2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Week 10 (Jan. 3)

Updated: January 6, 2016

Happy New Year! 2016 started off with a bang on Sunday Night..  Three Games came down to the wire.. Team Bulwa staved off an incredible comeback by Team Free Agent with a Zack Novak fallaway just before the 0:00.. In OT, Team Goldin’s Justin Cornelius hit one as the buzzer sounded to down Team Kozin, and now, Team Goldin holds the longest running Win-Streak in the League, because… Team Tucci managed to come back and knock-off the final Undefeated Team in the League, 2x Defending Champs, Team Lalez.  In what is an amazing coincidence, Team Tucci (last year as Team Horwitz), actually pulled the exact same feat in 2015.. Last year, Week 10, Team Lalez was 9-0 as Defending Champs and in the first game of 2015, the Tucci crew knocked them off.  (Editor’s Note: Team Apuli should be happy because they get Team Lalez next week and Team Lalez actually dropped their first 2 Games of 2015)…  What’s encouraging for the 2x Defending Champs is that would lose less than a handful of times over the next 11 months…

We are now left with 4 Teams tied at 9-1 at the top of the Standings through 10 Regular Season Games and with 9 left to play for each Team. A couple housekeeping notes.. We’ll have Games for the next 4 Sundays (all in January) before another Break to start February (Super Bowl and President’s/Valentine’s Day weekend)..  When we get back in late February we’ll sprint through the last quarter of the Regular Season.. For those already trying to figure out Playoff match-ups (you are crazy), here’s the Playoff Bracket.  Double Elimination and everyone starts with No Losses, seeding dictates at what point you start in the Bracket.. Also, the All-Star Ballot will be coming in the next few weeks! Keep an eye out for that.

Brandon Maslar of Team UC Booth wins the Greater Than Performance of the Week for his 32 points on 14 of 18 shooting and 11 boards on the night.  Just a reminder, we started this Award in Week 5, and from here on out a Player will receive a case of GT each week! Past Winners include: Brandon Lathon, Justin Bowen, Jeff Howard, Scott Campbell and Chris Wroblewski.

Here’s a Link to the Weekly Highlight Video (which will be exclusively for the Hoops League for the next handful of weeks!) 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..  OK Let’s Rank ‘Em!


Power Rankings

1. Team Lalez (Orunje) – 9-1, Currently tied for 1st

We’ve already hit the big points for the 2x Defending Champs as we exit Week 10.. Yes, the W-streak ends at 9.  Just like last year.  At the hands of Team Tucci. Just like last year.  You know what else they did last year?  Repeat.  Oh and they were without perennial MVP candidate Dave Gershenzon on Sunday Night.  They aren’t worried, in the slightest, nor should they be.. In fact, they’ll likely play better without the “Undefeated Season” burden going forward.. They are in a 4-way tie for first in the Standings and until their share of first place is taken from them, they will remain #1 in the Power Rankings.  You win a couple of Championships in a row and that’s just the way it goes..


2. Team Maione (popchips) – 9-1, Currently tied for 1st

Team Maione picked up in 2016 right where they left off.. They downed Team Gainski and got their W-streak to 5, their longest this season.. All 5 of their Players who dressed on Sunday Night went for at least 18 points in what was just another example of how deep they truly are.  It’s almost as if they are flying under the radar somehow.. There have been bigger stories in the Regular Season’s first-half but those stories have really allowed Team Maione to play care-free for the first time in years.  Their only Loss so far this season is to Team Harris who makes their money in the paint on the glass.. They’ll face a similar foe in Team UC Booth is now 7-3 on the Season this coming Sunday Night!


3. Team Goldin (StudentCity) – 9-1, Currently tied for 1st

If you stripped away the Team names and the resumes of all the groups in the League and just watched everyone play basketball.. The guys who make up Team Goldin may be Ranked at #1 right now.. They are playing better than we have ever seen them before.. The players on this Team have defined roles and in those roles play extremely unselfishly.  We’ve mentioned it several times in 2015. They have always been tough to score on and they’ve really picked up the tempo this year on the Offensive end.  After their OT W on Sunday Night and Team Lalez’s L, they are the owners of the longest-active W-streak in the League – 8 Games – and with two more Wins they’ll have the longest this season… Most notably, they are 4th in the League in Points Per Game, a stat that would have seen remarkable a year ago at this time.. Getting to 10 in a row will not be easy.. Next Sunday they’ll take on Team Gutman who have thrived against top-flight competition this Season and in two Weeks it’ll be the 8-2 Team Zimmerman crew who desperately want to get back into the Top 5 of the Rankings.


4. Team Bulwa (Le Brocq Lawyer) – 8-2, Currently tied for 5th

The first W of the 2016 All Sports Series year was surely a memorable one.. Throughout their Game with the Free Agents, Team Bulwa was pushed, but grabbed what seemingly was a strong lead going into the final minutes.. The Free Agents caught fire though and actually managed to tie the Game with a 3 with only 6 seconds to go.. Deciding not to call a timeout, Zack Novak got the ball, dribbled to left wing, stepped back and fired a Game Winner for Team Bulwa. He’d end with 37 on the night. All of this was with out leading point man Nick Winbush as well. Great Team W for Team Bulwa. They also welcomed Chris Stamas who had an impressive 23 points in his debut. They’ll take on Team Shamberg in Week 11.


5. Team Harris (DoorDash) – 9-1, Currently tied for 1st

It’s sort of nuts that a Team who is 9-1 and tied for 1st place through 10 Weeks comes in at #5 of the Power Rankings… That’s the best example of the depth of the League that there is.. Tough to say they should be any higher currently as it was just before Winter Break that #4 Team Bulwa handed them their first Loss of the Season.. It’s good to see them bounce back quickly and start their next Winning Streak. Sam Shiner’s 36 is extremely impressive and what’s more impressive is he did so on 15 of 18 from the field.. Dylan Richter had a cool 23 on just 13 shots. Jeff Howard had another Double Double as well. They beat a tough Team James-Hagari squad and now move on to face a rising Team Sternberg squad that is hungry for a signature W.. Could be the Game of the Week!


6. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy) – 8-2, Currently tied for 5th

2015 was a great year for the Zimmerman bunch.. They got their first ever Crown in the Men’s Summer All Sports League and have been remarkably impressive to date in the Hoops League.. They still find themselves on the outside looking in at the Top 5 but that (as mentioned earlier) is a matter of great depth and nothing more.. They are still clearly a favorite to be there in the end and are getting better together as each Sunday passes.. They almost always have their core-8 in attendance but this Sunday they were missing a couple guys which meant they had a shorter bench than normal. That in combination with the Winter Break would allow you to assume they’d be a bit sluggish.. Not the case. They were great once again and earned their 8th W of the Season. They have the feisty Free Agents on Sunday before a huge showdown with Team Goldin in Week 12.  Big stretch ahead for them..


7. Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) – 7-3, Currently in 7th

This Team is much deeper than people realize.. They are getting contributions from numerous members of the Team and are as big as any other group in the League.  Brandon Maslar’s big night was mentioned at the top and Ben Hanessian did what he normally does with 21 and 17.  They are among the elite, whether the 6 Teams Ranked above them want to acknowledge it or not.. They are entering a stretch right now where they will get to prove just that.. They have Team Maione next Sunday Night and Team Bulwa in a few weeks as well. It’s statement time for Team UC Booth.


8. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) – 6-4, Currently in 8th

Currently, there are just 8 Teams above the .500 mark on the Season and Team Sternberg is one of those 8.    They took care of business against a desperate Team Apuli squad this past Sunday, thanks in large part to a scoring surge from Tyler Max who had 28 and Aaron Cohn who had 18.. Now they prepare for a big match-up against 9-1 Team Harris.  It’ll be a huge test for them as they have struggled to keep bodies out of the paint defensively and Team Harris can certainly score inside.. Looking ahead a bit, after Team Harris they have several Games in a row against Teams below the .500 mark.. If they keep playing the way they have been, this is a group capable of reeling off quite a few in a row and really crashing the top of the Power Rankings.


9. Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) – 4-6, Currently tied for 11th

Highest we’ve seen Team Tucci in quite some time and the turn around has really been expected for anyone who was in the League last year.. They’ve won 3 of their last 4 and much can be credited to finally getting some depth to the Games. They were able to have 2 guys come off the bench on Sunday and it totally keyed their biggest Win a year.. Knocking off the 2x Defending Champs means you have to play a full 44-minutes.. What made this one so special was that they were actually trailing for the majority of the Game and actually came back in the final minutes to take the lead and the W.  Earlier in the year, they didn’t have the legs to do those types of things because they were dead with only 5 Players by the last part of the Game.. This is a group now capable of running the table. They are that good.  They have a stretch of tough but winnable Games on the horizon.. Most are with Teams that are immediately ahead of them in the Standings.. A strong January can eliminate their struggles early on…


10. Team Free Agent (VIP Express Limo) – 5-5, Currently tied for 9th

Heartbreaker for the FAs to start 2016. They’ve lost 2 of their last 3 by a combined 4 points and to 3. Team Goldin and 4. Team Bulwa.. While they didn’t get the W in either case, this should be a real wake-up call to those in the League who have refused to give them their due.. They are a talented bunch that is pushing the elite to the brink.. Tim Szatko had 28 in another big-time performance.   They are going to improve as a Team more than most Teams in the back half of the Regular Season as again, they are just getting to know one another.. This is a group that has several Playoff Ws in them. They’ll have another opportunity to show everyone what they are made of when they take on 8-2 Team Zimmerman on Sunday Night.


11. Team James-Hagari (Biaggi’s Red) – 5-5, Currently tied for 9th

A few possessions go differently and they might have knocked off the 9-1 Team Harris group on Sunday Night.  Team James-Hagari along with Team Free Agent are right on the cusp of both pushing into the upper-echelon of Teams.. They will have a tough stretch in the back half of the Regular Season but their athleticism is going to give strong Teams fits.. They are at .500 through 10 Games and for a group that hasn’t played much together, they have to stay encouraged.. Daniel Martian had a big night with 20 points.. If they can consistently get more scoring from their back-court they are going to be really tough to stop.  The ascending Team Tucci is next on the Schedule.


12. Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) – 4-6, Currently tied for 11th

Nice strong W for Team Gutman to open 2016.. Zach McMains really had it going from 3 and ended with 25 points.  Here’s the deal, they are flying under the radar right now.. Two months from now they won’t be..  The teeth of their schedule is long in the rear-view mirror. This coming Sunday they’ll take on 9-1 Team Goldin.  After that they’ll have already faced all but one of the Top 7 Teams in the Rankings (they’ll play Team Lalez to close the Regular Season).  They are going to be “favorites” in many of their Games in the second half of the Season and they have a real shot to shoot up both the Standings and Power Rankings.. It would be surprising if they aren’t firmly entrenched in the Top 8-9 spots by March.


13. Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 4-6, Currently tied for 11th

Nate Johnson’s personal W-streak comes to a close, albeit at no fault of his own.. He ended with 28 on the night. They had trouble keeping the bigger Team UC Booth squad out of the paint and as a result just couldn’t get enough stops to ever go on a sustained run of their own.. It also prevented them from getting out in the open floor as much as they’d like as the majority of their Team had to focus on Defensive Rebounding.. They need to get a couple Ws in the next few weeks as their schedule toward the end of January will heat up once again.. They’ll get the Free Agents and then Team Lalez back to back to close the month. Before that, they have a real shot at getting to .500.


14. Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 3-7, Currently tied for 15th

Biggest W of the year so far for Team Cohen to open 2016.. Justin Bowen had 29. Tom McGee had 23 and Brendan Kolton had 20. Just for fun, lets look back at a couple past posts on Team Cohen..

Week 1: They have an extremely tough to schedule to start and their Record in the first stretch of the season may suffer as a result.. Here’s the thing, they are really really good.  In Week 7, no matter the record, you can count on that praise to still be here. They are a really good, athletic, deep and most important, versatile Team.   A late-season surge into the Playoffs is expected for them..

Week 7: The good news is, there crazy gauntlet to start the season is now in the rearview mirror.  They have a real opportunity to go on a run and rattle off a bunch of Ws in a row to not only climb up the Power Rankings but the Standings. Team Cohen may be a sleeping giant and their schedule has helped them fly under the radar thus far..

Well, it took a couple extra weeks than we had planned, but it’s finally here for Team Cohen.. They are about to embark on an extremely winnable stretch of Games and now is the time to make the run we’ve been touting since Week 1.


Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order)

Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley) – 0-10, Currently tied for 19th

Their was a renewed sense of hope from Team Apuli on Sunday Night as they called on some familiar faces to provide some much needed depth.. They didn’t end up getting the much sought after W but they hung with Team Sternberg for the entire Game and they are close to breaking through.. They are entering a tough stretch right now of their Schedule but if they continue to improve they will be in just fine shape one the Schedule lightens up.. There will be a stretch in the Spring when they take on multiple Teams below .500 and they will have a shot to not only get a W or two, but to leapfrog some Teams in the Standings..


Team Gainski (SLA) – 0-10, Currently tied for 19th

Team Maione’s one of the League’s best and has been for years.  They are 9-1 for a reason.  Can’t take that one too hard.. In fact, they hung with them for much of the Game before Team Maione opened it up in the final stretch of the Game. They had 4 guys in double figures for scoring on Sunday Night.. The first time that has happened all season and a really good sign of growth as a unit. They are getting better and eventually the Ws will come. Until then, improving is important.. We’ve seen dozens of Playoff upsets over the years and every Team makes the dance, so this time is just for becoming the best Cinderella they can.


Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa) – 3-7, Currently tied for 15th

Man, these guys just can’t catch a break!  Their used to be a “curse theory” in the NFL about the Team that would go to and lose the Super Bowl.. For years, that Team would struggle and ultimately not make the playoffs (From 1999-2007, 7 of 9 Super Bowl Losers didn’t make the Playoffs the following year, thank you Wikipedia).  We can’t go as far as to say that Team Kozin is jinxed as last year’s Runners-Up but they surely have had their fair share of tough losses in the first 10 Games of 2015-16.  Allow for a little pick-me-up.. With the change in Playoff Format this year, all Teams will start with 0 Losses in the Tournament. Double Elimination for everyone.. Now, the lower seeds will need to win extra Games to make it to the end, but Team Kozin (no matter their record when all is said and done) will have just as good of a shot as any.. Also, Randall Hampton is playing as well as we’ve ever seen him play.. He had 33 on Sunday Night to go with Josh Davis’ 25 points and 12 boards. Matt Wolk also was a beast in the paint with 16 points and 19 rebounds.  They may not look like it this second, but they are still a Championship Contender. Believe it.


Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) – 4-6, Currently tied for 11th

They were shorthand against Team Gutman on Sunday Night but still put up a good fight. Jason Vismantas had another strong outing with 22.  They got an impressive Debut from Samuel Gage who had 25 as well.  That’s someone they could use as the Season wages on.. They have a Game with some familiar foes in Team Cohen on Sunday Night.  It’s very murky in their part of the Standings right now and these head to head Games with Teams that are right above or below are going to be key in Teams’ Playoff lives.


Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title Agency) – 1-9, Currently in 18th

Not their best night against Team Zimmerman to begin 2016 but at the end of the day it’s just one Game.. They surely miss the leadership of Captain Shamberg who has been out for the past few Games on various trips.  The word on the street is that he is making his Return on Sunday Night when they take on Team Bulwa. It’s a group the Captain knows well and while it may seem like a mis-match by the record, crazier things have happened in Rivalry Games..


Team Silver (Kelly Parker HC Gold) – 2-8, Currently in 17th

Safe to say Team Silver would like a mulligan to start 2016.. Team Cohen is a group that they should have been able to hang with and they just didn’t have their best on Sunday Night. No point on dwelling.. Captain EJ had 24 points in this one.. They are going to take on an angry Team Kozin squad who is coming off an OT Buzzer-Beating L to Team Goldin.. That being said, if they defeat Team Kozin, they will actually jump them in the Standings.. Every seed is big come Playoff time.


That’s it for us. Welcome back and get ready for a great 2016!