2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Playoff Preview (Mar. 20)

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Updated: March 24, 2016

It’s TIME!  Here we go..  Since the 2015-16 season began back on October 18, 2015, we’ve seen 190 Regular Season Games take place.. Those 190 Games have led us here.. We finally know where Teams will enter on their roads to the Crown.. Another 5 Weeks worth of Games (we actually end on May 15 w/ Holiday Breaks) are in store… In just one of those 190 Games, Team Maione fell, and as a result they are your #1 Seed as we enter the Playoffs.  Team Bulwa comes in at #2 with a record-setting FIFTEEN Game Winning Streak..  Teams Harris and Zimmerman will enter in familiar spots from a year ago at #3 and #4 respectively.. Then, comes the 2x 2x Defending Champs, the only Team to ever hold the Hoops League Crown, Team Lalez at #5. Rounding out the Top 7 is #6 Team Gutman, who had as good of a first year as we’ve ever seen, and #7 Team Goldin, who is just as dangerous as any group we’ve already mentioned…

There won’t be a ton about the Top 7 Teams the rest of the way in this article as we shift from Power Rankings to Playoff Previews.  5 of those 7 Teams will actually get the night off when we return for the start of the Playoffs on Sunday April 3.  Just a Reminder we are off for Easter on March 27.  The Playoff Bracket and Schedule have been posted.  Also, the ALL STAR BALLOT — is LIVE (Click).  You will have until Monday April 4 (day after first night of the Playoffs).  This is the final reminder in the Power Rankings articles to VOTE!

Here’s a Link to the Weekly Highlight Video powered by Orunje On-Demand Healthcare!  People have asked about Orunje.. Essentially you can get a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner out to your home/office within 2 hours. No need to waste time going in anymore..  Also, want to give a quick shout-out to the MVP Sponsor for our Chicago Spring Leagues (Floor Hockey and Co-Ed Volleyball) — Wrigley View Rooftop — no better way to take in a Cubs Game with a group of friends/co-workers. If you are thinking of doing this type of thing, let us know, we get deals!

OK time to Preview the Playoffs!

 

Playoff Preview – Just a Reminder the Playoffs are a DOUBLE ELIMINATION tournament, with each Team starting with zero losses.

Bottom 6 Round: The Bottom 6 Teams are matched up in an extra Round.. The 3 Winners will head into Opening Round.. All 3 Winners will play a second Playoff Game on the Opening Night of the Playoffs (April 3). The 3 Teams that Lose in the Bottom 6 Round will play in Elimination Games on April 10.

 

15. Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) v. 20. Team Gainski (SLA)

Winner plays 10. Team Sternberg

This Game is the tale of two very different stories.. #15 Team Schwartz will enter as the favorites.. Due to their Playoff experience in the Hoops Leagues. They’ve won multiple Games throughout the past couple of Springs and they of course come in as the higher seed (they also won their meeting in the Regular Season).. On the other hand you have Team Gainski that is definitely ready to embrace a fresh start.  Here’s what really matters.. The Winner moves on to play 10. Team Sternberg later in the night.  That means with just 1 W both Teams can pull even with a Team that finished in the top half of the League..  The Loser will head to Elimination Game territory.. It’s Go Time.

 

16. Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) v. 19. Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title)

Winner plays 9. Team Kozin

The Winner has a real chance to do damage in this thing.. Despite the seeds that are next to their names, they have a shot.  First things first of course.. Only one can move on undefeated from the Bottom 6 Round. Team Cohen won the head to head matchup during the Regular Season.  They will come in as the favorite but they are extremely banged up and if they don’t have depth they will be ripe for the taking. Team Shamberg has stunned Teams in the Playoffs before and there’s no reason they can’t again.  The Runners-Up from a year ago, Team Kozin, awaits the Winner in the Opening Round.

 

17. Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley) v. 18. Team Silver (Kelly Parker HC Gold)

Winner plays 8. Team Tucci

Easily the most intriguing Game of the Bottom 6 Round is this matchup and just not because they finished next to each other in the Standings.. The truth is, if you were to wager on 1 of the 6 Teams playing in this extra round to win multiple Games on Opening Night, well you’d have to look here.. The issue for both Teams, they have to get through the other obviously.. Team Apuli got hot when the Calendar turned to 2016 and as a result have caught the eye of many.. Teams will not be sleeping on them. Apuli defeated Team Silver just a few weeks back. The Winner of this one will play 8. Team Tucci later in the night.. Team Tucci has won 5 in a row and 7 of their last 8 by the way.. The road will not be an easy one..  This has Game of the Night potential on April 3.

 

Opening Round 1: Opening Round 1 will consist of 10 Teams total and 5 Games.  7 are already placed into that part of the Bracket and the 3 Winners from the Bottom 6 Round will qualify as well.   The Winners of the 11/14 and 12/13 Game will play a second Game on the Opening Night of the Playoffs (Opening Round 2).  The 5 Teams that lose in Opening Round 1 will head to Elimination Games to be played on April 10.

 

8. Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) v. Winner of 17/18

We touched on this above in the 17. Team Apuli and 18. Team Silver section but both Teams have the ability to go on a run in April.. Standing in their way is Team Tucci who stampeded through the Standings to land at #8 following 5 straight Ws to close the Season (and 7 of 8). Team Tucci defeated both Apuli and Silver by 30+ in the Regular Season.  They will also be fresh and with their short bench (usually have just 6) they will appreciate having the fresher legs for a change.  Should Tucci and co. take care of business they would play the Winner of 9. Team Kozin v. Winner of 16/19 on April 10.

 

9. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa) v. Winner of 16/19

The 2014-15 Runners-Up will begin their quest back to the Championship on April 3 against the Winner of the 16. Team Cohen v. 19. Team Shamberg Game. Team Kozin defeated both in the Regular Season. They had a tough test with Team Cohen however as they won 82-79 all the way back in Week 3.  We’ve been saying it for weeks, but you need to forget the seed that is next to Team Kozin’s name.  They sent several Teams packing a year ago as the 6 seed.  They believe they can beat anyone in the League because the truth is — they have..  If they can take care of business in Opening Round 1 they’d move on to face the Winner of 8. Team Tucci v. Winner of 17/18 on April 10.

 

10. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) v. Winner of 15/20

As stated above, 10. Team Sternberg awaits the Winner of 15. Team Schwartz and 20. Team Gainski.  They are in a great spot as they will be the fresh Team coming in against a Team that is emotionally drained from just fighting for their Playoff lives. Team Sternberg defeated both in the Regular Season. They need to be careful and not overlook whoever their opponent will be. We’ve seen early upsets in the past.. Momentum is a crazy thing and the first 10 minutes they are likely to see a strong showing from whoever is alive from the 15/20 Game.  A win and they will play 7. Team Goldin in a Rematch from a great game early in the Regular Season.

 

11. Team James-Hagari (Biaggi’s Red) v. 14. Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) 

Winner plays 6. Team Gutman

This might be the most intriguing Game of the Opening Night of the Playoffs..  These two Teams met two weeks ago in Week 18 when Team James-Hagari won on a Jeff Shukis put-back with just seconds to go.. Both Teams will gave 100% in that one and they will certainly remember taking the court against one another.. Both Teams have shown flashes of brilliance this season but obviously had Losses as well.. They managed to finish outside of the Bottom6 (huge) and with a Win they will be looking at 6. Team Gutman later in the evening.  Whoever wins has a great chance of winning twice and being the talk of Night 1.  Team Malvin actually defeated Team Gutman in their Regular Season Game.. We can certainly expect another fun one here.

 

12. Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) v. 13. Team Free Agent (VIP Express Limo)

Winner plays 5. Team Lalez

These two clubs met all the way back in Week 2.  Team UC Booth got the close W that day but both Teams look awfully different than they did back in October.. The Free Agents were just getting to know one another at that point and now with 19 Games under their belt, they are not a group of individuals but they are a Team.. A Team that can do some damage.  UC Booth has as much talent as any group out there too. It’s going to be extremely interesting to see what Team comes out of this one with the W.. The Winners of course move on to face the Defending Champs 5. Team Lalez later in the night.. Both can Win that Game too, which would go down in Hoops League lore.. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though.. This is going to be one of many highlights from the Playoffs’ first night.

 

Opening Round 2

5. Team Lalez (Orunje) v. Winner of 12/13

No section in the Playoff Preview deserves as much attention as the one right here.. Not only are we talking about the 2x 2x Defending Champs and their quest for All Sports Series’ first ever 3peat.. But they are also coming into the Playoffs at interesting time for the Team.. They dropped their Regular Season finale t0 #6 Team Gutman in what was an uncharacteristic night for the Champs.. They could never really cut into the lead.. It likely speaks more to Team Gutman’s ascension than anything but bares mentioning..  As the #5 seed they do get a Bye to Opening Round 2 but their Quest for 3 will not start with a lay-up.. They will face the Winner of 12. UC Booth and 13. Free Agent.. Team Lalez did defeat both Teams but both Games were back in 2015.. Both of those squads look very different today.  We are coming up on 2 full years as reigning and defending Champs for Team Lalez and until a Team deals them their second Loss this Spring, they are going to be considered favorites.  The bullseye has never been bigger and that’s type of respect they’ve earned.

 

6. Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) v. Winner of 11/14

What a debut season in the Hoops League.  Here’s the thing though.. Part of what made their first run so special is that they are not complacent.. This group is not going to be happy with a strong regular season.. When this Summer comes they will consider it a disappointment if they don’t win the whole thing.. That’s the make-up of a great team and they have EVERYTHING you need to get it done.. Their record might not be as spectacular as the Top 5 seeds but all of those Teams have been apart of this League for years.. Team Gutman needed a month or two to really get a feel for everything.. They are playing as well as anyone right now and they have the ability to be the biggest Team in the League..  Can’t teach size.  They also ended the season with a huge exclamation point as they housed the 2x Defending Champs Team Lalez.  They were excellent.. All of that needs to be in the rear view though now.. They take on the Winner of 11. Team James-Hagari and 14. Team Malvin.. Welcome to the Playoffs.

 

BYE TEAMS

1. Team Maione (popchips)

2. Team Bulwa (Le Brocq Lawyer) 

3. Team Harris (DoorDash)

4. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy)

7. Team Goldin (StudentCity)* Their Opening Round 2 Game is in Week 2

 

That’s it for the Regular Season! Rest Up and get ready for the best time of year!

-Holden