2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Week 11 (Jan. 10)

Updated: January 13, 2016

Week 11 proved to be one of the wilder Sunday Nights that we’ve had thus far. We saw several Teams at the top of the Standings take a tumble and it was a very good night in general for Teams entering Week 10 below the .500 mark.  Just 1 Game in the Loss column separates the Top 6 Teams in the Standings with the familiar Team Lalez and Team Maione (the first ever Hoops League Championship Contenders) tied for 1st through 11 Weeks.  Going to continue to issue a Reminder on the change to the Playoffs this year.. Here’s the Playoff Bracket.  Double Elimination and everyone starts with No Losses, seeding dictates at what point you start in the Bracket.. As you can see, there will be a race to land a spot in the Top 4.. There’s also a meaningful difference to get into the Top 7 and then to stay out of the Bottom 6.. All of those races will be monitored down the stretch. Also, the All-Star Ballot will be coming in the next couple of weeks! Stay tuned.

Benny Lalez wins the Greater Than Performance of the Week for his 35 points with a unbelievable 13 of 14 shooting 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, Chris Wroblewski and Brandon Maslar.

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) – 10-1, Currently tied for 1st

Biggest Winners on Sunday Night?  The 2x Defending Champs.  With all the upsets happening around them they quietly got back to work after suffering their first L last week and came out firing.  Captain Benny Lalez set the tempo early and as mentioned above had a fabulous shooting night. He simply couldn’t miss from distance.  They also can breathe easy knowing they won’t be taking a 2-Game Losing Streak into what will be the hardest stretch of the Schedule.. Take a peak at the Gauntlet the Champs are about to run through.. Team Bulwa (this Sunday’s co-Orunje Game of the Week), then a Championship Rematch with Team Kozin, Team Malvin, Team Harris, a potential battle for the 1-Seed with Team Maione, Rivals Team Cohen, Team Zimmerman and close with this year’s giant-killer Team Gutman.. It’s a tough stretch to say the least as they’ll face 4 of the other Top 6 Teams in the 8 remaining Weeks…


2. Team Maione (popchips) – 10-1, Currently tied for 1st

They’ve rattled off 6 Ws in a row since dropping one to Team Harris during Week 5.  More important for this group is they went up against one of the biggest Teams in the League on Sunday Night, Team UC Booth, and got the W with only 5 actives in the Game.  Their very few and far between Ls throughout the years in the Hoops League normally come from giving up too many second chances at the rim.. Otherwise, they have been an unstoppable force.. Joe Duffy’s presence in the paint for them has been gigantic and might be the difference in them finally ascending to the Hoops League Crown. Also, it’s worth mentioning another gutty performance from Chris Wroblewski who week after week shows why he needs to be near the top of anyone’s MVP ballot.. He had 35 points in this one. They’ll get some familiar HP faces in Team Schwartz next Sunday.


3. Team Bulwa (Le Brocq Lawyer) 

4. Team Goldin (StudentCity)

5. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy) 

6. Team Harris (DoorDash)…  All Currently tied for 3rd at 9-2. 

Wanted to take the 4 Teams bunched at 9-2 together this week.  They are all a couple Games ahead of any other squad in the Standings and are still just a Game back of Team Lalez and Team Maione.  Realistically only 2 or MAYBE 3 of these Groups can finish the Regular Season with a Top 4 Seed.. Which means starting the Playoffs one step closer than the Teams Seeded 5-7..  All of these Teams also have had big Ws in the past few weeks and all but Team Bulwa have lost in the last few weeks as well..

When looking at the Weekly Results and Tiebreakers — more so for Power Rankings than for potential Playoff Seeding (so many weeks to go…) — the resumes of these Teams do little to give one Team the nod over the other.. Team Goldin is yet to play against any of the other 3 Teams in this group (they do own Ws against each of the Teams immediately below them and have played Team Lalez..).  While Team Zimmerman defeated Team Bulwa, then Team Harris defeated Team Zimmerman and most recently Team Bulwa defeated Team Harris.  Basically all are 1-1 against the other 2.

So, the why the nod to Team Bulwa at #3 this Week?  Well, some recency bias.. Their Losses came early in the year and they are currently playing their best ball. They are Winners of 7-straight, which is now the longest-running of the Season. No one has gotten to 10 yet this year.. Team Goldin takes a 1-spot dip to #4 after going the distance but coming up short with Team Gutman on Sunday Night..  Team Zimmerman moves up a spot after handing Team Free Agent their worst defeat of the Season.. Team Harris falls from #5 to #6 and of all the Teams has the biggest gripe here (whoever was #6 would have).. They did defeat Team Zimmerman and have the same record.. Just want to say that has been acknowledged and, well, someone had to come in at the bottom. They also suffered a heartbreaking defeat on Sunday Night from a Team Sternberg Buzzer Beater..

All of these Teams also had some standout performances on Sunday Night. Captain Bulwa went for 20 points on just 9 shots.  Alex Filin had 20 and 8 for Team Goldin while Team Zimmerman had 3 scorers with 20+.. The usual suspects of Kyle Nelson, Dave Altman and Esto Vega.  For Team Harris, Jeff Howard was a beast in the paint once again with 21 and 16.  As for next week, Team Bulwa will be in the Orunje co-Game of the Week against #1 Team Lalez.. While #4 Team Goldin will attempt to bounce back against… #5 Team Zimmerman in the other co-Game of the Week. Team Harris will also look to rebound against familiar foes, Team Shamberg.


7. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) – 7-4, Currently tied for 7th

They are starting to really turn a corner.. They’ve been talented all season (and for years) but now with a chunk of Games under their belt they’ve adjusted to playing in the Chicago Hoops League and as we’ve often seen in other All Sports Series Leagues, they are stockpiling the Ws. Their biggest W to date came on Sunday Night on the shoulders of a Buzzer Beater 3-ball from David Ofer to take down top-flight Team Harris.  They have 3 straight Games against below .500 Teams and have a real chance to put some separation through themselves and the rest of the middle of the pack in the Standings. They will take on the hungry Team Cohen in Week 12.


8. Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) – 7-4, Currently tied for 7th

For the first time since the Winter Break, Team UC Booth trotted out their full arsenal at the Hoops League.  No, they didn’t get their desired result against Team Maione (few do) but they showed just how close they are to the top tier Teams in the League. This was a one possession Game in its closing moments and they really were knocking on the door of their biggest W to date.  Not one for moral victories but this is a Game they can look back on in March and April to know they have what it takes to take down the League’s best. They will take on the desperate Team Apuli in Week 12.


9. Team James-Hagari (Biaggi’s Red) – 6-5, Currently in 9th

They’ve been on a roller-coaster for weeks as they take steps back and forth in the W/L columns.. This week, they got a W against a resurgent Team Tucci crew.  This W did not come without a few hiccups though.. They may be slightly under-manned for the next handful of weeks as they lost a couple guys along the way.. Christian James had 20 and 14 here, while Jeff Shukis went for 21 and 17 boards! Darrius Williams also had over 20 on the night. They are clearly capable of competing with the best.. They just need to continue to grow as a unit and keep focus on the Defensive end.. They’ll have a big time match-up with last year’s Runners-Ups Team Kozin next Sunday Night.


10. Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) – 5-6, Currently tied for 10th

Their W on Sunday Night immediately goes to the front of their Resume for their debut Season as a unit.. They did exactly what they needed to do in this one and got the W without their leading scorer Marin Kukoc.  They slowed the pace down and used their size depth to get Team Goldin out of sync early.. They did enough to hold on and got a meaningful W that they truly earned… Last week, we mentioned that this one with Team Goldin and then the last week of the Regular Season were the toughest remaining Games of the Season.. They are about to enter a stretch of Games where they will either be the favorite or 50/50 with the Team lined-up across from them.. At 5-6, they have a real shot at getting to several Games over .500 in the next couple of months and as many of the top Teams can attest.. They are going to be a scary Team to face come the Playoffs..


11. Team Free Agent (VIP Express Limo) – 5-6, Currently tied for 10th

They took one on the chin a bit this past Sunday and it was the first time that’s happened since before Thanksgiving.  They went up against Team Zimmerman who is one of the most dynamic in the League and they just didn’t play their best.. When taking on the top Teams in the League you need to have the A-Game or this may happen.. All things considered, it’s just one Game, and they are still in great shape moving forward. They are entrenched in the middle of the pack for the Standings and will have two Games in a row with Teams under .500.. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see them reel off a couple in a row here.


12. Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 5-6, Currently tied for 10th

Remember when Team Malvin was 0-4? Yeah, they don’t either.. They are 5-2 since Week 5 and more importantly they are playing good, sound, team ball. Nate Johnson had an impressive night again with 19 points and 12 boards. Rodney Clark and Captain Mike also had double digits in Week 11.  They need to be careful this coming Sunday, they’ll have the hungry Team Silver group, that is better than their record indicates.. After that, they’ll have a couple big showdowns with the Free Agents and Team Lalez.. They just can’t look ahead too soon.. One Game at a time..


13. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa) – 4-7, Currently tied for 14th

Finally back in the Rankings and the Win column is Team Kozin.  They finally had 95% of the Roster there for 1 Game and man did it make all the difference.  This is a really scary proposition for the rest of the League.. They welcomed back both Rashad Singleton and Hajji Martin on Sunday Night..   It totally transforms their line-ups (and gives them a breather during the Game).  Mitchell Bouie had 25 points on the night. This is a group with Championship Game experience and frankly it won’t matter what seed they come into the Playoffs with.  They are a contender from any spot in the Bracket and as the rest of the Regular Season plays out you will be sure that top seeds will be keeping a watchful eye to where Team Kozin winds up..   Let’s say Team Kozin winds up with the 12 or 13 seed (they very likely can be higher come Playoff time).. That’s some reward for the 5 Seed after a grueling Regular Season.. Certainly something to keep at the front of everyone’s minds.. Team James-Hagari is up next for last year’s Runners-Up.


14. Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) – 5-6, Currently tied for 10th

Team Schwartz, similarly to Team Malvin above, got off to a rough start — going 1-4 to open the season.  However, since then, they are 4-2 and are showing my they’ve been so dangerous in their 2.5 years of Hoops League action.  When they can get the ball to go in on a consistent basis they are very difficult to defeat.  They have an ability to get Teams in a battle of lengthy possessions and more often than not, that means Schwartz and co. are succeeding.. Jonathan Blakely had a huge 34 and 13 on Sunday Night.  His added presence down low has been a huge gain for them.. Jason Vismantas and Jon Sider also got over the 20 point mark on Sunday Night.. Now, it’s good that they are playing well as of late because they are going to need to bring it in the next handful of Games.. Next week they get #2 Team Maione, followed by #6 Team Harris, 2014-15 Runners-Up Team Kozin, #5 Team Zimmerman..


Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order) 

Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley) – 0-11, Currently tied for 19th

In a season of things being stacked against them, they were lucky enough to draw the 2x Defending Champs a week after their 9-Game W-Streak was snapped.. So their opponent was essentially on a seek and destroy mission coming into the Game.. Fairly quickly Team Lalez was firing on all cylinders and Team Apuli just didn’t have enough to keep up.. Rob Kamentsev had a big night with 31 points and Eddie Tellez added 24.. They’ll have another tough test in Week 12 when they get the UC Booth crew..


Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 3-8, Currently in 16th

Early on in the Season, Team Cohen, was enduring one of the toughest schedules in the League.. They are now out of the gauntlet, but as many can attest.. There are SO many really, really good Teams, that even though the worst is in the rear view for them, there are no easy victories to be had.. They dropped one that they could have had to Team Schwartz on Sunday Night. They ended up losing by 4 but were right there throughout the Game.. They have a ton of talent but the Roster has been kind of going through a revolving door in the season’s first few months and it’s been hard to get a real sense of continuity for them. Remember, this too is their first season together.. That lack of experience together shines through in a one possession contest against a Team that has played close to 100 times together in the past few years (i.e. Team Schwartz).  They did manage to get 5 guys in double figures on Sunday Night including big nights from Jake Shlofrock and Kyle Daniels. They have the surging Team Sternberg in Week 12.


Team Gainski (SLA) – 0-11, Currently tied for 19th

The final score against Team Malvin will not tell the complete story.. Yes, Team Malvin soundly defeated them.. However, there were a few points in that Game where the momentum was in the balance and with a little luck Team Gainski may have been on the right side of that one.. They are going to take on Team Gutman next Sunday.. A group that is going to be feeling great after taking down #4 Team Goldin last week.. Team Gutman has played up to competition all season long but has dropped a few Games to Teams below them in the Standings.. This may be the perfect opportunity for Gainski and co.


Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title Agency) – 1-10, Currently in 18th

Thanks in large part to a few big upsets on the night, their Game with Rivals Team Bulwa, went a bit under the radar.. They took Team Bulwa down to the wire and were a late made field goal or two away from adding another shocker to the Week 11 results.. They were playing with confidence on Sunday Night, one that they haven’t exhibited in a few weeks.. It was good to see.  Their best is equivalent to several Teams that are far ahead of them in the Standings.. Two ways to look at that.. 1) Be disappointed or 2) Know that a second season will begin in a couple months.. Team Shamberg has a very favorable lifetime Playoff record.. Just something to keep an eye on.


Team Silver (Kelly Parker HC Gold) – 2-9, Currently in 17th

While it was great to see Team Kozin bounce back and look like the Team that made a run to last year’s Championship Game, Team Silver may not agree..  They hung with last year’s Runners-Up but just didn’t have the inside presence necessary to get the W on Sunday Night. Newcomer Chris Ray had 24 points here in his debut.. Team Silver would love to keep his scoring punch into the Playoffs.. Certainly a Player to keep an eye on in terms of Games Played down the stretch.. Team Malvin looms in Week 12.


Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) – 4-7, Currently tied for 14th

A week after dealing the 2x Defending Champs their first Loss of the season and jumping up to #9 in the Power Rankings, Team Tucci’s biggest concern reared it’s ugly head once again on Sunday Night..  They once again had to play with 5 guys and just couldn’t endure the grueling 44-minutes against the deep bench of Team James-Hagari. Captain Alan went for 29 points. They get the Free Agent squad next Sunday Night.


That’s it for this week! Stay warm out there. See everyone again on Sunday.