2014 Champaign – Week 1 Hoops (Sept. 17)

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Updated: September 19, 2014

The 2014 Champaign League is underway!  Each Week you can count on a Power Rankings article to be posted to allsportsseries.com that recaps the week that was and provides a bit of insight to what’s in store for the following week.  You can also count on a Link to the Weekly Video Highlights.  Also, feel free to POST BELOW w/ Disqus to let your feelings be heard (we ask just to keep the comments clean).

So this is how it works — Each Week 8 of the 12 Teams will get Ranked in the Power Rankings while the other 4 Teams will remain unranked (and listed alphabetically) — with the goal of jumping into the Rankings the following week. A few things to keep in mind: 1) the Power Rankings are done mostly with a statistical feel and very little actual “insight.”  2) The Power Rankings have ZERO to do with the actual Standings.

OK Let’s Rank ’em!

1. Team Sig Ep (Starr Limo) – Currently tied for 1st with 15 points.

The Champaign League is searching for a new front-runner as 2013’s Champs – Team Harris (5th Years) – have graduated and moved on (to the Chicago Men’s and Hoops Leagues)..  Enter Team Sig Ep.  Many squads had impressive Week 1s but these guys separated themselves from the pack on Wednesday Night.   Captain Bryan Bitzer is joined by much of the same crew that grabbed the #2 overall seed last Fall.  These guys were upset in the Elite8 Round last year and have been chomping at the bit to get back on the All Sports Series stage.   Expect them to stay at or near the top all season as they are definitely a well-rounded crew.  Wednesday Night they took down one of 2013’s Final4 Teams – Team ATO 14s.  It was a back and forth affair and in the end they grabbed a 7pt victory. Wesley Brooks led the team in scoring with a dozen points.  Next week they’ll take on another ATO Squad – the 15s in softball… Oh and that will be the Game of the Week presented by Campus Florist.

2. Team ATO 15s (No. 7 Salon & Spa) – Currently tied for 1st with 15 points.

That’s right, next week, we’ll have a rare showdown of #1 and #2 in the Power Rankings with the Winners really cementing themselves atop the Power Rankings for the foreseeable future.  The ATO 15s are captained by all-world Intramural Chairman Matt Swartz.  They looked very impressive in Week 1 earning a victory over the always feisty SAE 15s.  Team ATO 15s have a bit of history on their side as their Sponsor No. 7 Salon & Spa was the Championship Team a year ago.  These guys have what it takes to make No. 7 back2back Champs.  George Sotos was the Team’s high scorer w/ 24 points.  He was raining from 3 throughout this one. At this point next week they might be atop the Power Rankings. Good Luck guys.

3. Team AKL (Biaggi’s Purple) – Currently tied for 1st with 15 points.

These guys are back for their second go around in All Sports Series and are looking to really make a name for themselves this year. They were on the outside looking in on the Playoffs last year and personally I’d be shocked to not see them there this year.. They aren’t just going to make it… Captain Kevin Young has assembled a deeper crew in 2014 and they are going to make a run once they get there.  They won the best played Hoops Game of the Night on Wednesday – defeating Team ATO 16s.  That ATO 16s crew has some members who made it all the way to the Championship Game last season.  They are no joke – especially on the Hoops Court. More on them in a bit.. Dawei Chen was the high scorer for the whole League on Wednesday netting 29 points of his own and leading his crew to the W. Next week they’ll play #4 in the Rankings ( I swear this is not on purpose or normal)..

4. Team ZBT (Biaggi’s Black) – Currently tied for 1st with 15 points.

This crew may feel snubbed coming in this low — frankly can’t blame them that’s the case.. You see, they have a few Players from last year’s Team Harris (5th year) Championship crew.  Technically they have more rights to that top spot than any other Team in the League..  Along with them Captain Ross Lehrman has tons of depth at his disposal — most of which comes with PLENTY of All Sports Series experience.  These guys have played in more All Sports Series collectively than any other Team in this League and know how to navigate through these turbulent seasons..  They are going to be heard from deep into the Playoffs in 2014, the question is just how far can they go?  This week it was All Sports Series vet Joey Zenner who led the team in scoring with 10 points.  Expect a new guy to step-up each week for them.. They are a true Team.

5.  Team Evans Scholars (iHotel) – Currently tied for 1st with 15 points.

Team Evans Scholars looked fantastic in their first ever All Sports Series appearance.  They took down fellow first-timers Team Delta Chi and looked like a force in the process. Trevor Freberg was the high point getter on Wednesday Night with 22 points.  These guys seem like they work really well together which will serve them greatly as the season rolls on.  Team Chemistry is an often over looked and under appreciated trait in All Sports Series.  The Champs know how to play as a unit and these guys do as well.  Excited to see what the next couple of months bring for them.

6. Team SAE 17s (Cookie Jar) – Currently tied for 1st with 15 points.

Team SAE 17s won the final Game of the Night on Wednesday and did so in their first ever All Sports Series Game as a group. Captain Matt Hellmich led a crew of 12 into the Gym on Wednesday and it was really fun to see these guys do hockey-style line changes to stay fresh every few minutes.  Among their deep squad is All Sports Series vet from the College/Prep League (in Highland Park every Summer) – Chris Valvassori..  These guys seemed athletic and hungry for more Ws.  They’ll have their chance next week when the League moves outdoors for the first time to play some 16″ Softball.. A spot in the Top 5 (and likely higher) is up for grabs as they take on #5 Team Evans Scholars next week.

7. Team ATO 14s (Houlihan’s) – Currently tied for 7th with 0 points.

For those reading their first All Sports Series Power Rankings article allow me to bring you up to speed on a couple things.. 1) This squad led by Joe Gross was a Final4 squad a year ago and took the eventual Champs to the brink in the Playoffs. 2) In most Week 1 Power Rankings articles I’ll point to the Team that actually Lost what was perceived as the Best Game of the Night… Reason being they clearly are a great Team but also have the fuel of a Loss to get them going for the week’s ahead.  Complacency is a terrible thing in All Sports Series.. If you start to feel comfortable others will pass you by.. These 5th Years are surely not going to go down again without a tremendous fight.  While Week 1 didn’t go their way, they are one of the Top squads in the League and are certainly one of the odds on favorites to take the Crown come November.

t-8. Team ATO 16s (Testing Timers) & Team ATO 17s (Meijer) – Currently tied for 7th with 0 points.

Normally only 8 Teams get ranked each week but there’s just too little to pull from in order to separate the younger ATO squads.  A year ago, these Two Teams were actually one unit and they made a miraculous run to the Championship Game… They knocked off higher seed one by one including a come from behind OT W in the Final4 which featured 2013’s Play of the Year.  A near half-court heave at the buzzer to tie it up and force the OT that they eventually would prevail in..  A year later and these two groups have split by their respective pledge classes — adding a lot of depth and talent along the way.. Both dropped well-played hard-fought games to Teams ranked in the Top4 currently.  As the weeks go by one of these two will surely separate themselves from the other but until then they round out the Power Rankings tied in the last spot.

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order) – Currently tied for 7th with 0 points.

Team Delta Chi (Biaggi’s Gold)

Another Rookie squad making their first appearance in the All Sports Series universe.  These guys can play and as the weeks go on everyone will be more familiar with their cast of athletes. Captain Jason Lee has them all on one page and they are going to hop into the Rankings at some point soon.

Team SAE 15s (Farm Lake – Barn Dance)

These guys are back from a strong run in 2013. Captain Dennis Lemke (get better soon) is leading the charge once again for the SAE Senior squad.  They had a tough task in the ATO 15s Team on Wednesday Night and sometimes you just go up against a strong team in their strong sport.. They will bounce back.. They know how important it is to not get too down after a L.  Expect big things from them this Season. I know that I do.

Team Sammy’s (SLA Insurance)

Full Disclosure — once upon a time I was a member of Sammy’s.  I know a lot of these guys well as many have played in past All Sports Series Leagues — they will jump into the Rankings shortly.  They are a solid group and just need a W under their belt to get everything going.

 

That’s it for Week 1.  Thanks for reading and everyone please have a great weekend!  ILL.

– Holden