2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Week 14 (Jan. 31)

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Updated: February 2, 2016

Week 14 will be remembered for a few different reasons.. First, allow Team Malvin to re-introduce themselves.. They defeated the 2x Defending Champs Team Lalez on Sunday Night and did so by just playing hard.. They are not the same group that had a rough October and everyone needs to take notice.. Also, Team Bulwa got to 10-straight Ws by defeating Team Goldin, which is now the longest streak of the season!

Housekeeping Note: We are OFF for the NEXT TWO SUNDAYS (Feb. 7 and Feb. 14) — we are back on Sunday Feb. 21! That’s been on the Schedule but just want to give everyone a Reminder.

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.

Victor Ojeleye of Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) wins the Greater Than Performance of the Week for his 40 points 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, Chris Wroblewski, Brandon Maslar, Benny Lalez, Kyle Nelson and Nate Johnson.

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..  OK Let’s Rank ‘Em!

 

Power Rankings

1. Team Maione (popchips) – 13-1, Currently in 1st

With their W they push their Win-Streak to 9 .. Still trailing Team Bulwa’s of 10 by a Game.. Much more importantly however, is they now have a 2 Game Lead over the Team in 5th in the Standings with 5 Games left.. Remember the Top 4 Teams get a big advantage when the Playoffs start.. That Team in 5th right now happens to be the 2x Defending Champs who Team Maione will face to end February.. Team Maione has an extremely tough schedule to finish the Regular Season but with the way they are playing it may not matter.. They’ll get Team James-Hagari on Feb. 21.

 

2. Team Bulwa (Le Brocq Lawyer) – 12-2, Currently tied for 2nd

10 straight in any League is no joke but particularly in the Chicago Hoops League where you run in to quality opponents week in and week out.. They are playing so well as a unit and every time they step on the court they feel as if they should get the W.  It takes a while for Teams to get that true belief in themselves and Team Bulwa has it. What’s remarkable is that even with their 10 game streak, they still trail Team Maione by a Game and are tied with Team Harris and Team Zimmerman, with Team Lalez right on their heels.. There’s just so much depth at the top, they’ll need to finish at this pace to retain a top seed come April.. They are showing no signs of slowing down, so no worries for them there.. They’ll get the tough Team Sternberg group in Week 15 when we get back from this early Feb. break.

 

3. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy) – 12-2, Currently tied for 2nd

What’s incredible with Team Zimmerman is they are somehow seemingly flying under the radar even though they are 12-2 and simply destroying Teams.. They beat Team James-Hagari, who is .500 with very solid Ws this season, by 20 points on Sunday Night!  Simply put, they are basically un-guardable at this point.. As is the case with the rest of the top tier, they are going to have work hard down the stretch, as they do not have an easy schedule to finish off the year.. They’ll have Team Lalez in Week 18 and that one will likely have significant Playoff implications.. One game at a time though and they have Team Schwartz who has given many top Teams fits this season, on Feb. 21.

 

4. Team Harris (DoorDash) – 12-2, Currently tied for 2nd

Short-handed and with an assist from a couple friends, they managed to get the job done once again and defeated Team Free Agent on Sunday Night.  They’ve been sporting a short bench for a few weeks and have been banged up as well.. This 2 Week break is coming at a great time for them and they better get right quick.. When we get back on Feb. 21 they will have the 2x Defending Champs Team Lalez who have a few weeks to stew about dropping one last week.. They’ll have Team Goldin the week after… February will be a big month for them.

 

5. Team Lalez (Orunje) – 11-3, Currently in 5th

Since racing out to a 9-0 start they’ve come back down to earth a bit in 2016.. The Reigning, Defending, 2x Defending Champs of the Hoops League universe have dropped 3 of their last 5 Games and have a brutal finish to the Regular Season upcoming.. To finish the season starting on Feb. 21, they’ll have #4 Team Harris, then #1 Team Maione, then Rivals Team Cohen, #3 Team Zimmerman and then #6 Team Gutman. That’s a gauntlet. Most Teams, would likely be a bit concerned with this proposition.. However, these are the Back2Back Champs after all and the truth is, they likely look at it as an opportunity to climb back up the Standings (and Power Rankings) in the final weeks..  The truth is, whatever number is associated with their name come April, is just that.. A number.  No one has ever defeated them in an Elimination Game in the Hoops League. Not ever.  This is eerily similar to last Spring and we all know how that finished..

 

6. Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) – 8-6, Currently in 8th 

Winners of 5 straight to start 2016 and coming into the Rankings at a much deserved #6.  Easily, the highest they’ve been to date in the Hoops League.. They did not get too much fanfare early and that was mostly dictated to a rough stretch to start the season.. This is actually from the Week 1 Power Rankings: Most have not gone through the Chicago Hoops League before and Sunday Night was certainly not the debut they’d hoped for.. That being said this group, who is playing as a unit for the first time has everything that you’d want for a Championship Team.  Yes. Championship. Back to present day.. They are peaking right now and at the right time.. The Teams atop the Standings and Power Rankings need to make room, because Team Gutman is moving in to the top tier.

 

7. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) – 9-5, Currently in 7th

Nice bounce back week for them as they got a W against the always tough Team Tucci crew.  They’ve won 4 of 5 and 5 of 7.. This is no fluke to see them at 4 Games above .500.  Since Thanksgiving they have been as good as any Team in the League and their Win Column shows that appropriately.. Come Playoff time, their Players may not dazzle with any 30-40pt performances, but as a unit — Playoff Ws are on the horizon.  When we return in a few weeks they are going to be the stoppers to #2 Team Bulwa’s 10-Game W-Streak. They are exactly the type of group that will get after it defensively and push Team Bulwa to the limit.. If they get a W there, not only will they officially have everyone’s attention, they won’t be out of the running for a Top seed.. Many of the Teams ahead of them in the Standings will face-off down the stretch and that means there will be ground to be gained..

 

8. Team Goldin (StudentCity) – 10-4, Currently in 6th

The break is coming at the right time for Team Goldin. They’ve dropped of 3 of 4 as we turn the Calendar to February.  Here’s the deal.. They were 9-1 before this skid and because of that, they are still in excellent shape.. They are 2 Games back of the Top 4 in the Standings.. While they will have a tough schedule down the stretch, just like all of the Teams ahead of them in the Rankings, they are going to have an opportunity to defeat Teams directly ahead of them in the Standings.. They’ll get a Game with Team Harris and Team Maione over the final stretch.. When we come back on Feb. 21, they’ll take on the squad that just knocked off the 2x Defending Champs Team.. That’s #9…

 

9. Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 6-8, Currently tied for 11th

big. Big. BIG. W!  We’ve touched on it a few times in the past month or two but it needs to be repeated.. They were 0-4 and 2-5 at different points of the Season.. They’ve been over .500 since Week 8 and the truth is there may not be a single Player more valuable to his Team than Nate Johnson.  This guy may be the most athletic Player in the League and his tenacity at the glass is just insane.. Couple that with the shooters and other active wing-defenders, this is a Group that has not yet experienced their biggest Ws (plural) yet.  Considering they have Ws over both Teams that competed in last year’s Championship and #6 Team Gutman.. That’s saying something.. When we come back on Feb. 21 for Week 15 they will take on #8 Team Goldin.

 

10. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa) – 6-8, Currently tied for 11th

Got a much needed W against the feisty Team Schwartz bunch on Sunday Night.  Here’s what Team Kozin’s goal should be over the final 5 weeks of the Regular Season.. Just get to a point where their best ball is ready to be activated.. They have that on/off switch we’ve talked about over the years and when they are “on”, very few in the League can keep them down.. That’s evidenced by them getting to the Championship a year ago.. Their Schedule is extremely favorable down the stretch.. They only face 1 Team currently over .500 (Team Sternberg) and have a chance to break away from the middle of the pack they are currently entrenched with.. It wouldn’t be shocking whatsoever to see them run the table and enter the Playoffs on a 6-Game Win Streak.. More important than seed and win/loss record for this group is specifically just getting right.  If they get out and pressure the ball on the wings, it turns into easy buckets and as we’ve stated they are lethal..

 

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

The pattern continues for Team James-Hagari.. It’s well documented at this point but they have gone Win/Loss/Win/Loss etc. since Thanksgiving.. They win in the odd weeks and lose in the even weeks.. This past Sunday, being Week 14, they lost..  Now, in Week 15 they will come back from the break and face a Team that wins just about every game no matter the Week.. #1 Team Maione is up next. A year ago, Co-Captain Christian James hit a Game-Winner at the buzzer to hand Team Maione their first loss of the season.. This is one Team Maione has been waiting for and it should be a fun one on Feb. 21.

 

12. Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) – 7-7, Currently tied for 9th

They are experiencing what most have already gone through thus far this season.. They’ve dropped 4 consecutive Games and the truth is, it’s not any one thing.. This past week, they had the ball with a chance to tie it or go-ahead in the closing moments and the ball just rimmed out.. Victor’s big night was highlighted at the top, but he’d trade every point back for a W. This group is full of team-first guys and that goes a long way.. The break will be a nice reset for them as January was not kind, and they can come back focused on turning it back on in the final stretch.. This is the same Team that went 7-3 to start the year and while they’ve been playing without a full cast for the past few weeks, this is not an “excuse-giving” Team. Truth be told, this is likely going to seem like a distant memory once we get to the Spring. Their schedule is not going to get easier from here on out as they have 4 of their last 5 with Teams currently ranked in the Top 10.. That being said, they’ve beaten the top groups in the League before, and have more than enough to do so again..

 

13. Team Free Agent (VIP Express Limo) – 6-8, Currently tied for 11th

Lost to Team Harris this past Sunday (so have 11 other Teams so far..) and nothing to be ashamed of there.. They are still clumped with several of the Teams in the middle of the pack and over the last 5 weeks of the season much of the seeding and, thus, the way the Playoff match-ups break down will be decided.. Compared to others here in the middle of the pack, their schedule is not terrible.. They have several Winnable Games before a date with #1 Team Maione to close the Regular Season.  This is a group that honestly can beat anyone.  They really can.  Yet, they still don’t have that chemistry which can be called upon when they aren’t getting it done on skill alone.. It will come.. There’s still a lot of Regular Season hoops left to be played.. On Feb. 21 they’ll take on the final Team into this Week’s Rankings, #14…

 

14. Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 4-10, Currently in 16th

Finally… Team Cohen has come back to the Rankings!  They won a hard-fought Game with Team UC Booth that came down to the wire on Sunday Night. Want to send a get well soon to Tom McGee! We’ve mentioned it already about a half-dozen times or so but Team Cohen has a real opportunity to make a serious run to end the Regular Season. Their schedule presents one of the lowest win-percentage for prospective opponents down the stretch..  Team Lalez who is a Rival, is the only Team above .500 that they will see the rest of the way.. In fact, if you take Team Lalez out of the equation, their last 4 opponents’ combined W/L record currently is at 14-42 (Team James-Hagari is 7-7 mind you).  Here’s the run we’ve been waiting for..

 

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order) 

Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley) – 2-12, Currently in 18th

They have now won 2 of 3 and more importantly look like themselves again.. A crazy losing streak does weird stuff to Teams and now that they don’t have the burden of carrying that around any longer they look like they are enjoying it out there once again.. This is a 2-12 Team that could be 7-7 right now.  Everyone would be looking at them quite differently at this point if they had won a couple Games that got into OT etc.  Come Playoff time they may have a lower seed than we expected at the outset, but once they get 1 W in the Playoffs (and they should) the seed for them is just going to be a number.. The key for them is getting everyone to the gym. When that happens.. They can beat anyone. They get the get Team Shamberg who is just below in them in the Standings when we get back..

 

Team Gainski (SLA) – 0-14, Currently in 20th

They came up against Team Apuli who shed themselves of a bad losing skid a couple weeks ago and are now playing their best ball of the year.. It’s unfortunate for Team Gainski, as they are often catching Teams at the wrong time.. They didn’t have an answer inside for Dan Stone.  Most don’t.  We’ve talked about this at length but just to repeat.. The teams at the bottom of the Standings will face each other to begin the Playoffs.  So, more so than their record, Team Gainski just needs to get to the best version of themselves in the final 5 weeks of the season.. If they do that, it’s not crazy to think they may get more Playoff Ws than Regular Season ones..

 

Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) – 5-9, Currently in 15th

They almost knocked off last year’s Runners-Up Team Kozin.  They’ve been in many Games that didn’t go there way this season and if you look back on their year so far, you can easily see them at 7-7 or 8-6 without much more going their way other than a few jumpers staying down.  Their potential size that they could potentially roll out during a potential Playoff run, is potentially scary for most..  However, they need to figure out a way to close tight Games if they want to play deep in to April. Their final 5 are not easy and if they want to climb out of the 15 spot (seeds 15-20 have to play an Opening Round in the Playoffs) they need to bring down the stretch.. #3 Team Zimmerman awaits on Feb. 21.

 

Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title) – 1-13, Currently in 19th

Going to try something and literally not speak one bit about anything that has happened until right now.. When we get back on Feb. 21, they have 5 Games left in the Regular Season and not one of them will be against a Team with a winning record. Not one.  They have all the opportunity in the world to come into the Playoffs hot, despite their record or seed. Truthfully, if they play well, they are within striking distance of several Teams and are facing many of the squads directly in front of them.  Team Apuli who sits a Game up on them in the Standings will be their opponent on Feb. 21. The perfect opportunity to start leapfrogging.

 

Team Silver (Kelly Parker HC Gold) – 3-11, Currently in 17th

Team Maione is good. We all know that. Let’s move on.. Up next, is Team Gutman who is riding a 5-Game Winning Streak and feeling pretty good about themselves. That being said, they’ve managed to let a couple “easy” ones go this season against Teams that they’ve underestimated.  Team Silver is better than their record indicates and if on Feb. 21 Team Gutman doesn’t bring their full-effort, Team Silver will be in the Winner’s Circle.

 

Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) – 6-8, Currently tied for 11th

Different week. Same story.  When they get their whole cast of characters to the gym, which has been tough for them, they are as good as any.. Of their 6 Wins, remember they’ve defeated #5 Team Lalez, #6 Team Gutman and #9 Team Malvin.  Down the stretch, they as does Team Cohen, have a very favorable final slate of Games.. They’ll have to play well but there’s a chance they ride 5 straight Ws into the Playoffs. No joke. The combined records of their final opponents are 23-37. If you take out the 1 Game with 10-4 Team Goldin, then it’s 13-33… They need to play their part, but they have a very good shot of coming in as hot as any..

 

That’s it for this week. Enjoy the Super Bowl and then Valentines/President’s Days. See you on Feb. 21!

-Holden