2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Week 13 (Jan. 24)

Updated: January 26, 2016

Week 13 has given us chwome crazy results in the past but in 2015-16, the rich got richer.. The Top 6 Teams in the Standings and 8 of the Top 9 all got Wins on Sunday Night.. Which means there were very few for the rest of the League to be had.. As a results, for the first time in a long time,  there’s not a ton of shaking-up to do in terms of the Rankings. Housekeeping Note: We have Games next Sunday (Jan. 31) but then are off the following TWO Sundays (Feb. 7 -Super Bowl and Feb. 14- Valentines/Presidents Days)..  Then we’ll return on Feb. 21.

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.

Nate Johnson of Team Malvin wins the Greater Than Performance of the Week for his 42 and 15 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, Brandon Maslar, Benny Lalez and Kyle Nelson.

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 Maione (popchips) – 12-1, Currently in 1st

Business as usual for the #1 squad in the Hoops landscape.  Their W-streak is up to 8 and they also were able to exact some revenge on Team Shamberg whom they dropped a Summer League Playoff Game to back in August.. Bradley Deutsch got a Triple Double in this one and Chris Wroblewski was his usual self with 28 points.  With Week 13 in the books that means we are just over 2/3 done with the Regular Season.. There are just 6 Regular Season Games left for each Team. Looking ahead to their final stretch.. They will be heavy-favorites next week with Team Silver but then will finish with 5 Games in a row against Teams at or above .500. If they are going to hold on to the #1 seed they are going to have to bring their best..


2. Team Bulwa (Le Brocq Lawyer) – 11-2, Currently tied for 2nd 

They were without Captain Bulwa, Nick Winbush, Zack Novak, Ricky Silver, Mike Maione and Adam Bernkopf AND STILL did enough to get a W.. Zack Meuser was excellent in this one as he scored 26 and Chris Stamas added 34 in a big night. Their W extends the W-Streak to 9.  That ties Team Lalez’s run to start the season for the longest run of the year. Can they do what no one has done all season and get to 10 in a row?  They are about to embark on one of the toughest stretches they’ll face all season long.. Team Goldin looms next week in what will be the Orunje Game of the Week (and they are just a Game Back in the Standings).. Then after the couple weeks off to start February, they have Team Sternberg and Team James-Hagari..  All of these Teams at the top are racing for a Top 4 spot.. Each Game is crucial.


3. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy) – 11-2, Currently tied for 2nd

Much like the first two Teams in the Rankings, Team Zimmerman got a convincing Win on Sunday Night.  They were without their PG Esto Vega in Week 13 and still managed to get over the century mark.  Kyle Nelson has just been playing at another level (and he was already above the pack) so far in 2016.. He added another double double with 30 and 16. He makes everyone on the floor with him better and with the shooters they have, all they need is a half-step.. Dave Altman chipped in 27 as well.  They’ll take on Team James-Hagari in Week 14 and will also have a tough schedule down the stretch.. A Game with #4 Team Lalez looms for the second to last week of the regular season.. With the top of the Standings so jammed, whoever finishes in the Top 4 is going to have to earn it in these final 6 weeks..


4. Team Lalez (Orunje) – 11-2, Currently tied for 2nd

The 2x Defending Champs had come in to Sunday after dropping 2 of their last 3 which is certainly uncharacteristic for them.. They also dropped out of their perch from #1 in the Standings and Power Rankings following their second Loss a week ago.. Many Teams, would have let that carry over and snowball a bit.. We’ve seen it happen here numerous times.. But Team Lalez is not your average Team.. When they got to the gym on Sunday Night for a Championship Rematch from 2014-15, they were focused and confident.. You can’t ever tell with them if they are Winners of 9 in a row or Losers of 2 of 3.. They just play their Game and the rest will take care of itself.  Scott Campbell had 29 and 16 on Sunday. Team Malvin is up next in Week 14 before a clash with significant Playoff implications following the early February Break.. That will be with #5…


5. Team Harris (DoorDash) – 11-2, Currently tied for 2nd

It’s pretty crazy when you think about it.. They are 11-2. They have Wins over Team Zimmerman and Team Maione and yet, they are still ranked #5. More than anything, it’s a testament to how deep the class of the League really is.. They got another big W on Sunday Night as they were pouring in the 3s for the entire contest.. Jeff Howard had a remarkable 42 points and 18 boards. They have 6 Games to go and are tied for 2nd but they have a couple big-time opponents to close the Season.. They need to continue to play their best basketball if they want to land a Top 4 spot come April.. In Week 14, they get the hungry Free Agents, then they’ll go on break with the rest of the League for a couple of weeks… When we get back from that, it will be a Week 15 showdown with the 2x Defending Champs Team Lalez.  To say that one has Playoff implications, is a huge understatement.


6. Team Goldin (StudentCity) – 10-3, Currently in 6th

They got to their Winning ways on Sunday Night with a decisive W over Team Cohen.  More importantly, they didn’t lose any ground on the Top 5 Teams in the Standings, all of whom were Winners in Week 13 as well.. Justin Cornelius had 29 on the night and Brandon Lathon turned in a Triple Double! It was nice to see Garrett Staniec back on the sideline for them as he continues to rehab his knee from off-season surgery.. Also need to give a big Happy 30th to Captain DG! Next week may be the most important of Team Goldin’s season.  They are about to enter an insanely tough (and crucial) part of their Schedule.. Their record in the final 6 Games will not just affect their Playoff seeding but their potential momentum and confidence as we enter the Playoffs in April.  Next Sunday night they try to end Team Bulwa’s 9-Game Win-Streak. More important for them, they try to pull even with Team Bulwa in the Standings.. In the next few Weeks Team Goldin will also see Team Harris and Team Maione.. They are going to have every opportunity to leapfrog Teams ahead of them.. Just need to play their best ball.


7. Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) – 7-6, Currently tied for 8th

2016 is so their year!  (or something like that.. Danny Cowin exclaimed post-Game on Sunday Night).  He’s totally right.. They’ve won 4 in a row (all in January) and are really starting to climb up the Standings and of course, the Power Rankings. Coming in at #7, their highest Ranking to date and well-deserved as they knocked off the formerly streaking Team Sternberg on Sunday Night.  Seeds 5-7 in the Playoffs have to Win 1 less Game on their road to the Championship and now Team Gutman is just a Game Back of Team Sternberg (who is in 7th) and owns the tiebreaker over them.. That’s the goal for the next 6 weeks.. Get into that Top 7. They are entering a very winnable stretch of Games and need to take advantage.. No time to let an easy one get away. They try to go for the perfect 5-0 January next week with Team Shamberg.


8. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) – 8-5, Currently in 7th

They had won 4 of 5 coming into Sunday Night but were a bit shorthanded and without Captain Sam.. They just couldn’t get anything going Offensively and had trouble clearing the glass on Defense as well.. Team Gutman caught them at the right time and took advantage of it.. They will close January with the red-hot Team Tucci.. Team Sternberg owns a 1 Game lead over a host of squads for the 7th spot in the Standings and they need to fight like crazy over the final stretch to preserve that lead.. There’s a big difference in the Playoffs between the 7 and 8 seed.  Again, link to Bracket above.


9. Team James-Hagari (Biaggi’s Red) – 7-6, Currently tied for 8th

Dating all the way back to Thanksgiving, these guys have managed to Win 1, Lose 1, Win 1, Lose 1 etc.. It’s been a roller-coaster ride to say the least.. This past Week they got a W vs. Team Apuli in what was a really solid Team Win.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with going .500 out here. Most Teams would sign-up for that this second.. But this group has more than enough talent to start rattling off some Ws and come into the Playoffs with both a high seed and some serious momentum.. They look to make it 2 in a row for the first time since Mid-November against #3 Team Zimmerman in what should be a fun one.


10. Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) – 7-6, Currently tied for 8th

They took on #2 Team Bulwa on Sunday Night in a contest where both Teams were without most of their leading point-men.. Both sides took some time to get going, in what are normally sound Offenses.. When all was said and done, Team Bulwa hit a few more shots and did enough to continue their W-streak to 9.  For Team UC Booth, they’ve now lost a few in a row (it happens to most in this League).. They are a talented bunch and they know that.. Just need to turn things around once and they’ll be right back on track.. Team Cohen is their opponent in Week 14 before late-Feb. dates with Team Tucci and last year’s Runners-Up Team Kozin.


11. Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) – 6-7, Currently tied for 11th

If you wiped out Weeks 2-6, Team Tucci would be 6-2 and right in the debate for top spots in the Power Rankings.. They’ve won 4 of 6 and are showing what made them the #5 seed a year ago.. Now, we can’t just wipe away 5 weeks of the season so they still sit at a Game Below .500 as we head into Week 14.. Considering they were at one point 1-5, that’s a pretty impressive run they’ve put together.. They are starting to add much needed depth, which was all that was missing early on. The talent has always been there, as last year’s MVP Alan Tucci actually put together a more talented bunch this season than last.. Doesn’t hurt when the Captain gets 28 points as he did in Week 13.  They look to finally get back to .500 in Week 14 against #8 Team Sternberg.


12. Team Free Agent (VIP Express Limo) – 6-7, Currently tied for 11th

On Sunday Night they finally broke their L-streak and earned their first W of 2016. It was a hard-fought and well-earned victory over Team Malvin. Tim Szatko is turning heads week after week.. He had 30 and 12 to help secure the Win.  They now find themselves just a Game back of a few Teams at 7-6 and tied with Team Tucci at 6-7. There is going to be quite a bit of jockeying for seeding as we head into the final stretch of the Regular Season.. With 6 Games left, a lot can happen, and it’s going to be interesting to see who steps up with the added pressure.. The Free Agents look to get back to .500 in Week 14 but it’s going to be a tough road as they go toe to toe with #5 Team Harris.


13. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa) – 5-8, Currently tied for 13th

They had won 2 in a row coming into Sunday Night and it appeared that they were ready to start knocking down everyone in their path.. They came across a familiar foe in Team Lalez on Sunday Night in what was a Championship Game Rematch from a year ago.. This one was as close as their Playoff battles last Spring but in the end Team Lalez got the W. Randall Hampton had 26 on Sunday Night.   While these guys would have obviously rather have won.. They took the Defending Champs to the brink and it does appear as if they are back for good.. Team Kozin has the ability to beat each and every Team in the League.  Not in the way that “anything can happen on a single night..”  More in the way that, Vegas would never really seem them as underdogs.. No matter the seed they wind up with come April, they are going to be dangerous and Teams need to be ready.. Team Schwartz is next in Week 14.


14. Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 5-8, Currently tied for 13th

Dropped one to the Free Agents on Sunday Night which makes it two Ls in a row.. With no one in the Standings or Rankings from last week getting a Win though, they get to keep the final spot in the Rankings for another week.. Nate Johnson’s incredible performance is highlighted above.. They are entering a crucial time in their Debut season.. They are tied for 13th in the Standings with Teams Kozin and Schwartz but with the 3 of them stacked together, at least 1 is in danger of falling into the Bottom 6 seeds when the Playoffs begin.. Teams seeded 15-20 will need to Win an extra Game when the Playoffs begin.. That may not seem like a huge deal.. But when you only get 2 Losses come Playoff time, you want to stay out of harm’s way as much as possible..  They need to dig deep as next week they get their first crack at the 2x Defending Champs – Team Lalez.


Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order)

Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley) – 1-12, Currently tied for 18th

A week after getting their first W of the Season they tried to make it 2 in a row against Team James-Hagari but came up a bit short.. All in all though they look like a different Team in 2016 and their record is not going to be indicative of their play come Playoff time.. Putting this on paper right now.. They are going to stun someone early in the Playoffs.. It won’t be a shocker to Team Apuli or to us really, just the Team that takes them lightly in April.. They get the hungry Team Gainski next week.. Team Apuli knows that feeling all too well.


Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 3-10, Currently tied for 16th

Didn’t play their best ball on Sunday Night.. When you do that, it’s very hard to get Ws in this League.. It’s almost impossible when you don’t bring your best and you are playing one of the Elite squads such as Team Goldin. We’ve talked about their talent level numerous times since October.. It’s not a talent issue.. They are still struggling to get their rotations set as key pieces don’t get enough run together.. They have a lot of moving parts and reps are the only way to really improve Team chemistry.. Right now, that’s where they are lacking.. They get the UC Booth crew in Week 14 who have a similar 3-Game skid to their name.. Someone’s streak will snap.


Team Gainski (SLA) – 0-13, Currently in 20th

They get Team Apuli on Sunday Night in Week 14.  That’s where the focus needs to be. They are improving. They’ve added a couple pieces in the past couple of weeks and the Roster is in better shape than at this point a month ago.. Team Apuli at 1-12 sits just a Game a head of Team Gainski.. By all accounts, this is a Game that they can Win. Mentally it would be a huge deal for them to be able to just snap the crazy skid they are on.. It’s also realistic, if they can get this W, to start talking about them hopping a couple Teams in the League’s final weeks.. First things first, got to get W #1 on Sunday.


Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) – 5-8, Currently tied for 13th

Were undermanned for a clash with #5 Team Harris who simply shot the lights out..  Not a ton of analysis to be had here.. Team Harris just played better and got the W.  Anthony Bernardi had 30 points and 8 boards in what was a nice night for him.  As for where Team Schwartz currently sits.. They are in a dangerous spot currently as 1 of the 3 Teams tied at 5-8 would fall into the dreaded 15th seed which means they’d need to play an extra Game in Round 1.  A lot can and will change in the League’s final weeks but a huge one looms on Sunday Night as they take on Team Kozin who they are currently deadlocked with at 5-8.  Big big Game coming..


Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title) – 1-12, Currently tied for 18th

They hung tough with familiar foes #1 Team Maione on the first half before succumbing to their 3pt ability in the 2nd half.  Brett Kaplan had it going early and was a large part of the reason they were neck and neck for so long..  They get the streaking Team Gutman who looks to win their 5th in a row on Sunday Night.. Team Gutman also tends to sleep on Teams that are below them in the Standings.. This is a perfect opportunity for Team Shamberg to get a big W and turn it on for the final stretch of the Regular Season.


Team Silver (Kelly Parker HC Gold) – 3-10, Currently tied for 16th

Caught Team Tucci at the wrong time as they are really getting rolling right now.. Captain EJ had 34 on the night.  They are also going to close January with #1 Team Maione so it might get worse before it gets better for a bit.. That being said they are still only a couple Games back of a big chunk of groups.. If they can find a way to get to even .500 in the last 6 Games they may just leap a couple of squads and really improve their seeding come April.


That’s it for us. Hope you have a great week!