Which Four Teams Will Remain After Tonight?
FRIDLEY REC+: Play-in Round / Elite Eight Predictions
By Jake Gave | Fridley League Coordinator
7 p.m. - No. 8 Triple Double (1-7) vs. No. 9 Jumpshot Hustlers (1-7)
Triple Double - Justin Fenster (25.2), Mejoy Lawson (22.3), Sonny Young-Graves (16.1)
Jumpshot Hustlers - Andrew Boeder (19.6), David Stommes (19.0), Jared Hughes (16.8)
Our first game of the night will see Triple Double take on the Jumpshot Hustlers. Both of these teams only have one win on the season, and for Triple Double that win came the last time these two teams played back in Week 6. Triple Double coasted to a comfortable 91-60 win but it was a game where the Jumpshot Hustlers were short handed and even had to finish with only four guys after an ejection. As long as they get better attendance, I expect the Jumpshot Hustlers to have a much better showing in the rematch.
This game will likely be a defensive battle, as these two teams are at the bottom of the league for shooting percentage. The Jumpshot Hustlers are shooting 45 percent on the season and Triple Double is sitting at 44 percent. It is a bit more understandable for Triple Double considering they attempt an astounding 35.1 3-pointers per game. The Hustlers will have to make sure they don’t let Triple Double to heat up from deep or they could be in trouble. I think that Triple Double will be able to repeat their performance from Week 6 and will advance to take on FOB.
PREDICTION: Triple Double -5.5
7 p.m. - No. 7 Uncle D.A. and the Killers (3-5) vs. No. 10 Team FOE (1-7)
Uncle D.A. and the Killers - Aaron Delaney (19.2), Kali Terry (14.0), Tyler Weaver (13.8)
Team FOE - Andre Thomas (24.6), Wiley Jiles (19.2), Ryan Rosenberg (12.6)
Our other 7 p.m. game pits the 1-7 Team FOE against the 3-5 Uncle D.A. and the Killers. The winner of this game will advance to face off against Bigsmash at 8 p.m. The last time these two teams met was way back in Week 1 and the Killers came away with an 83-70 victory. There wasn’t a whole lot of defense played in that game as both teams shot above 56 percent. Andre Thomas went off for 30 points in that game and he will be the guy the Killers will have to focus on slowing down in this one.
This game will all come down to who wants it more defensively. Uncle D.A. and the Killers clearly have the edge in that category, allowing a league low 75.3 points per game. Team FOE is on the other end of the spectrum allowing the most points at 99.3 per game. If they want any chance of coming away with the upset, they will need to find a way to slow down Aaron Delaney and the rest of the athletic wings on the Killers squad. I just don’t see them being able to do that however, so I’m predicting the Killers to come away with the win.
PREDICTION: Uncle D.A. and the Killers -10.5
8 p.m. - No. 1 FOB Five vs. Winner of No. 8/No. 9
FOB Five - Brian Sames (25.2), Sean Smith (24.7), Adam Hoven (21.9)
In the first round of elite eight matchups, FOB Five will take on the winner of the Triple Double vs. Jumpshot Hustlers game. It is going to be an extreme uphill battle for whoever wins that game, as FOB likes to run more than any other team in the league. They beat their opponents by wearing them down with non-stop fast breaks, which could spell disaster for a team who has to play them on the back end of a double-header. FOB leads the league in points per game (100.1), assists (22.3), and field goal percentage (56 percent). It would be downright foolish to pick against this squad, regardless of their opponent. Expect them to put this game to bed early.
PREDICTION: FOB Five -25.5
8 p.m. - No. 2 Bigsmash vs. Winner of No. 7/No. 10
Bigsmash - Zhao Lee (27.4), Joe Suek (25.0), Lethzee Calderon (15.6)
Our other 8 p.m. game will see the winner of the Team FOE vs. Uncle D.A. and the Killers game take on the second-ranked Bigsmash squad. Bigsmash has been very impressive lately and made a strong push at the end of the season to snatch the two-seed away from The Originals and the Bulls. They are one of the league’s top 3-point shooting teams at 43 percent and get up a ton of attempts per game (34.8). The key for their opponent will be to try and run them off of the 3-point line and make them win the game from inside the arc. This team is too solid on both ends of the court for them to lose this game, especially against a team playing their second game in one night. I predict Bigsmash to come away with a comfortable win.
PREDICTION: Bigsmash -16.5
9 p.m. - No. 3 Bulls vs. No. 6 Bakke’s Bombers
Bulls - Derek Hamner (23.1), Mahlon Thomas (19.7), Da’Jon McKnight (18.4)
Bakke’s Bombers - Jake Gave (18.0), Dashawn Nichols (16.0), Lomumba Ismail (13.3)
Kicking off the second half of the Elite Eight at 9 p.m., the No. 3 Bulls will look to take down the No. 6 Bakke’s Bombers. The first meeting between these two teams was back in Week 3, where the Bulls came away with a 90-78 victory. The Bombers struggled to slow down the Bulls offense which torched them on 55 percent shooting and 50 percent from beyond the arc. They couldn’t stop Derek Hamner and Billy Elwell who combined for 57 points. The Bulls didn’t even have Mahlon Thomas at that point so the Bombers have their work cut out for them tonight.
This game will likely be another defensive battle, especially in the paint. The Bulls are second in both points allowed per game and rebounding, and the Bombers are third in both categories. Whoever wins the matchup down low will put their squad in position to win and advance. The key matchup to watch in this game will be between the bigs, Mahlon Thomas and Lomumba Ismail. The Bulls won the last time out, but the Bombers are coming off a big upset against The Originals and have a lot of momentum. I’m going to ride the wave and pick the Bombers to keep on rolling.
PREDICTION: Bakke’s Bombers -1.5
9 p.m. - No. 4 The Originals vs. No. 5 Wolves
The Originals - Max Wessel (22.4), Josh Hoyle (20.4), Brensley Haywood (19.4)
Wolves - Neal Anderson (20.5), Hans Albrecht (20.0), Chris Palmer (19.0)
Our final matchup of the night should be a good one as the No. 4 Originals face off against the No. 5 Wolves. The Originals got the best of the Wolves in their first meeting back in Week 4 with a four-point victory. That game was an offensive exhibition, as these teams combined for 212 points. There were a combined 61 3-pointers attempted in that game, and I expect the rematch to be another shooting clinic as well. The Originals might be coming out with a bit more fire after losing to the Bombers last week and falling out of the top three.
The Originals have struggled defensively as of late, and a major key for them in this game will be to defend without fouling. A big part of the Wolves success has been their ability to get to the free throw line. They lead the league by a wide margin with 19.9 attempts and are converting on 79 percent of them. If the Wolves can slow the game down by getting to the line, they might have a chance to disrupt the high-octane offense of The Originals. The Originals are second in scoring (96.5 ppg) and assists (21.4 apg) on the season and I expect them to get their rhythm back and take home the victory here.
PREDICTION: The Originals -6.5