Can BTE Finish Off a Perfect Season and Win Back-to-Back Titles?
SUMMERLIN OPEN: Championship Game Prediction
By L.C. Comine | Summerlin Media Associate
Just as we all thought at the beginning of the season (well most of us) I had BTE in the title game, we get the Villains and BTE once again for the open league title. This is a rematch of last seasons game which saw BTE break through and win their first title in their first season as a franchise. This will be the fourth meeting of the season between these two teams since the league only had four teams. The first two meetings saw BTE win both of them at the buzzer and the third meeting saw the Villains go up by at least 20 points before BTE staged a second half comeback. In that third game the Villains were without Chase and Kodiak and Jacob McDonald left very early in the second half with an injury. This title game should be a battle between two teams that know each other very well and if the first three games are any indication on how this game may go we will all be in for a treat Monday night.
The Villains have to be confident heading into this one. The last time they had their whole team against BTE (the second meeting, they seemed to find something). Down 26 in the second half the Villains made adjustments that really seemed to put BTE on their heels for the first time in two seasons. Dreu Johnson, who has joined the Villains midseason, has been instrumental in how to attack BTE and getting the Villains playing a way that BTE does not expect. Johnson and Skinkis are a lethal backcourt pairing and in this title game they will finally be at full strength with Kodiak, Tij, Juan, Dave Murtha, and Jacob McDonald. Hopefully they will only need my services in garbage time this time around but it is going to be key that the Villains are finally going to have their whole squad to face off against the champs. In three games they have shown the ability to score against BTE averaging 83 points per game. Dave Murtha is going to be the key to the game for the Villains. In three games this season against BTE he is averaging 22 PPG, and in the first two meetings he went for 50 combined. If Johnson and Skinkis can get the ball moving against the BTE zone and they can find areas to attack look for Murtha to once again have a big game.
BTE is going to be quite confident heading into this one as well. Not only are they the defending champs but they have also won sixteen straight games and four straight over the Villains. BTE will be led as usual by three-time defending MVP Jordan Cannon who has had another tremendous season averaging 32 PPG and shooting an unreal 73 percent from the field and 56 percent from deep. Andre McFarland and Edward Vaughns are the other key playmakers on BTE and both are averaging 23 PPG and 22.3 PPG respectively. The key to BTE’s success over the last two seasons has been the tight chemistry they have and the fantastic defense they play. BTE is known for playing a zone defense that makes it very difficult for shooters to get shots off and bigs like Andre and Stefan Hanania protect the inside. However the BTE defense has been leaking some oil over the last four weeks and it will be very interesting to see how they come out in this one. The Villains looked to figure out the vaunted zone defense and forced BTE to play man against them in the last meeting, which sparked a comeback. Will BTE decide to play man this week or will they stick to the zone? In the last two halves of basketball they played zone against the Villains they gave up 91 points. It should be quite the chess match tonight to see exactly what BTE does and how the Villains attack.
So who is going to win this showdown? Like I mentioned these two teams know each so well, they know who to guard and where certain guys are at all times when they are on the court. BTE has the Villains’ number, defeating them the last four meetings they have played. The Villains have showed they are capable of beating BTE. They have lost twice this season at the buzzer, and had them on the ropes two weeks ago. We should see quite a show between Jordan Cannon and Dreu Johnson. I think both guys are going to look to establish themselves early and often. The battle I am looking to see is between Kodiak and Andre McFarland. In the last meeting Kodiak was not 100 percent, but he did hold McFarland to 2-11 shooting. Yazzie though had an off night shooting himself going 2-7. One of these guys is going to have a big game tomorrow night and I got a hunch it will be Yazzie. This game is going to be a back and fourth affair all game and I truly believe it will come down to the final minute once again. This time though look for Dave Murtha to come up clutch down the stretch and hit a key bucket as the Villains win their first title in three seasons and end the winning streak of BTE. The Villains end the Fall season back on top of the Open Division as your champs!
Prediction: Villains- 79, BTE- 78
MVP - Dave Murtha - Villains