2014-15 Hoops – Week 3 (Nov. 2)

Updated: November 7, 2014

Week 3 provided some BIG time mathch-ups and as a result we had some top Teams go down for the first time this season.. We also had a couple “upsets” and some big time performances.. Before we get into the Rankings — here’s a Link to the Weekly Video Highlights (watch the first 10 seconds!!!) .. OK let’s Rank ‘Em!

Power Rankings

1. Team Lalez (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 3-0, 1st in South Division

Faced their toughest test to date — with fellow top crew — Team Zimmerman and still came out on top.  It looked as if Team Zimmerman was actually going to run away this this one and send #1 on down the Rankings but they battled back and played smart, team basketball down the stretch to pull it out. They ended up winning by 7 but the game was far closer than that as it came down to some free throw shooting in the Game’s final moments. Team Lalez capitalized on their attempts and Team Zimmerman did not. These two will face off again in the final Week of the Regular Season with a possible Division title and top seed on the line.  That is all the way in March though.. Team Lalez can’t think about that.. especially when fellow undefeated Team Harris looms next Sunday!  Yes, another Accelerated Physical Therapy Game of the Night is in store for the Defending Champs next week!

2. Team Maione (Biaggi’s Blue) – 3-0, 1st in West Division

Through three weeks, they are one of just three undefeated squads left in the Hoops League after defeating Team Apuli on Sunday Night.  Next week (as mentioned above) the other two undefeated squads – Team Lalez and Team Harris – will go to battle.. Which means if Team Maione can make it four straight out of the gate, they will be among the final two undefeated crews.. Much easier said than done however, as one of their biggest Rivals and Top5 Teams is on tap for Week 4 — Team Goldin.  These guys battled FIVE times last year, with Team Maione taking the season series 3-2 (with the biggest W of them all coming in the semi-finals of last year’s playoffs).  These guys know each other, well.. There of course will be some new blood introduced into the Rivalry as Team Maione will gladly intro Tellef Lundevall (seriously watch the first 10 seconds of the video) to Team Goldin’s front-line.  It’s going to be a slugfest.. Get the popcorn ready as this will be a co-Accelereated Physical Therapy Game of the Night!

3. Team Harris (Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.) – 3-0, 1st in North Division

They are 3-0. Only two other Teams can claim that.. So you know what, here they are at #3.  Now they are going to have to earn their keep.  Some may point to their schedule to start and some may say they haven’t faced any of the true “big dogs” yet.. Well, that all changes next Sunday when they face the Defending Champs.  They are going to be in primetime next Sunday and there will be no questioning where they should reside in the Power Rankings afterwards.. In a way this is a great barometer not just for them but for the rest of the League.. For a few weeks, I’ve been saying this is the Best Team that no one is talking about.. Well, one way or another people are going to be talking about them starting next weekend..  The moment will not be too big for these guys.. They know it’s just November and there’s so, so much time until anything becomes vital to their season.. But from a respect factor.. This could be their biggest of the regular season.. Good Luck guys.

4. Team Kozin (Theory) – 2-1, tied for 1st in East Division

Let this be a lesson to everyone in the League.. We’ve said it for a long time but it can’t hurt to remind everyone.. These Games are long!  There’s not a lot of down time with the way Free Throws are and with only 2 Timeouts.. The reason we are covering that here is.. It’s nearly impossible to win with just 5 guys!  Need a bench. Your legs just go towards the end of the night and that’s what happened to Team Kozin on Sunday.  Now, I don’t want to take anything away from Team Holzman who grinded out a hard-fought, season changing W, Sunday Night.  However, it was evident that Team Kozin was short handed and you know they will be ready to go the next time they step foot on the Court.   Randall Hampton had 27 points, which was the second highest scoring night in the League.. Not worried one bit about this bunch.

5. Team Goldin (Cy Fredrics) – 2-1, tied for 1st in East Division 

Remember way back when.. in the first Power Rankings of the Season.. and these guys were Ranked #5 after a Week 1 L to Team Kozin?  Well some people were up in arms about having an 0-1 Team in the Top 5.. Now after 2 straight Ws.. Here they are still at #5.. And they are the ones that will/should be up in arms.. Allow for an explanation.. This is not just “okay, copy/paste 5. Team Goldin..”.. They earned being in the Top 5 after Week 1 even with the Loss because they finished 3rd last year and frankly a Loss to another top Team is far from a big deal.. So what gives? Why still at #5.. Well, it’s hard to Rank them ahead of Team Kozin, when it was just mentioned that they dropped their Week 1 contest to them.. and frankly Team Harris deserves a bit more pub after winning their first 3 games ever in the League.. Again, they are competing in the toughest division (through 3 weeks at least) and going 2-1 is really, really impressive.. Basically, #5 just seems right.  Next week will be a big indication of where these Guys are compared to last year.. They have a date with their arch-rivals and currently undefeated Team Maione.. As mentioned above, these Teams met 5 times last year and Team Maione took the season series 3-2.. One of those Games was an Elimination Game that sent Team Goldin home for the Summer in 3rd place.  They’ve been waiting months for this one and frankly if you aren’t excited for this game.. go get your pulse checked (I’m sure Accelerated can do that for you.. Cheap plug – check.)

6. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Orange), 2-1, 2nd in South Division

They were mere minutes away from their signature win as a Franchise.. For those who aren’t with us under the Summer you’ll know that Team Zimmerman were the Runners-Up of the insanely competitive Chicago Men’s League.. They are a top notch crew that is building up their resume as we speak. What they lack however, is one game.. One moment where they can turn to everyone and say, “we are the best.. we beat XYZ”..  For much of the Game on Sunday Night it looked as if they were going to deal Team Lalez their first Loss of the Season and send shockwaves up and down the Power Rankings.. Only it wasn’t meant to be.  A few missed free throws and other uncharacteristic mistakes down the stretch did them in.. No they are on the outside looking in at the Top 5.. However, with a W they’ll shoot right back in there as we two different games featuring top 5 squads next week.  In the long run, Sunday will just add to their already hunger for a Crown.. It may also impact their Division title hopes.. They’ll get a Rematch though in the League’s final week.. Who knows where both Teams will be by then ( I mean probably near the top).. but we are excited nonetheless.

7. Team Horwitz (Esser Hayes Insurance Co.) – 2-1, 2nd in West Division

Team Horwitz jumped out to a big 20 point lead in the first half and it looked as if they were well on their way to a great bounce back W after dropping their Week 2 Game.. They rode the wave of 11 first-half three pointers.  After the half, the Game just took on a new life and Team Schwartz came screaming back. Not only did Team Schwartz cut the lead down to zero but they actually took the lead with under a minute to play!  Team Horwitz could have gone into panic mode, like so many Teams would have, but they kept their composure.. They made a few good passes, got a couple key baskets and when the buzzer sounded they had a W to go home with.. Alan Tucci led the squad in scoring once again with 18 points. These are the Games that you really learn about your Team.. Now, it’s nice to get blow out Wins.. Makes everyone feel good.. But Games like this past Week are the ones that you look back on late in the Season to know what you are really made of.. This Team is for real.. They are better than a #7 in the Power Rankings too.. There’s just no where to put them.. Yet.

8. Team Holzman (Benjamin & Shapiro Law) – 1-2, tied for 3rd in East Division

Some have called it the “Biggest Upset of the Season”.. Personally, it doesn’t really matter what you call it — these guys needed a W in a big way and on Sunday they got the job done. The fact that it was against the power that is Team Kozin makes it all the sweeter. Let’s get one thing clear though.. Team Holzman is talented.  They shouldn’t really be mentioned in the “upset” category.. This is the same core that finished in 1st place during the Regular Season of this Summer’s Chicago Men’s League.. They are no slouches.  It was a back and forth battle on Sunday Night and they made the last big play.  David Holmes had a Team-high 23 points and they needed every last one of them.. Those 23 included a Game-Winning 3 ball with 3 seconds to go.  This is the type of W that will get these guys rolling. Look out.

9. Team Bernkopf (Stems) – 1-2, tied for 3rd in East Division

It was mentioned near the top of the Power Ranking but we’ll quickly recap it again here.. Through the first set of Division Games it seems as if the East has the toughest competition. That may prove to change over the course of the Season but for right now it seems like all 4 Teams can beat anyone on any given Sunday..  So 1-2 is probably not the start they wanted to get off in 2014-15 but the fact that they are just a Game under .500 after this tough Division slate has to be encouraging for them.. They welcomed back one of their Bigs this past Sunday as Mike Maione made his 2014-15 debut.. He had 11 and 5 (boards) on his first night back. Captain Bernie went for 18 and 8 as well.. They are going to be fine.. They’ve been through every type of Regular Season you can imagine.. Front Runners.. Slow starts.. Middle of the Pack.. Nothing phases them.

10. Team Hernandez (Kelly Parker Home Collective) – 1-2, tied for 2nd in North Division

The first one is usually the toughest.  That’s now behind them.. They knocked off Team Elrod on Sunday and largely in part to really nice shooting performance..  Dave Altman led the League in scoring on Sunday Night with 33 big points.  Oh and he had 17 boards too.  Christian James had a big time performance as well with 22 and 12.  We’ve heard it before.. It takes time for some of these Free Agent crews to gel.. They are actually ahead of the curve and can really turn into a scary unit once the “feeling each other out” phase ends.  Congrats gentlemen!

11. Team Shaffer (Muchacha Salsa Black) – 1-2, 3rd in South Division

They were another crew that came into Week 3 searching for their first W and with the feeling of their backs against the wall, they took care of business.  They led wire to wire in this one and never let Team Levitan really ever gain enough momentum to get the lead.  They utilized great ball movement on Sunday Night — something if they can keep up, will result in more Ws.  Captain Ian led the scoring barrage with 26 points. Todd Siegel added 19 points, including three game-clinching free throws, at the end of this one.  Also, new big man Walker Moore (plays over the Summer with Team Hadelman) had a double-double with 11 points and TWENTY boards.  This squad has the ability to rattle of a bunch of Ws now and just need to keep doing what they did last Sunday Night.

12. Team Apuli (iShot Mounts) – 1-2, 3rd in West Division

They kept it close with Team Maione in the first half before falling victim to an offensive explosion in the second half. Both Kyle Daniels and Tyler Austin had 18 points for these guys.  Last season, they upset Team Maione, and it was in large part to their advantage on the glass.. That didn’t happen this Sunday Night and they need to try and find a way to get back to banging inside.  They have a ton of perimeter scorers and if they can figure out way to go from inside-out, they will be tough to stop over 44-minutes.  They are a tough squad and will be on the rise in the next few weeks.

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order)

Team Elrod (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Navy) – 1-2, tied for 2nd in North Division

Have yet to have the whole crew yet for any individual week and that isn’t a recipe for success.. Especially for a group playing with each other for the first time.  They do have a Week 1 W under their belts so it’s not as if they should be pressing too too much.. As the weeks go on they are going to get stronger as aTeam.  Captain Elrod led the Team with 16 points while Zach Nudelman added 12 and 8 boards. This is not a talent issue.. just going to continue to take time in terms of gelling together. No one should be hitting the panic button.

Team Levitan (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Maroon) – 0-3, 4th in South Division

Are they happy to be at 0-3?  No.  Not a chance.  Is there any reason for them to panic? No. Not a chance..  The South has a ton of talent as is backed up by their two Top-6 squads in the Rankings.. They took the Defending Champs to the brink in Week 2 and in their first run in any All Sports Series League it’s expected they’d be off to a slow start.. What they need to focus on is just getting that first Win. They can’t make up everything all in one week.  They have a lot of positives to key on.. Like Dale Mickelson and his 23 points on Sunday Night.  They are really talented. For those who haven’t seen them play yet.. They are better than 0-3.  Win #1 is coming.. Just a matter of time.

Team Schwartz (Greater Than) – 0-3, 4th in West Division

It’s not often you see a Team get down by 20 in the first half and battle all the way back to take the lead.. However, they couldn’t close the book on their first W.. These guys want it more than anyone else in the League and it shows.  Jason Vismantas and Austin Brown led the way during the comeback — with tons of 3balls. Vis ended with 26 points to lead the Team in scoring and Max Kaplan helped distribute with 11 dimes. That’s something they need each and every week.. Someone concentrating on everyone getting their shots (and from the right spots at the right time)..  They need to find a way to avoid slow starts as that has plagued them so far in 2014-15.  These guys are getting better each week and are learning how to incorporate their new players too..  They are better than 0-3. They know that. The rest of the Teams who played them last year know that as well.  They’ll right the ship.

Team Shamberg (Muchacha Salsa Silver) – 1-2, tied for 2nd in North Division

Last week they proved they have the ability to bounce back after a Loss.. They’ll need to that again next week.. Michael Kaufman led the Team in scoring with 18 and Bret Darcy went for 10 and 10 (boards) to knotch a double-double.  Losing to Team Harris is nothing to feel bad about.. Everyone else in the Division did as well and it seems many more will as the Season goes on.. They just need to focus on what’s ahead.. Next week, it won’t get any easier with Team Zimmerman on tap.  They can do it though. Just have to bring the A Game.

That’s it for me.  Have a great weekend.

– Holden