2016-17 Chicago Hoops – Week 19 – Playoff Preview (March 26)

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Updated: March 30, 2017

On Sunday Night we concluded the Regular Season and several players turned in huge performances.. Gage Coleman of Team Silver went for 40. Matt Merrigan of Team Malvin went for 39 as did Scott Campbell of Team Lalez. Derek Reich of Team Purimetla scored 35 while Justin Bowen of Team Cohen and Marin Kukoc of Team Gutman were both in the 30s as well.. But would any or all of those guys be named All Stars? Find out below!  The All Stars and Playoff Preview is just below the Highlight Video!

Weekly Highlight Video! Powered by Dr. Jacob D.D.S.

One more thing before we get to the Power Rankings, we have some amazing Sponsors for you this Season including none other than Live Clean Chicago! They are the best Cleaning Service in Chicago bar none and more importantly you can trust them to clean your place (even if you aren’t home). Myself and my family (Holden) use them frequently!  One more brief mention as it’s likely you will want to know..   Also, StudentCity has a new program and Young Professionals are invited! It’s called the Bucket List! They take you on amazing trips abroad.

If you ever want info (and we also get deals!!) from any of our Sponsors just contact Holden@allsportsseries.com

Weekly Highlight Video! Powered by Dr. Jacob D.D.S.

 

One more thing before we get to the Power Rankings, we have some amazing Sponsors for you this Season including none other than Live Clean Chicago! They are the best Cleaning Service in Chicago bar none and more importantly you can trust them to clean your place (even if you aren’t home). Myself and my family (Holden) use them frequently!  One more brief mention as it’s likely you will want to know..   Also, StudentCity has a new program and Young Professionals are invited! It’s called the Bucket List! They take you on amazing trips abroad.

If you ever want info (and we also get deals!!) from any of our Sponsors just contact Holden@allsportsseries.com

All Stars

Quickly, as a reminder the Starters were chosen by the League during the VOTE over the past month.. The Reserves were named by the League Office.  On Sunday May 7, along side the Championship, the All Stars will compete in a 3pt Contest and All Star Game (unless they are partaking in the Championship of course..).  A special Congrats goes out to League MVP Chris Wroblewski! Chris, deservedly so, received the most Votes from the Players. He will be one of the two Captains to select their respective Teams on the final night.. Joining him will be the second-highest vote-getter which was Lane Barlow of Team Wong (in his debut season of the Chicago Hoops League) – very impressive.  If either or both are in the Championship, replacement Captains will be named..

 

All Star Starters (Voted on by League’s Players, Alphabetical Order)

MVP* Chris Wroblewski – Team Maione

Esto Vega – Team Zimmerman

Josh Davis – Team Kozin

Lane Barlow – Team Wong

Marin Kukoc – Team Gutman

Nate Johnson – Team Malvin

Randall Hampton – Team Kozin

Rodney Clark – Team Malvin

Scott Campbell – Team Lalez

Tim Szatko – Team Wong

Victor Ojeleye – Team UC Booth

Zack Novak – Team Harris

 

All Star Starters (Voted on by League Office, Alphabetical Order)

Austin Brown – Team Schwartz

Brad Deutsch – Team Maione

Brock Massie – Team Wong

Chris Ray – Team Maione

Dave Gershenzon – Team Lalez

Gage Coleman – Team Silver

Gilles Jones – Team Jones

Jonathon Gac – Team Sternberg

Joe Kozak – Team McNichols

Rob Kamentsev – Team Apuli

Matt Merrigan – Team Malvin

Max Shulruff – Team Sternberg

Sam Leewood – Team Purimetla

Terdarin Bryson – Team Wong

Tred Dean – Team Kaplan

 

Playoff Preview

Just a reminder.. Teams 1-4 get essentially a 2 Round BYE, while Teams seeded 5-7 get a single BYE. Teams 8-14 start in the Opening Round while Teams 15-20 have to play an additional Bottom-6 Round.

 

Bottom 6 Round

15. Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) v. 20. Team Silver (Benjmain & Shapiro)

Winner plays 10. Team Purimelta

We knew entering the final week that both of these Teams would be in the Bottom-6 but we weren’t sure who they’d line up against.. In terms of playing the best ball right now.. These may be the two Teams in the Bottom-6 that are peaking at the right time.. Team Cohen won 2 of their last 3 down the stretch (technically) and have what it takes to be one of those double digit seed darlings we see make a run every year.. Team Silver on the other hand, when full strength, have as good of a front-line as there is in the League — anchored by All Star Gage Coleman. These two Teams met just this past weekend and saw Team Cohen earn the double digit W.  Whoever wins has a real shot of taking that momentum and defeating 10. Team Purimetla later in the evening.. They’ll need their best for 44 minutes (and a deep bench) to get it done.

 

16. Team Schwartz (SLA Insurance) v. 19. Team Kaplan (Camp Ojibwa)

Winner plays 9. Team UC Booth

Team Kaplan has been waiting for a fresh start for a really long time.. Now they have it.. This Team has endured a ton of injuries throughout the season and it really took a toll.. Their small core does have a few Wins in them if they can get a couple key pieces back, and they seemingly will.. Now in terms of Bottom-6 opponents they pulled as tough a draw as there is.. These two squads met at the end of January and Team Schwartz got an 8 point win. Team Schwartz’s seed really won’t impact them very much in their Playoff run aside from having to play an extra Game.. They are as talented as a group seeded 10 spots higher and just lost some tight Games that made them tumble down the Standings.. This is a crew that could end up “shocking” many Teams in the post-season only it won’t be shocking at all. All Stars Austin Brown and Tred Dean will be certainly called upon by their respective Teams to have big performances.  The Winner gets the reeling UC Booth squad, losers of 4 in a row.

 

17. Team Apuli (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) v. 18. Team Deutsch (Meli Cafe)

Winner plays 8. Team Zimmerman

Team Deutsch has been playing better as of late and should provide Team Apuli with a real test in this Bottom-6 round.. These groups met all the way back in Week 1 which saw Team Deutsch claim a 20+ point win.. Both Teams have seen their rosters improve in the second-half and are much more dangerous than their seed would imply. Team Apuli adding Evan Zahniser and Connor Harlander for 2017 really helped provide them with some depth to go along with All Star Rob Kamentsev. The Winner here will have a tough second game with an angry #8 Team Zimmerman who saw their 9-Game Win Streak snapped on Sunday by Team Jones. Can one of these teams stun the League and win 2x on Sunday?

 

Opening Round

11. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) v. 14. Team James (Chipotle)

Winner plays 6. Team Jones

Team Sternberg at one point in time seemed like they would be a top seed but they went through a rough patch to start 2017 and fell into a double digit seed.. We’ve seen numerous Teams get very far from this spot in past seasons and now that they are getting closer to full strength, they may be the prime double digit candidate for making it late into April. Conversely, Team James started off very slow.. But had a great second half and pulled themselves up and out of the Bottom-6. These clubs met back in December and saw Team Sternberg Win, but it was a momentum builder for Team James as they played well together for the first time during the season.  Team Sternberg needs both of their All Stars – Jonathon Gac and Max Shulruff – to play their absolute best to beat Team James. This one could steal the show on Sunday. The Winners move on to play an ascending #6 Team Jones in a pivotal contest.

 

10. Team Purimetla (Wrigley View Rooftop) v. 15/20

Team Purimetla fell in their final Regular Season Game to #5 Team Malvin and as a result got jumped by a few Teams in the Standings. They will still start the Playoffs with a top-half seed and will play the Winner of Team Cohen and Team Silver. Both Teams are playing well right now so Team Purimetla will have to play well and get some sharp-shooting from All Star Sam Leewood to get the Win. If they can take care of business this Sunday they’d be looking at a match-up with #7 Team McNichols next week, a squad that they may feel stole their BYE on the League’s final night.

 

9. Team UC Booth (Biaggi’s Red) v. 16/19

Team UC Booth really struggled down the stretch. Many of their Players were on Break from school and as a result their Roster really fluctuated during March. At one point it seemed like they may snag a Top-4 seed but they enter the Playoffs at #9 and will face the Winner of 16. Team Schwartz and 19. Team Kaplan. A battle with Team Schwartz could be the most-hard fought Game of the Night. The real question is will they get All Star Victor Ojeleye back this week?

 

8. Team Zimmerman (MB Financial) v. 17/18

Team Zimmerman entered Week 19 as the hottest Team in the League — with a 9 Game W-Streak in tact – and fresh off knocking off Team Kozin and their 13 Gamer. Well, in Week 19 they met up with Team Jones and just couldn’t keep up in the second half. As a result, they start #8 in the Playoffs and have a fresh Win streak to build back up. This is a group that can win the whole thing, especially if All Star Esto Vega can go off during the next few weeks. They showed that in February and March. They’ll get started with either #17 Team Apuli or #18 Team Deutsch.

 

12. Team Harris (Stanley’s Kitchen & Tap) v. 13. Team Gutman (Live Clean Chicago)

Winner plays 5. Team Malvin

All of the Playoff Games we’ve reviewed in the Bottom-6 and Opening Rounds have the potential to be special.. There’s a ton of talent in the League and we’ve seen week after week that each Team is extremely capable.. However, if you had to place money on one Game in these Rounds to really be the show-stealer — it’s this one..  We have the Defending Champs who are starting at unlucky #13 in their trek back to the Championship.  Then, you have Team Harris wearing that special #12 seed, we’ve seen 12s do crazy things in March.. This is actually a Rematch of last season when we saw Team Gutman as a 6 seed pull their first “upset” over 3 seeded Team Harris.. That W really catapulted Team Gutman into a great spot.. Can All Stars Zack Novak or Marin Kukoc shoot their Team into a date with #5 Team Malvin?  Oh yea, the Winners here, if they didn’t have enough to worry about.. Go on to face #5 Team Malvin right after… What a night Sunday is going to be.

 

Round 2

6. Team Jones (Chicago Trolley) v. 11/14

Team Jones, anchored by Captain and All Star Gilles Jones will face the Winner of #11 Team Sternberg and #14 Team James.  Team Jones is coming off what may be their biggest Win of the Regular Season. Not only did they knock of Team Zimmerman and their 9-Game W-Streak, but the Win gave them some big-time tiebreaker firepower and they ended up in the #6 seed with some added momentum. They can’t rest on that though. Both of their potential opponents have the ability to upend them and they need to bring it to advance.

 

5. Team Malvin (StudentCity) v. 12/13

Last but not least is #5 Team Malvin – the highest seed that will play on Sunday. They will likely take part in the Game of the Week – as they will play the Winners of #12 Team Harris and the Defending Champs #13 Team Gutman. Either way it’s going to be a star-studded affair. They had 3 All Stars — Matt Merrigan is joined by All Star Starters Nate Johnson and Rodney Clark.. All 3 of them will need their best to get by whoever they take on in their first Playoff Game. This is a new position for them.. Last year they made the Elite8 but as a scrappy 14 seed and took some Teams by surprise.. They won’t have that luxury this year, and will have to be sure to not let the same thing happen to them this year.. Can’t wait for their Game with the Harris/Gutman Winner.

 

BYES this Week:

1. Team Kozin (Peak Properties)

2. Team Lalez (Hakimian Imports)

3. Team Wong (Biaggi’s Purple)

4. Team Maione (Southview Athletics)

7. Team McNichols (Al’s Beef on WESTERN)

 

The Top-4 Teams in the League — Kozin, Lalez, Wong, Maione + #7 Team McNichols, will get an extra week to heal and rest while 10 Losses are tacked on to 10 Teams this coming Sunday. That’s a very nice luxury for them, as half the League will be on the brink of Elimination before they need to even take the court. Word to the wise — get some shots up in the week off — last year we many top Teams take a tumble in their first Game back and seemed generally rusty.  It’s Go time.

 

That’s it for the Playoff Preview! Good Luck to everyone and see you on Sunday!

-Holden