THE PARK, MN: Mid-Season Recaps & End-Season Predictions
Average Joes – This former Champlin league team is probably one of the biggest surprises at SLP. They have great guard play and have some good spot up shooters. At midseason they are 2-2 with a couple of tough games to finish out the season. They almost beat the Bulls in week 4, which showed their potential to shock a lot of teams come tournament time. Their last 4 regular season games in order are: Rise and Fire, Sandy, Pippen Ain’t Easy, and Gophers. I see them ending up 4-4 very possibly 5-3. And like I said before if their opponents aren’t careful, the AvJo’s will beat them.
Bulls – Besides the close win in week 4, the Bulls have looked pretty strong with no signs of slowing down. They play a disciplined game, and don’t get rattled easily by any means. However, they have a tough last two weeks of the season. Their last four opponents are: Poolboys, Tillman Inc., Gophers, and Rip City. They could possibly go undefeated but I don’t think they will. They should handle the Poolboys and Tillman Inc. without too much resistance but I don’t see them beating both the Gophers and Rip City in back-to-back weeks. The game of the season could be potentially a 7-0 Bulls vs. a 7-0 Rip City playing for a possible #1 seed in the tournament! We’ll see, good luck in Vegas fellas! Bring back that trophy to THE PARK!
Four More Years – Along with Average Joe’s, Four More Years has also been a big surprise in SLP, but not in a good way. Stacked with great players who all can hold their own on the court but yet they are winless! They’ve hung tough in almost every game but just haven’t been able to pull out a win yet. Their end of season schedule isn’t going to be easy either. Their last 4 opponents are: Gophers, Rage, Most Dominant Ever, and Sandy. I see them finishing the season 2-6 possibly 3-5, but I don’t know if that will be enough to get in the tourney. To their credit however, they probably have the hardest schedule in SLP having played the Bulls and Rip City already and facing off against the Gophers next week. If they can get a win against the Gophers, I imagine that would go a long way with the tourney committee.
Gophers – Obviously very talented, the Gophers can flat out shoot! Besides their week one loss against Rip City they’ve been outscoring their opponents without having to exert a huge amount of effort on the defensive end. They have a moderately difficult end of season schedule playing: Four More Years, Poolboys, Bulls, and Average Joe’s. I see them finishing 6-2, but if they aren’t careful they could drop an “L” against Average Joe’s in week 8. But I see them losing a close game to the Bulls while winning the other three games.
Most Dominant Ever – Having a rough start to the season going 1-3, Most Dominant Ever is going to have to finish strong to get into the tourney. When they are at full strength they are a team not to be taken lightly. To their advantage their end of season schedule isn't too difficult playing teams that are currently .500 or below. Their end of season schedule is as follows: Rage, Pippen Ain’t Easy, Four More Years, and Tillman Inc. I think they can get it together and finish 5-3, at worst 4-4. If they go worse than 4-4, their tourney hopes are looking really bleak.
Pippen Ain’t Easy – The other winless team in SLP, Pippen will have to make a huge surge to make the tourney. A winless team isn’t going to make it in but they don’t have a terribly difficult schedule ending the season but not to be taken too lightly. Their last four opponents are: Tillman Inc., Most Dominant Ever, Average Joe’s, and Poolboys. It’s possible for them to salvage their season if they can get their stars to play in the same game instead of having one or the other every other week. I see them going 2-6 give or take one win. Right now, it isn’t looking good for them, but things can change.
Poolboys – This team is hard to evaluate because depending on who shows up for them, they are two different teams. One squad can pretty much hang with any body and the other squad wouldn’t reach .500. Their current record is 2-2 and their end of season schedule is: Bulls, Gophers, Rage, and Pippen Ain’t Easy. I can see them finishing 4-4, very possibly 3-5. A tough next two weeks, they’ll have to play near perfect to have a chance at winning against the Gophers or the Bulls.
Rage – An above average team that plays well and is in every game. Currently they are 2-2 but could’ve been 3-1 had it not been for a buzzer beater loss in Week 3. They have some good pieces and UH veterans who aren’t strangers to winning. They have a schedule on the easier side, in terms of difficultly. They end the season playing: Most Dominant Ever, Four More Years, Poolboys, and Rise and Fire. I see them going 4-4 or very possibly 5-3. This is a team you don’t want to count out. I see them providing some upsets come tournament time.
Rip City – Along with the Bulls, they are undefeated and I think they have the best chance to stay that way. This team makes even the best teams look foolish when they play their style of basketball. They obviously score but it’s their defense and their quick outlets that lead to their very high percentage shots (layups and dunks) and blowout victories. Although they seem the most likely to end the season undefeated they do have 2 really good teams to go through. Their last four games are against: Sandy, Rise and Fire, Tillman Inc., and Bulls. I think this team is the favorite of the open division thus far, but we’ll see if they can keep it up. Rise and Fire and/or Bulls could put a blemish on their perfect record. Ultimately, I see Rip City going 8-0 with a small chance of going 7-1.
Rise and Fire – Another great shooting team that is kind of flying under the radar at the moment. They are currently sitting at 3-1. They move the ball really well and have about 4 guys who can fill it up from beyond the arc. They don’t have the size and the athleticism as some of their other fellow elite teams but I don’t see that being a problem in the regular season in terms of affecting their tournament entrance. Their last four games are against: Average Joe’s, Rip City, Sandy, and Rage. These next two weeks won’t be the easiest but the last two should be a bit more winnable for them. I think Rise and Fire ends up at 6-2, worse case scenario 5-3.
Sandy – Started the season off with a win, but since then they haven’t had any luck getting their second win. Week 4 they played tough against the Poolboys in a really feisty game almost pulling out the victory but couldn’t capitalize on the many opportunities they had. Looks like their schedule doesn’t get easier. Their end of season schedule looks like this: Rip City, Average Joe’s, Rise and Fire, and Four More Years. I think this past week was Sandy’s last hope to get a “W” in this tough league at SLP. I see them going 1-7 maybe with luck 2-6.
Tillman Inc. – A veteran team filled with guys who have no quit in them. Currently they are at 2-2. They may not be the most talented squad at SLP, but they play physical, hard nosed basketball for 44 minutes, week in and week out. Two of their last four games are against the undefeated teams of SLP so they’ll have some tough games. The last four games on the schedule for them are: Pippen Ain’t Easy, Bulls, Rip City, and Most Dominant Ever. I see Tillman Inc. going 3-5 with a fair chance of going 4-4.