2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Week 8 (Dec. 6)

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Updated: December 9, 2015

On Sunday Night there were quite a few Teams that had true statement Ws.  None greater than the Undefeated Team Harris who without their leading scorer beat another top flight Team to get to 8-0.  Keeping pace was the 2x Defending Champs Team Lalez who (spoiler alert) will once again sit atop the Rankings.. Just for the sake of getting ahead ourselves.. The remaining two Undefeated Teams will take the court against each other in Week 15.  With some off-weeks mixed in (more on that to come), that Game takes place on Feb. 21.. Two weeks after the Super Bowl.  So will we see an undefeated clash of the titans?  The odds say probably not.. Both will also take part in next Sunday’s co-Games of the Week powered by Orunje!

Housekeeping Note: There are Games this Sunday (Dec. 13) and then we are OFF for WINTER BREAK on SUNDAYS DEC. 20 and 27 (as posted on the schedule). So this coming Sunday is the final one in 2015.

As well, Scott Campbell of Team Lalez  takes home the Greater Than Performance of the Week for his 40 points and 21 rebounds on Sunday Night. First of many potential accolades for the Rookie.  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!  

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) – 8-0, Currently tied for 1st

8-0 and with no signs of slowing down.. This week they took on Team James-Hagari, a group that likes to pick up the pace and a squad that has several wins under their belt this season.  As Team Lalez so often does, they at first adapted to their opponent’s style, beat them at it, and then clamped down on D with the lead.  Next week, they’ll face Team UC Booth who is 6-2 and rolling.. They will pose a serious threat to the Win Streak as they actually can match-up with the 2x Defending Champs inthe size department.. Something that is not often the case.. That will be one half of the co-Games of the Week!

 

2. Team Harris (DoorDash) – 8-0, Currently tied for 1st

Team Harris has had many memorable and notable Wins thus far in 2015 but without a doubt their biggest was this past Sunday when they won a slugfest with Team Zimmerman.  Oh and they did so without leading scorer Dylan Richter.. In his absence, Sam Shiner had 23 and Jason Domash also had a big night. It will serve as a real wake up call to the rest of the League that while Dylan deservedly gets a lot of fanfare, they are as deep as any Team in the League and quite capable of winning in a number of ways.  Getting to 8-0 in this League is just an insane feat and they should be proud.. However, if they want to get to 9-0, they’ll quickly need to turn their attention to their next opponent, 6-2 Team Bulwa, Winners of 4 in a row.. One streak will come to an end in the co-Game of the Week.

 

3. Team Maione (popchips) – 7-1, Currently tied for 3rd

Winning with just 5 guys is a rarity in this Hoops League. Each Team has so much talent that it’s extrmely difficult to trot guys out there for 44 minutes.  Team Maione has made a habit of doing impressive stuff in their many season of All Sports Series, so much that it’s become the expectation.. On Sunday Night they got their 7th W of the Season against a feisty Team Apuli squad that was searching for their first W in 2015.  This Game was extremely physical and it showed how Team Maione has progressed since last year.. In the past, they have struggled against talented bigs as they haven’t had a guy to just clearhouse at the rim.. They found themselves facing one of the biggest out there this past week in Dan Stone, and figured out a 2-3 zone that neutralized the Team Apuli attack at the glass. These guys know how to get it and done.. Next week, they’ll have a Playoff Rematch from the Semi-Finals with a testy Team Kozin crew.

 

4. Team Goldin (StudentCity) – 7-1, Currently tied for 3rd

Quite possibly their most impressive W of the season so far.. They got a 2 point victory over the talented Free Agent squad.. They also managed to do so with just 5 players in what was an extremely physical Game and did it without two mainstays Captain DG and Brandon Lathon.  In their absence Alex Filin stepped into a leadership role and helped guide this group to their 7th W in 8 Games in 2015. Joining him at the 20pt threshold was Justin Cornelius and Nick Baumgartner.  They could have actually won this one by double digits but struggled to ice the Game at the Free Throw line late. They have so many strengths and it’s not something that will derail them, but it will certainly serve as a wake up call to get a few FTs up in pre-Game. They get Team Schwartz in Week 9, in what should also be another physical contest.. Both Teams have winning-streaks currently. Only one will continue.

 

5. Team Bulwa (Le Brocq Lawyer) – 6-2, Currently tied for 5h

Somehow it seems they are still flying under the radar.  6-2, with potentially more scoring punch than any other Team in the League.  What’s especially promising is they continue to rack up Ws (6 in their last 7) and are doing it behind the efforts of different guys this week.. Zack Novak wasn’t in attendance but they got back Captain Bulwa after a bit of a hiatus and they didn’t miss a beat against Team Tucci.  They have a fiery backcourt rotation and everyone on their Team can score.. While they may not come into the Playoffs as the top seed, they may be the scariest Team to face when the time comes.. They have the opportunity to make a real statement as 2015 comes to an end.. They’ll take on Undefeated #2 Team Harris next Sunday Night in one of the Co-Games of the Week before we gon on Winter Break.

 

6. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy) – 6-2, Currently tied for 5th

6-2 through 8 Games with their Schedule is pretty remarkable. Did they want to take down Team Harris on Sunday Night? Of course.  Did they potentially think they might really have it when they saw that Dylan Richter wasn’t there? Maybe.  At the end of the day, Team Harris made a few more shots and that was the difference. Kyle Nelson was his usual self scoring 29 points during a true battle of bigs with Jeff Howard. Team Zimmerman’s 8-man rotation is as stellar as anyone’s in the League and their depth will prove to be a catalyst for a deep run in 2016.. A tough Regular Season Loss to a top seed in November won’t change that. They’ll look to get back on the right track next week vs. Team Gutman.

 

7. Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) – 6-2, Currently tied for 5th

These guys just keep winning.  Some have been more flashy than others, but at the end of the day, all that matters — 6-2 through 8 Games. Ben Hanessian had another 20+ outing on Sunday Night.  This all leads to their biggest Game of the year and it will be a fitting close to 2015 for them. A real measuring stick Game.. On Sunday Night they will take on the 2x Defending Champs, Undefeated #1 Team Lalez..  Now, if they have a full cast in the gym (tricky for them as they are a school based Team also on Winter Break).. But, if the entire crew is assembled they may pose the greatest threat to Team Lalez’s streak.  Team UC Booth can match them size for size and is also comfortable playing a smart/methodical brand of Hoops that Team Lalez thrives on.. We’re already pulling for a Playoff Rematch of this one.. Can they end 2015 on a bang?

 

8. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) – 5-3, Currently in 8th

If the Playoffs started today, Team Sternberg is the only Team who would be seeded (in the 8 spot) without having to use a Tiebreaker.  Significance in that? None really. It’s a long season though and somtimes you just need little facts to start these Rankings’ sections. Anyways, another Week and another Win, where their core seems to gel more and more.. At first glance this squad is not going to “scare” anyone but they play with a quiet confidence and intelligence that has helped them get out to a 5-3 record.  They still have plenty of talented groups left to tangle with during the Regular Season and as a young group there is no doubt they’ll drop a couple more but all the arrows are trending up for Team Sternberg as we get near the end of 2015.   They’ll take on Team Free Agent next week.

 

9. Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) – 4-4, Currently tied for 9th

After starting 0-3 they are now Winners of 4 of 5 (and 3 in a row) to get back to .500!  More important than the record, they are playing Winning basketball. Also, they would likely tell you they haven’t played a complete Game just yet.. Their best is still to come and that should pose as a scary thought to the rest of the League. They’ve always been a tough Defensive Team that battles continuously, and in the past few weeks they’ve managed to get better looks at the bucket. A big reason for the improved offense is the decision to get the ball inside more.. Jonathan Blakely had 27 points and Craig Samsky has continued to make his presence felt inside the paint. They’ll have their hands full when they put their Winning Streak on the line against #4 and 7-1 Team Goldin next week!

 

10. Team James-Hagari (Biaggi’s Red) – 4-4, Currently tied for 9th

Part of the reason Team Lalez has won Back2Back Hoops League Championships is that they can adapt to several different styles of play and before their opponent realizes that they are playing into Team Lalez’s strength, it’s just too late.. Dropping a Regular Season Game to the 2x Defending Champs in December is certainly not a big deal for Team James-Hagari, but it’s a nice checkpoint for them to look back upon in future months to see where they’ve improved when they get looks at other top Teams.  4-4 through 8 weeks is extremely impressive for a Team that hasn’t played together before this Season. They have a real chance to head into the Winter Break at 5-4 if they can shake last week off and take care of business against Team Shamberg on Sunday.

 

11. Team Free Agent (VIP Express Limo) – 4-4, Currently tied for 9th

You can look at their Game from Sunday Night with Team Goldin in a couple different ways.. 1) They lost by 2 points to clearly one of the best Team in the League or 2) A Loss is a Loss is a Loss.. Truthfully, the score ended up being closer than the Game would have indicated as Team Goldin went cold from the free throw line down the stretch.. Granted the Free Agent squad made the most of the opportunity and continued to hit big shots as the clock ticked down.. Many Teams would have packed it in at that point. They even had the ball with a chance to win it at the end of the Game..  This is a very good Team that is still learning how to Win together. There is a tremendous amount of talent here and now that they have added big man Tim Szatko who had 35 points in this they really can match-up with each Team.. 4-4 through 8 Games for a squad who met each other 8 weeks ago is pretty impressive.. They just need to get back on the right track.. Next up is 5-3 Team Sternberg and it should be one of the better Games of the Night!

 

12. Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 3-5, Currently tied for 12th

Team Malvin is gathering Ws now after their slow start. It was mentioned that in early Power Rankings that they just needed to find their footing and then the flood gates would open.. Well, it’s happening.. Nate Johnson’s arrival on the scene has paralleled their ascent and while he can be credited with a big hike in performance, it’s been all-around leap from the entire squad. On Sunday Night they took down the 2014-15 Runners-Up and it will be looked upon as their signature W of the season’s first half.. They are also done with the teeth of their Schedule and have a real chance to gather Ws in a hurry in 2016.  Expect their rise to continue.

 

13. Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) – 3-5, Currently tied for 12th

Team Gutman’s Results have been very interesting thus far.. They are turning into one of those Teams that can play up to the League’s best and then squander opportunities with Teams that they should probably get Ws against.. To tell you the truth, the League is so deep, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.. Eventually, they’ll learn how to ensure they get the Ws and Sunday Night was a great start.  Team Cohen is a very talented bunch but were undermanned on Sunday Night and Team Gutman didn’t mess around.. They got a lead and maintained it throughout.  They will have one of their biggest tests to date in Week 9 when they face Team Zimmerman who is coming off of a rare Loss.  Team Gutman has the size to match-up with Team Zimmerman and that is a rare thing. This is a sleeper candidate for most fun Game of Week 9.

 

14. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa) – 3-5, Currently tied for 12th

They’ve lost an extremely uncharacteristic 3 straight Games and are not where they’d like to be heading into a Week 9 Playoff Rematch with Team Maione. There’s a few things to point to with their recent skid and general trouble so far in the 2015-16 season.. The competition is better from a year ago, but roster wise so is Team Kozin.  Something is just off for the Runners-Up from a year ago.. Lucky for them there’s plenty of time to figure it out and maybe a Game against a tough Rival will be the jumpstart they need.  If not, they’ll head into the Winter Break on a 4-Game skid that we’ve never seen from them before.  Smart money says that turn it around soon.

 

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order)

Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley) – 0-8, Currently tied for 19th

They almost came up with their first W of the season and against #3 Team Maione no less. While they didn’t come away with the W, they did seem to make a break through on Offense and hopefully they can follow a similar path in the following Weeks. The break through was called “Feed Dan Stone.”  Stone was a force in the lane, as we’ve seen in the past, but they made a more concerted effort to work from inside out and it really worked. If they continue with this, they will start rattling off Wins.

 

Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 2-6, Currently tied for 15th

Their brutal stretch is basically done. That being said, there are a lot of Teams playing well right now and they’ll face a Team Malvin squad that has won 3 of their last 4 next week. Brett Winer played well in the Loss on Sunday Night as they were missing some of their normal scoring punch.  This Team has a lot of talent for 2-6 and they are going to catch people off guard with a second-half surge.

 

Team Gainski (SLA) – 0-8, Currently tied for 19th

Team Schwartz is on a role and notorious for being tough to score on.. Team Gainski struggled from the field against them and never really found a way to get any Offensive rhythm going.. It’s obviously tough to start the season like this but the bright side is there’s an eternity of time left in the Regular Season. They close out 2015 against a squad that is also starving for Ws, the 1-7 Team Silver.. One group will head into 2016 on a positive note!

 

Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title Agency) – 1-7, Currently tied for 17th

They were without Captain Shamberg this week (Happy Birthday!) and struggled against Team Sternberg..  The truth is, Team Sternberg is a really good Team and the Game played to their strengths. Team Shamberg just couldn’t get enough stops to ever really cut into Team Sternberg’s lead.. They take on the 4-4 Team James-Hagari in Week 9 to close out 2015 and they have more than enough talent to get it together and get a W.  They just need some sort of spark and they have plenty Players capable of providing it..

 

Team Silver (Kelly Parker HC Gold) – 1-7, Currently tied for 17th

Struggled to protect the glass against Team UC Booth that makes a living down there. Captain EJ Silver had a great night however netting 27 points including one improbable drive to the bucket that is in the Highlight Video. One of the crazier buckets you’ll see all season.  They’ll close 2015 with the winless Team Gainski, which just might be the perfect remedy for right before the Winter Break.  This is a group that’s just 1 player away right now from getting a bunch of Ws. They have a ton of shooting which is often the case for many Teams.. They’ll right the ship soon.

 

Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) – 2-6, Currently tied for 15th

A week after seemingly getting back on track they ran into the streaking #5 Team Bulwa and without Captain Tucci.  It was a Game where they just couldn’t match fire with fire and eventually would run out of gas due to a non-existent bench once again.  More important than their actual record right now is them being able to finally get their rotations in order and that will happen as guys get there week in and week out… They have enough with this Roster to go on an absolute tear in 2016 and when they do everyone needs to beware. They close 2015 with the winless Team Apuli next week.

 

That’s it for this Week. See everyone on Sunday Night!

-Holden