2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Week 16 (Feb. 28)

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Updated: March 2, 2016

Three Regular Season Games.. That’s all that separates us from the second season.. As the Playoffs begin to cast a bigger and bigger cloud over the remaining weeks, it’s important to realize just how far away we are from crowning a Champion on Sunday May 15.  Every Team is going to experience ups and downs before we get to that point.. This past Sunday saw many of our top Teams battle head to head and with those Games certainly came a Playoff-like atmosphere. We had the first of the Top-4 Seeds clinched on Sunday Night. More on that in just a bit.. The ALL STAR BALLOT — is LIVE!  You will have until Monday April 4 (day after first night of the Playoffs).  Instructions and How Voting works are included on the Ballot itself.

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 from the Bracket, there are 4 different rounds at which Teams enter the Playoffs. Seeds 15-20 start the furthest from the Crown, then Seeds 8-14 enter, followed by Seeds 5-7, while Seeds 1-4 start the closest to the Crown.  Races for Seeds #14, #7 and #4 are especially important. 

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) – 15-1, Currently in 1st

#1 Team Maione won their 11th straight Game on Sunday Night it might just be the most satisfying Regular Season victory in Franchise history.  They defeated 2x Defending Champs Team Lalez on Sunday Night.  Well, they didn’t just defeat them.. It was a route. They might be playing the best ball we’ve seen out of them in their 3 years of the Hoops League (which includes a trip to the 2013-14 Championship Game — of course against Team Lalez).  Simply, they are humming.. With the W, they also have now clinched a Top-4 Seed in the Playoffs which means they get a BYE during Week 1 of the Playoffs.  This Win meant a lot for them in more ways than one.. They are still just a game up on Teams Bulwa and Zimmerman for the #1 seed so there’s no time to take their foot off the pedal. Team Goldin awaits in Week 17.

 

2. Team Bulwa (Le Brocq Lawyer) – 14-2, Currently tied for 2nd

They have now won an unimaginable 12 in a row.. What’s really crazy is that since their W-streak began in Week 5, they have only gained 1 Game in the Standings on Team Maione (who is sporting their own 11-Game W-streak).. It’s just nuts.  The top flight of Teams in the Hoops League are as good as we’ve ever seen in All Sports Series and the Playoffs are shaping up to be amazing.. Back to Team Bulwa, they throttled Team James-Hagari on Sunday and will look to make it 13 straight against Team Schwartz in Week 17.  Compared to other top Teams in the Standings, Team Bulwa’s opponents to close the Regular Season have a much lower win-percentage.. These guys have a real shot of entering the Playoffs with 15 straight Ws.. Still have to go 1 Game at a time..

 

3. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy) – 14-2, Currently tied for 2nd

Lost in Team Maione’s 11 straight Wins and Team Bulwa’s 12 straight is the fact that Team Zimmerman has rattled off 8 in a row as well and remain just a Game back of Team Maione for 1st in the Standings. This group is also playing some of the best ball we’ve ever seen out of them and this is the reigning 2015 Chicago Men’s League Champs were talking about.. On Sunday Night, they took it to a tough Team Sternberg squad by going over 100 again and ending with a 35+ W.   They get Team Silver this week before a huge showdown with Team Lalez in Week 18 and a regular season finale with Team UC Booth.  If they keep playing their brand of basketball they will be entering the Playoffs with a Top-4 seed as well.

 

4. Team Harris (DoorDash) – 13-3, Currently in 4th

Quite the Sunday Night for Team Harris.  They battled Team Goldin for 44 minutes and at the final buzzer with the Game tied, Jeff Howard caught the ball at mid-court, turned, fired… Ball Game.  It was a big Win for Team Harris in many ways.. First of all beating Team Goldin is feat at any point but with Team Lalez falling to Team Maione earlier in the night, Team Harris now sits all alone in 4th place.. We’ve talked many times in past Power Rankings how there will be a race to the 4-seed.. Right now, Team Harris controls their own destiny.. If they win out, they will have a BYE during Week 1 of the Playoffs while other Teams are fighting for survival. They have a tough test this coming Sunday though with Team UC Booth!

 

5. Team Lalez (Orunje) – 12-4, Currently in 5th

Last Sunday will go down as one the 2x Defending Champs will  try to forget, and fast… They just couldn’t get it going against #1 Tean Maione.. The recipe for getting last the Champs come Playoff time just might be to come out as fast as humanly possible and hope to end it just after halftime.. The truth is, in close Games, Team Lalez is nearly unbeatable. Their poise and experience in those situations are as big of a reason as any for holding the Crown these past two seasons.. They now find themselves in chase mode which hasn’t often been the case.. They are a Game Back of Team Harris for the 4th Seed and have just 3 left to play.. They’ll take on Rivals Team Cohen in Week 17.

 

6. Team Goldin (StudentCity) – 11-5, Currently in 6th

Sometime you draw the short straw and that’s what happened on Sunday Night with Team Goldin.. A would be Game Winner was waived off for a 3-second violation and that was followed by a half court heave that won it for Team Harris.  It stinks and there’s no reason to really sugarcoat it. They are playing well right now and are basically a lock to finish with a Top 7 seed. Justin Ward led the way with 23 points for them on Sunday. They are just a Game back of Team Lalez for 5th.. They do have a tough schedule to close the season however and that is highlighted by a Game of the Week  appearance this coming Sunday with #1 Team Maione.

 

7. Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) – 9-7, Currently tied for 7th

Their Win streak was finally snapped on what was an amazing start to the 2016 Calendar year for Team Gutman. Team Free Agent got the best of them in a Game that made the middle of the Standings even murkier. Adam Rhum did have a nice night in the Loss with 21 points and has really come on as of late.    Currently Team Gutman is tied with Team Sternberg for that all important 7th seed. Team Gutman’s road down the stretch is a difficult one.. They’ll have Team James-Hagari this week followed by UC Booth in Week 18 and then finally the 2x Defensing Champs Team Lalez to finish the Regular Season.  If they play their best they could be looking at the #7 seed and a great position come Week 1 of the Playoffs.. If they don’t, it’s feasible they could enter at 10 or 11 come April.

 

8. Team Free Agent (VIP Express Limo) – 8-8, Currently tied for 9th

As we head down the home stretch of the Regular Season this group that was once just Free Agwnts have really gelled and have fought back to the .500 mark. They got what might be their biggest W of the season Sunday Night by defeating Team Gurman who had won 6 straight. Tim Szatko had another All-Star level performance with 25 and 9.  Good luck keeping him out of the paint in the Playoffs everyone. Tred Dean also had 20 on the night. They are going to face another hot Team this coming Sunday Nuhht when they take on Team Apuli who have won 4 of their last 5.  Each and every one of these Games holds so much weight. They are just a game back of the Team tied for 7th but are also tied with a couple more and just a Game Up on a few more.. They can finish anywhere from 7-14 in seeding and that is a HUGE difference.

 

9. Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 7-9, Currently tied for 12th

Back to the Winner’s Circle in Week 16 was Team Malvin who continue to put pressure on the middle of the pack of the Standings.. Since their slow start they have been a top flight Team and they are going to send some ripples into effect during the Playoffs. Usual Suspects of Nate Johnson with 21 and Matt Merrigan with 17 that helped get them past Team Schwartz on Sunday Night. They are going have their hands full in a Game that may end up serving as a Playoff preview depending on how the last few weeks shake out.. They take on a Team 2 Games above them in the Standings but this week they come in at #10…

 

10. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) – 9-7, Currently tied for 7th

Team Sternberg is in the hardest part of their Schedule right now and it’s definitely pushing them to their limits.. They dropped their 3rd in their last 4 Games on Sunday Night. Now, it’s not a time to press the panic button or anything like that.. The last two Games were against #2 Team Bulwa and most recently #3 Team Zimmerman.. What’s important for them is to not fall into any bad habits just before we get into the Win or Go Home mode.. They have been stellar all year on both ends of the floor and this past Sunday we saw Team Zimmerman get over the century mark on them.. They have Team Malvin coming up in Week 17 before a really tough stretch of #1 Team Maione and 2014-15 Runners-Up Team Kozin to close out the year.. They are going to end the Regular Season with Playoff-like atmospheres.. It’s go time.

 

11. Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) – 8-8, Currently tied for 9th

They’ve finally crawled all the way back!  After a 2-6 start in the season’s first stretch, they have battled back and gone 6-2 in their last Games to get back to even in the Win/Loss columns.  They are as hot as any Team in the League not named Maione, Bulwa or Zimmerman and they have a real chance of jumping Teams in these last few weeks based on their Schedule.  They are just a Game back of Teams Gutman and Sternberg for 7th and place and it would be an incredible accomplishment if they could climb all the way up there.. Next up is Team Gainski who are still searching for their first W.

 

12. Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) – 8-8, Currently tied for 9th

Everyone can finally breathe a sigh of relief here. They had dropped 5 in a row before defeating last year’s Runners-Up Team Kozin in a Game that felt like people’s Playoff lives were on the line.. This Group played at the same level of the top tier in the opening months of the season and they still have a few weeks to really bring that back.. If they can, their size and talent, is going to be a tough match-up for every Team in the League.  They play another top flight Team on Sunday Night in #4 Team Harris who also has a ton to play for.. The final schedule for UC Booth will be difficult but they are poised to make a run this April.

 

13. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa) – 7-9, Currently tied for 12th

They are among the Teams log-jammed in the middle of the Standings. 8 Teams sit with their records between 9-7 and 7-9.  Right now, that’s the difference between the 7th and 14th seeds.  For most Teams, that really could be the difference between an extended/magical run come this Spring. Truthfully, for Team Kozin, whatever number shows up beside their name come Playoff time is just that.  Have they dropped a few Games this Regular Season that they shouldn’t have? Yes.  Are they one of only 3 Teams to have tasted the Hoops League Championship Game. Yes.  The latter is way more important than the former. Team Shamberg is next for them in Week 17.

 

14. Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley) – 4-12, Currently in 17th

Welcome to the Rankings Team Apuli!  You know what.. You win 4 out of 5 Games in this League and you deserve to be Ranked.  Doesn’t matter what the start of their Season looked like.. This Team is playing excellent ball right now and any Team that comes their way when the Playoffs begin are going to be shaking their head over their draw.. They had 4 guys in double figures on Sunday including Rob Kamentsev with 25, Tyler Austin with 22, Freddy Artega with 17 and Captain Justin with 14.  Their final 3 Games won’t be easy but with the way they are playing, they have a chance to catch a couple of the Teams ahead of them in 15th and 16th.  Next up is the Free Agents.

 

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order)

Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 5-11, Currently tied for 15th

Got a nice Team W on Sunday Night.  Justin Bowen had another strong night as did Jake Shlofrock who has shined of late in an expanded role.  Want to send a get better soon to Bryan Rosenberg who took a shot to the nose on Sunday.. Hopefully we’ll see him back out there in a couple of weeks. They have a big night ahead in Week 17 as Captain Andy surely has the Team Lalez Game marked in Red on his Team’s Schedule.  If they are going to try and catch a couple of those Teams ahead of them before the end of the Regular Season, they need to get this one..

 

Team Gainski (SLA) – 0-16, Currently in 20th

This Team is going to win a Game soon.  Their roster is much better than it once was and they are play significantly better as a unit as a result.. It’s going to likely come in the Playoffs as some Team is going to think “oh ok were good tonight.”  Well you aren’t.  Just keep an eye out for this.

 

Team James-Hagari (Biaggi’s Red) – 7-9, Currently tied for 12th

Took a tough L on Sunday against the elite #2 Team Bulwa on Sunday Night.  At 7-9, they too are among that group of 8 Teams separated by just 2 Games in the middle of the Standings. To reiterate, one of those Teams are the likely 7 seed and one of those Teams are the likely 14 seed.. That’s a huge difference when everyone’s Playoff lives are at stake.. They will take on the Team that is at the top of that 8-Team group right now, Team Gutman, in Week 17.  This could have giant implications on many Teams..

 

Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) – 5-11, Currently tied for 15th

Came across the stronger than advertised Team Malvin at the wrong point of the Season.. That Team is playing well above their current 7-9 record.  Jason Vismantas had 15 in that one.. Unfortunately, for Team Schwartz the schedule only gets harder this Week as they have to take on Team Bulwa who is sporting a season-high 12 Game Win Streak right now.. If Team Schwartz plays D and hustles like they can, they are the type of group that can get Team Bulwa out of their element and surprise them.  Wouldn’t be shocked to see that come Week 17!

 

Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title) – 1-15, Currently in 19th

They didn’t get a much sought after W against Team Tucci but they did manage to get much of their rotation back.. It’s been an in/out deal for many of Team Shamberg in 2016 and if they can get a few Games together as unit, they have the talent to surprise people come April.  Remember, this Team won a Championship over the Summer and say what you want about the difference in roster and competition but winning Playoff Games is one thing that they can say with certainty that they’ve done.

 

Team Silver (Kelly Parker HC Gold) – 3-13, Currently in 18th

Caught Team Apuli at exactly the wrong time as they are streaking right now.. Captain EJ had another big night with 29 points..  They have the hardest remaining Schedule of any Team in the League.. #3 Team Zimmerman, #2 Team Bulwa and then finally #4 Team Harris.. When the Playoffs actually start they are going to be certainly tested..

 

That’s it for this Week! See you Sunday!

-Holden