Playoffs, Here We Come
GREEN VALLEY REC: First Round Predictions
By Michael Palmer | Green Valley Media Associate
No. 8 Sweet "D" (3-5) vs. No. 9 Diplomats (3-5): Winner faces No. 1 Houdini
Both teams should be familiar with each other as they played last week as Sweet "D" one by two points. In that game, Kenny Oakley scored a game-high 25 points on 14 rebounds, and it seemed like the Diplomats just couldn't stop him. The Diplomats did manage to out-rebound Sweet "D" 46-43 as Andrew Power grabbed a game-high 18 boards and even had five blocks. His presence will be felt tonight and if Sweet "D" wants to beat the Diplomats again, they'll need Power to be drained in this one. Another key player for the Diplomats is the GM Patrick Guerrero. He scored 16 points last week and is vital to the Diplomats as far as their transition offense goes. He'll need to take smart shots and perhaps even be a facilitator. Watch out for Johnston Daniels to put up stellar stats and make a huge difference.
For Sweet "D", the duo of Oakley and Cody Howard will be crucial in stopping Power and they will be aggressive in the paint from the get-go. Chris Stroud has been a key addition and his agility will be felt all game long. Dylan Ellis only scored seven points last week and will need to slow things down in transition as the Diplomats will guard him like crazy. If anyone will be a facilitator in this game, it will be Jordan Kingsley. He has great vision and seems to find the open man all the time.
This is a tough one to pick, but if the Diplomats get the duo of Power and Guerrero going, they should advance to the next round.
Prediction: Diplomats -3.5
No. 6 The Industry (4-4) vs. No. 11 Free Agents (2-6): Winner faces No. 3 Wynners
This will be the first meeting of the season as The Industry will face the Free Agents in what will perhaps be a low-scoring contest. The Free Agents somehow beat the TD Rayguns by one point last week as four of their five players scored in double figures with Craig Sutter leading the way with 22 points. They won even without Joseph Roselle and was also out-rebounded too. I'm pretty sure that the TD Rayguns weren't playing at 100 percent as they probably knew that they would be the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. Regardless, it was still a solid win overall. In order for the Free Agents to upset The Industry, they need to play some quality defense and force them to pass the ball as the Free Agents are sixth in the league with 6.5 steals per game. Watch out for Jacob Richardson to be all over The Industry and play some solid defense.
For The Industry, the duo of Derek Adkins and Marciano Brunette will have to explode on offense and provide that spark that they've shown all season long. Joseph Soto has been a solid difference-maker all season long and watch out for him to explode as he Industry will win this one.
Prediction: The Industry -8
No. 5 RudeDogs (5-3) vs. No. 12 SUNZ (1-7): Winner faces No. 4 Dyme Pieces
This will be a rematch from week three as the RudeDogs beat the SUNZ 101-56. That was when the RudeDogs had Khalid Cannon, but the center has missed the last two games and hopefully he returns tonight. Since Cannon has missed a lot of games, GM Dan Orozco has recruited open league's Vernon Clemens and man has he had quite the season. He's averaging 18.8 PPG and is an explosive player every time he steps foot on the floor. The shooting trio of Adam Rellah, Ben Carey and D'Andre Henderson will of course knock down three after three, so the SUNZ needs to guard the three of them like they've never guarded anyone before.
The SUNZ need everyone to come together and play some smart basketball against a highly talented RudeDogs. It sucks that some of their best players have missed most of the season, but one guy that could surprise the RudeDogs is of course Cris Cockrell. He has scored at least 14 or more points in every game he's played in this season and the RudeDogs need to look out for him all game long. Besides Cockrell, I'm not sure if there's anyone else on the SUNZ that can put up solid stats, therefore, the RudeDogs will advance to the next round.
Prediction: RudeDogs -15
No. 7 Lifetime Lakers (3-5) vs. No. 10 Artsakh Kings (2-6): Winner faces No. 2 TD Rayguns
Shawn Monegan and his Lifetime Lakers will face the Artsakh Kings in a rematch from week seven where the Lakers won by an 86-61 final. In that game, Mark Burle of the Lakers played his second game of the season and scored what is a season-high for him in 29 points as he shot 75 percent from the field. Chris Mellor also had an all-around great game as he scored 24 points. The Lakers are shooting 44 percent overall this season and they need to pass the ball a whole lot more as they're second to last in the league averaging 12.1 assists per game. Monegan has missed the past two games and they really need him to lead this team and run like crazy in transition. He draws a lot of fouls and gets tough shots to go down. If someone is absent for the Lakers, Darius Meyers always seems to step it up and spark the Lakers any way he can.
That Artsakh Kings won their regular season finale against the SUNZ as they shot an incredible 56 percent from the field. Watch out for Andrew Sookiassian to be aggressive from the get-go and get his team going. Haroutuin Massoyan has put up some solid stats all season long and will need to take care of the ball against a pretty good defensive unit in the Lakers. Hopefully Brendan Graves plays for the Kings and draw some key fouls, however, I have the Lakers winning this one by drawing fouls themselves in a hard-fought battle.
Prediction: Lifetime Lakers -12