2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Week 17 (Mar. 6)

Updated: March 10, 2016

Two Games went to Overtime, a buzzer-beating Game Winner, two Teams broke the 110-pt mark, 8 of the 9 Top Teams in the Standings earned Wins and Greater Than stopped by to provide all of the Weekly Award Winners with a case of GT! Week 17 had it all.  As we check another Sunday off the Regular Season list, we draw even closer to the start of the Playoffs.  There are just TWO Sundays left in the marathon that is the Regular Season.  We will then have a Break for Easter on March 27 and come back for the start of the PLAYOFFS on Sunday April 3.  Also, the ALL STAR BALLOT — is LIVE (Click).  You will have until Monday April 4 (day after first night of the Playoffs).

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..  Also, want to give a quick shout-out to the MVP Sponsor for our Chicago Spring Leagues (Floor Hockey and Co-Ed Volleyball) — Wrigley View Rooftop — no better way to take in a Cubs Game with a group of friends/co-workers. If you are thinking of doing this type of thing, let us know, we get deals! OK Let’s Rank ‘Em!


Power Rankings

1. Team Maione (popchips) – 16-1, Currently in 1st

With their latest victory over #7 Team Goldin on Sunday they push their W-streak to 12 Games. Should be All-Star Bradley Deutsch had 25 in this one. Much has been made of this current streak, and for great reason, but it is two Wins that they earned all the way back in Weeks 1 and 2 (prior to this 12-Game stretch) that mean the most right now.. For those who can’t remember all the way back to October. Team Maione started the season off with consecutive Ws over #2 Team Bulwa and #3 Team Zimmerman.. What that means, is they are one more W away from clinching the #1 seed.. The only way they can end in 2nd is if they lose both of their remaining Games AND Team Harris runs the table.. They try to clinch their second straight Regular Season title against Team Sternberg in Week 18.


2. Team Bulwa (Le Brocq Lawyer) – 15-2, Currently tied for 2nd

They got a good scare from Team Schwartz who wouldn’t go away at any point on Sunday.  Although, when the buzzer sounded and even without several starters, it was Team Bulwa who would extend their record 13-Game streak on Sunday. Captain Bulwa had 29, 6 and 6 and looked as good as he has all season long.  With the Win on Sunday they clinched a Top 4 Seed. They are two Games up on the Champs who are sitting in 5th and with a head to head Win over Team Lalez, they can’t be passed.. Now, each seed matters as reseeding occurs at various points of the Playoffs.. Even after their 13 straight Ws they find themselves tied with Team Zimmerman in the Standings. Back in Week 4 they lost to Team Zimmerman so if both Teams win out, it’ll be 2. Zimmerman and 3. Bulwa when the Playoffs start.. Team Bulwa does have the much easier remaining schedule however as their opponents have a combined 3 wins over the final couple of weeks..  Good odds for riding a 15-Game W-streak into April. Wow.


3. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy) – 15-2, Currently tied for 2nd

Just another day at the office for Team Zimmerman.  They put up 112 on Sunday and in a weird way it’s not even a big deal anymore.. They move the ball SO well and get an open look on almost every possession. Kyle Nelson had only 24 and 15. Dave Altman had his own double double with 22 and 10.   Here’s the deal for their Playoff Seeding outlook.. Of the Top 5 Teams they have the biggest swing of potential seeds.. Assuming Team Maione doesn’t drop 2 Games in a row to end the season, we can basically cross the 1 seed off the list.. However 2-5 are very much still a real possibility.. Winning Out means they will be the 2-seed. They have the head to head Tiebreaker over Team Bulwa.  However, a Loss opens themselves up to potentially falling all the way down to 5.  Team Harris who is a Game Back defeated them back in Week 8 (their last L) so Zimmerman loses the Tiebreak there.. Also, the 2x Defending Champs, Team Lalez are 2 Games Back and that just so happens to be Team Zimmerman’s Week 18 opponent. It’d be tough to believe Team Zimmerman could drop their final two of the Regular Season but they face very difficult opponents to finish the year.. The Orunje Game of the Week has tremendous Playoff importance this coming Sunday..


4. Team Harris (DoorDash) – 14-3, Currently in 4th

Just unbelievable.  For the second straight week, Team Harris relied on a buzzer-beater to get a W.  Last Sunday it was a Jeff Howard half-court heave at the end of the Regulation to get the Win over Team Goldin and then the past Sunday it was in OT against UC Booth that Jeff Howard would get a rebound with just a few ticks left before hitting Captain Brian who was streaking down the court with a great outlet pass and a lay-in/floater later it was Team Harris sitting at 14-3.  This Team believes they can win no matter what and that is an intangible that holds tremendous value at this time of the year.   They could finish anywhere from 1-5 technically and there are a million scenarios in play.. They will definitely be watching the Lalez/Zimmerman Game closely on Sunday Night.  They hold the tiebreaker over Team Zimmerman who is just a Game Back.. Team Harris looks like they should get to 16-3 to close the Regular Season as their final opponents combine for 3 wins total.


5. Team Lalez (Orunje) – 13-4, Currently in 5th

Back to the Winner’s Circle in Week 17 against Rivals Team Cohen after an uncharacteristic off week in Week 16. Scott Campbell had 29 and 15 and Dennis McKinney had 22 points on Sunday Night.  They have a HUGE Game coming up this week. In fact, it is the Orunje Game of the Week.  They will take on #3 Team Zimmerman and in many ways it will dictate how the many of the Top Seeds are aligned when the Playoffs begin in April.  There’s a ton of tiebreaker scenarios at play but this is what the Defending Champs are focused on.. Getting a big W to spearhead true momentum as they begin their quest at getting All Sports Series’ first ever 3-peat.  A win over Team Zimmerman will do just that and it will also keep them alive for a Top 4 seed.  They also end the season against current #6…


6. Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) – 10-7, Currently tied for 7th

They earned an important W, over Team James-Hagari, who were nipping at their heels in the Standings on Sunday and in impressive fashion.  With the W they have won 7 of 8 and 8 of their last 10. Danny Cowin had 20 points and 9 boards and Andy Marks had 17 and 10.   There are still many sleeping on Team Gutman and it’s really an unwise thing to do at this point.  Going to go as far to say as they are a legitimate threat to win the whole thing.  They have everything you could want come Playoff time. Size, Depth, Defense and multiple guys who can put the ball in the basket.  They are tied with Team Sternberg for that key 7th seed (gets an opening Round Bye) and hold the tiebreaker over them thanks to a Week 13 W.   Winning out for Team Gutman means they are assured a Top 7 seed come April.  They still have a very tough schedule and with that comes potential for some Teams to pass them.. One of which is Team UC Booth who they take on this Sunday.


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

They’ve lost two straight to two of the League’s very best in Team Harris and most recently Team Maione.  They also have two of the hottest Teams in the League standing in their way in the League’s final weeks.  So where does that leave them?  Well, they are going to feel right at home come Playoff-time. They are getting an early taste of it and as true title contenders that will be valuable.   Right now they are firmly planted in the 6th spot and can’t go up from there due to a Week 2 L to Team Lalez.  However, if the fall to Team Tucci (2 Games Back right now) or Team Apuli in Week 19, there’s a possibility they could fall out of the Top 7.  Right now, they just need to focus on the task at hand.  Throw a little water on Team Tucci’s current hot-streak.


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

OT Ws are always giant confidence builders and Sunday Night was no exception for Team Sternberg. They went the distance with Team Malvin in what was a well played Game throughout.. They needed 5 guys to get into Double Figures in this one and that included Captain Sam’s Triple Double.  They’ve endured a brutal stretch in the past 6 weeks and it won’t get any easier to finish.. They get #1 Team Maione and then last year’s Runners-Up Team Kozin to finish it out. They are tied in the Standings with Team Gutman for the key 7th seed (Opening Round Bye).. But they lost the head to head match-up with them which means they’d need to win out AND get a Team Gutman loss to secure that all important 7th seed.   They know #1 Team Maione well.. Can they snap the streak?


9. Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) – 9-8, Currently in 9th

We touched on this last week but they are now 7-2 in their last 9 and a game over .500. They got over the century mark on Sunday Night and left feeling pretty good, as they should. Phil Hayes had 33 and 11 boards while big man Drew Zahora had 15 points and TWENTY-FIVE rebounds. They’ve come a long way since going 2-6 to open the Season..  They have a very tough match-up coming on Sunday but in many ways it will be welcomed for them. #7 Team Goldin awaits in Week 18 and it will provide a great measuring stick for them.. Team Goldin is cemented in the top tier and Team Tucci plans on crashing the party.. Better late than never..


10. Team Free Agent (VIP Express Limo) – 8-9, Currently tied for 10th

Got down big in the first half to Team Apuli and although they mounted a 2nd Half comeback they ran out of gas and just couldn’t get enough stops down the stretch.. They have an extremely tough final stretch.. Next Sunday they take on last year’s Runners-Ups in #11 Team Kozin and they’ll end the season against #1 Team Maione.  The Game with Team Kozin holds a TON of weight in the middle of the Standings as both Teams are currently tied at 8-9.  With reseeding the way that it is in the Playoffs every seed matters.. Could be the difference between the #9 and say 12-13 seeds come Playoff time.  This is a group about to embark on their first Playoff journey in All Sports Series.  Momentum will be key.  Sunday they can get some.


11. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa) – 8-9, Currently tied for 10th

117 is a lot of points. Sometimes a blowout W is what a Team needs to just get loose.. Everyone on the Team saw the ball go in a whole bunch, especially Mitchell Bouie, who had himself a day with FORTY-TWO points.. They’ve now won 3 of their last 4 and look determined to make a run back to the Championship Game. Their final 2 match-ups will be important.. They get Team Free Agent in Week 18. Both Teams are currently tied for 10th at 8-9. Then to close the Regular Season they have Team Sternberg who currently sits 2 Games up at 10-7.  However, Team Sternberg has #1 Team Maione this coming Sunday.. Which means Team Kozin might have a chance to really leapfrog multiple Teams in the final weeks.. Remember they got to the title Game a year ago as the #6 seed (then out of 16 Teams).. If they get in at say #8 this year, they will be in an extremely familiar place…


12. Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 7-10, Currently tied for 12th

This one will sting for a bit.  Not because they dropped a Game to the strong Team Sternberg, that will happen.. But they had opportunities in that OT contest to earn another W and keep pace or jump much of the middle of the pack.. Instead, they left with a “what if” type of feeling on Sunday Night.  We’ve mentioned it several times at this point but the group is playing at a much higher level than a Team 3 games below .500 and a huge reason for that is needs to be All Star Nate Johnson. He turned in 30 and 15 on Sunday Night.  They need to shake it off quickly though as the have another very important Game coming in Week 18. They will face Team James-Hagari whom they are tied with in the Standings.. Whoever wins should wind up with the higher seed among the two come Playoff time.


13. Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) – 8-9, Currently tied for 13th

The section above can be echoed here for Team UC Booth almost to a T.  They too suffered a heartbreaking Loss on Sunday as they dropped one in OT to Team Harris and in the buzzer-beater variety.. At this point though, they are safe from falling into the Bottom-6 and even if they had won on Sunday it would have been tough for them to pass so many groups into the Top-7.. They will wind up somewhere in that 8-14 seed range, and not that there isn’t a difference, but more importantly for them leaving Sunday is that they played well for the second straight week and were right there with one of the League’s very best..  Victor Ojeleye had 28 and 9 on Sunday Night.  He is one of the giant reasons that this group is as strong a candidate as any to be the double digit seed that crashes the final nights of the Playoffs.  They really are as good as that top tier and while they’ve dropped a few they’d like to have back, when the Playoffs start everyone gets two lives to work with.. This group has a good chance of extending those very far.. Tough stretch for them in the final two weeks.. First #6 Team Gutman and then #3 Team Zimmerman.


14. Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley) – 5-12, Currently tied for 15th

Pictured at the top and for great reason.. They’ve now won 4 in a row and 5 of 6 following their W against Team Free Agent on Sunday Night.  They have turned into that group whom future Teams with slow starts will look to and say, “look at what Team Apuli did, we can do that too..”  It’s a long-season and no Team is ever truly out of it until that final Playoff L.  Now, what Team Apuli has that others may not is a very good Roster who just needed to put it all together.. Eddie Tellez had 27 on Sunday Night.  Dan Stone imposed his will in the paint for the entirety of the Game and Captain Justin has his rotations set for what is going to be an extremely dangerous bunch to come across when April starts.. Hypothetically, Team Apuli may finish in the 15 or 16 seed range. Let’s say they win their first playoff Game against the 19/20 seed.. They’d move on to face the 9 or 10 seed next — a Team that fought all year to get a seed in the top half of the League but now all of a sudden is staring one of the hottest Teams in the League in their first Playoff Game.  Cannot wait for April.  They try to leap another Team next Sunday when they take on Team Schwartz who they are tied with in the Standings.


Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order) 

Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 5-12, Currently tied for 15th

Justin Bowen had 42 and is looking simply fantastic lately but it just wasn’t enough to top Rivals and 2x Defending Champs Team Lalez.  It is still possible for them to get out of the Bottom 6 but they are going to need to Win their final 2 Games against Team Shamberg and Team James-Hagari.. They also will be scoreboard watching this Sunday.. Team James-Hagari who is 2 Games up on them currently needs to Lose this Sunday against Team Malvin and then Team Cohen will control their destiny come the final Sunday of the Regular Season.. That is if weird tiebreakers don’t come into effect in the event we wind up with a multi-team tie.. Anyways, for now.  They just need to focus on winning their next two.


Team Gainski (SLA) – 0-17, Currently in 20th

This is for their own good.. They cannot take the next few weeks and put much weight on them.. They just faced the hot #9 Team Tucci on Sunday and now move on to end the Season against #4 Team Harris and #2 Team Bulwa.  They are going to play the best of the best for the most part down the stretch.. Here’s the deal.  Get shots up. Figure out some last-minute rotation things and then get ready for April.  When April begins, yes the seeds will come into effect, but everyone starts over to some degree.. We’ve seen crazier than the Team seeded last get a couple Playoff Ws. In fact, it’s happened the past couple of years here in the Hoops League.


Team James-Hagari (Biaggi’s Red) – 7-10, Currently tied for 13th

Team Gutman’s size and athleticism bothered them and they couldn’t get their normal looks at the rim.  Jeff Shukis did manage to get 20 points still on the night.  They have a gigantic match-up with Team Malvin on Sunday Night. Both Teams are tied currently at 7-10. The Winner will likely get a top 12 seed or so.. The Loser opens themselves up to possibly falling into the Bottom 6 seeds, which means that they’d have to play in an extra Opening Round Game.. Team James-Hagari plays Team Cohen in the final week of the Regular Season. A Team that is just 2 Games back and still has potential to leap them.. The final 2 weeks are very important for this club.


Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) – 5-12, Currently tied for 15th

They gave Team Bulwa as good of a shot as any Team has in their crazy 13-Game Win-Streak.  They had just 5 there on Sunday and one more might have made the difference. It’s so tough to play for 44 straight minutes and especially against a Team that has as much Offensive firepower as Team Bulwa.  The GT crew had a really strong night as Jon Sider had 23 and Craig Samsky had 21.  They have a very important match-up coming in Week 18 as they will take on the streaking Team Apuli whom they are tied with in the Standings. The Loser will finish in the Bottom-6 seeds when the Playoffs start in April while the Winners will still have a shot in the Regular Season finale to climb out of that group and into the middle of the pack with some help.


Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title Agency) – 1-16, Currently in 19th

Dropped one to Team Kozin. Oh well. Captain Eric had 14 on Sunday Night. Team Cohen and Team Malvin are left on the docket for them in the Regular Season. As faith would have it, there’s a world where that could actually be there first Game or 2 in the Playoffs. What they need to do in the next two Weeks is weed out any bad habits that might have been formed in this losing streak and get ready to get Playoff Ws.  This is a group that has excelled with their life on the line for years now.. To think that they are incapable of doing that again would be a wild mistake.


Team Silver (Kelly Parker HC Gold) – 3-14, Currently in 18th

They have a brutal stretch to close the season as we’ve documented over the past few weeks and it’s not getting any easier with #2 Team Bulwa and #4 Team Harris to round out the Schedule.  Much like what we’ve said for Teams Gainski and Shamberg above.. Yes, they are locked into a Bottom 6 seed for the Playoffs, but once the Playoffs start, everyone is at 0-0.  The next two weeks shouldn’t be about W/L but about figuring out what they are doing well and getting rid of everything else.. They have 88 minutes of Regular Season Hoops left to get ready. Use it wisely.


That’s it for Week 17. See everyone Sunday Night!  2 Weeks to go…