beat anyone in the League and have proved that over the past two seasons.. They are tied for the #9 seed right now and with many Teams at 7-9 and 6-10 it’s tough to really peg where they’ll wind up. The West Division is not a fun gauntlet to run, but either way they will definitely be Playoff tested.  They are going to finish above the Bottom4, so they can rest easy from that perspective. Would love to see them get a W in the last two weeks so they can head into March with some momentum.

11. Team Shamberg (Muchacha Salsa Silver) – 7-9, 2nd in North Division

Back on the right track on Sunday Night as they avenged their OT Loss to kick off the 2014-15 season against Team Elrod.  It’s a tremendous example to see how they’ve matured as a Team as the season has waged on.. Where last year and at the beginning of this year they lost close games.. They now find themselves taking care of business when things are tight late in the Game.  Have to attribute their 4OT W against Team Kozin a couple months ago.. They are in the heap of Teams at 7-9 right now.. They’ll finish ahead of the Bottom4 but we don’t know much more than that just yet.. A couple of more wins to close 2015 would do them wonders.

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

They’ve dropped a couple in the past couple of weeks after a strong January..  They have two big games coming up as they are tied right now with Team Holzman in the Standings and in all likelihood it will be one of them falling into the Bottom4.  They have to try and block out that added pressure however and just try to play their game.. If not for an onslaught from the 3pt line in the 2nd half from Dylan Richter — they have taken the Game on Sunday Night v. Team Harris.  Just as a heads up — they are on the top tier’s radar.. The Teams seeded 5-7 know they are going to have a fight on their hands if they are lined up against this group to open the Playoffs. They are better than their record and its no secret. Their best is as good as anyone — which is evidenced by their W against Team Maione (only Team in the League that can tout that this Season).

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order) 

Team Elrod (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Navy) – 2-14, 4th in North Division

Lost a tight one to Team Shamberg on Sunday Night which allowed them to even the series at 1-1.. Team Elrod won a Week 1 OT thriller all the way back on Oct. 19 to start the campaign.. So here’s the deal. They are going to be in the Bottom4 to start the Playoffs.  That means they’ll have a Loss tacked on and only have two left to play with.. To all of the All Sports Series vets out there, they can attest, stranger things have happened.. That’s all and we’ll leave it at that.  Double Digit seeds have won Championships in these Leagues before.  It’s a fact.

Team Holzman (Benjamin & Shapiro Law) – 5-11, 4th in East Division

Didn’t have their best showing against Team Bernkopf on Sunday Night.. There’s no use in dwelling over that so let’s focus on what’s to come.  With two games left to play they are even with Team Hernandez for what will be the #12 seed (the final spot to start w/o a Loss come Playoff time). However, they lost head to head to Team Hernandez so they need to pick up a Game on them in the final two weeks to get out of the Bottom4. They’ll face co-Division leaders Team Kozin and Team Goldin to close the 2014-15 Regular Season — they really have more say than just about anyone else in the League’s final weeks.

Team Levitan (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 3-13, 3rd in South Division

That final few sentences in Team Elrod’s section can be safely mentioned here as well.. Are they going to be a Bottom4 seed when the Playoffs start?  Yes, mathematically.. Just ask the top Teams in the League though if they want to play them. The answer would be no.

Team Shaffer (Muchacha Salsa Black) – 2-14, 4th in South Division

In every League, every year, there’s a Team that no one is talking about.. that goes on a run.. Doesn’t always end with them holding the crown at the end.. but a memorable run that sends some Teams home early and generates some buzz for the following Season.. Team Shaffer has shooters and just like in the NCAAs.. anything can happen when someone gets hot.

 

That’s it for us. Have a great week!

– Holden