The popularity of the CAC B2 continues to explode and the league has expanded yet again as we now have four very solid divisions of play. I will be covering the North and the East this season while JLizzy will be covering the Wild, Wild West (Kool Moe Dee style) and the South. With the returning champs Cha-Ching scurrying like a squirrel with a nut over to the B1 West (due to a Tuesday scheduling conflict, NOT because of my reffing!), the B2 title is up for grabs and we will have a new champion this season. Some new stars have joined in the fun (Phi Slamma Jamma EBrown, Chris OíConnell), some past stars have returned (Meyer, Hunt), and some have apparently taken a sabbatical (JLoh). Here is how I see the East being played out this season, and remember, I am hardly ever right about anything, so donít get too inflated/deflated after reading this.
#1 Big State
Kuether has all his starters back after what had to be a very difficult off-season after bowing out of the playoffs much earlier than expected. I had them winning it all last season in my secret B2 playoff bracket pool, but it wasnít meant to be (and now I am out $5). But at the CAC, even the best teams have to deal with a few, hard playoff losses before they can get their names up on that elusive banner – just ask the honorable men of Cha-Ching. But with a starting 4 pack of The Siberian Bull, JRed, T squared, and Captain Kueth, you donít get a much better head start than that on your way to a title. Itís like having a few Red Bulls before you start drinking ñ itís a great head start, but doesnít guarantee the night will turn out just the way you want it.
#2 Cleary Club
ìCaptain Americaî Ken Cleary has recruited superstud Geoffrey Meyer back in the mix and that can only spell plenty of doom for the rest of the league. It may take Meyer a few games to get his CAC legs back, but Cleary Club now has that one element that may have been lacking last season: a consistent inside presence on both ends of the floor. This will allow Captain America to just roam free on the perimeter where he can be surprisingly deadly, as well as crashing the boards. Throw in some hot games from Clement from the outside and Dillonís unmatched defensive tenacity, and you may have the scariest team in the league to match-up against. Now, can I get that yellow t-shirt please? And by the way, I just saw a roster and I donít see Meyer on it. Captain America assured me a few weeks back at the Border cafÈ that he has signed. If this is not true, then this ranking may sink like a stone.
I am not sure how BFab pulled it off, but he has back on his squad B2 legend Mike Kmiec, along with cousin Bob Muse. Throw in Allyn at the point and Schofield in the post, and you have one very talented team. The problem with G-Unit has never been talent though, itís cohesiveness as they have 8 or 10 different guys showing up from week to week. Can Kmiec get his title and shake the ìbest player never to have wonî tag? And where have you gone, Mike Santos and Georgie? Stay tuned ñ itís always exciting when you have G-Unit in the hunt for the title.
I donít know what NOW stands for, but apparently Mike D and the Saugus bunch have shed the Mullets tag and are trying to re-brand themselves both on and off the court in efforts to return to their past glory. No, JaySar is not returning to this squad much to the dismay of the B2 faithful, but they have added three studs in Phi Slamma Jamma EBrown, A1 transfer Quinten Walsh and Chris OíConnell (whose over/under for total for technical fouls is currently set at 10) as well as a nice role player in SHS Tennis Hall of Fame member Pete D. These additions launch them near the top of the pre-season rankings, so expectations are high this season for the Saugus gang. And they just might get some calls from yours truly as their hometown black-out period to avert any perceived conflict of interest has finally expired. But I donít see Usok on the roster. Could this be? If not, who is going to run the point and chuck up all those threes?
#5 More Cowbell
With Romaine Hunt back in the pasture for Cowbell, Micah Sherman and his men are right back in the hunt for the title, no pun intended (sorry Micah and Wil, I will leave the jokes to you guys from now on). Captain Coox has to be happy about having his dynamic duo in tact, but we all know that in order for these guys to make the impact, they need to consistently show up, especially in the playoffs. Hanson, Breton, Wong and the much improved Coox are great role guys for the two studs and if all as planned, theyíll be tough to beat. But are there enough minutes for all of them?
#6 Average Joeís
If there was ever a team that will be on a mission this season, itís the Joeís. Sure they are without their best player and last seasonís league MVP JLoh, but that tough playoff loss last season to Cha-Ching will provide plenty of motivation for these guys all season long. And if you think the layoff has provided adequate healing time, think again as Kessell Kopter cornered me at Subway a few weeks ago and demanded explanations for the two techís I handed his team in the 2nd half, ìcostingî them the game. Gee, and I thought the players who actually got the techs might somehow be responsible, but maybe I didnít learn the definition of ìplayerî correctly in grade school. Either way, this team may struggle without its superstar, but maybe desire and passion can overcome the drop in talent? Korpalski is back along with Kaboub, so that will help a bunch on offense, but remember, JLoh is not walking through that door!
#7 Serenity Now
The Detroit Pistons of our league have no true superstars on their squad, but play the best team ball of maybe anyone in the league. But is this alone enough to overcome some of the teams in this league as they are well behind the pace car from a talent perspective? The Good King always has something up his sleeve, I mean jersey, and with Bigshot, Mr. Fantasy Stat, and Pockets by his side, and throw in a little Trevor Bell, teams better not take them lightly. I imagine theyíll slow it down yet again this season, making for a low scoring and defensive battle, but you never know with the Rattling AK. Should be interesting.
#1 Raginí Rondos
The Rondos finished off last season very strong and look to make the playoffs this season. With the 1-2 punch of sharpshooter Chris Glasser and inside man and defensive specialist Jon Evans, the Rondos could not only make the playoffs, but win the division. The critical element will be the supporting cast which is a mix of old and new players. But balers usually run with ballers, so Iíll take the flyer here and choose them pre-season #1.
#2 Wolverineís World
Wolverineís World is back at it again for another always entertaining season with the all-time CAC character list of Ian ìThe Jetî Whitney, Iceman Jean Cadet and the rest of the usual suspects. Talent wise, this team can win it all. The key for them will be how well they play as a team and how well they ignore me. But I do want my name on another banner and having it in a team name seems to be the only way to get it up there these days, so maybe I will be nicer to Ian this season. NahÖ
#3 Big Tickets ñ This team formerly known as the Mullane Express has retooled after taken a season off. But I think they have a very solid nucleus to compete for the title in the East despite the layoff. Look for them to have a few off weeks and gel mid-season and really take teams by surprise.
The men of Drago are back in the saddle and we are glad to have them. After a brief and moderately successful stint with the Mullets, Sean McNabb and Gabe Porter can share with the rest of this squad all the great eateries that Route One Saugus has to offer. LeFave is back looking to take all the shots away from McNabb, and they have added a few new Dragoans which hopefull will add some outside shooting to the mix. Getting away from the North is a blessing for this team and they should thrive in the revamped East.
#5 Solid Gold
The men of Solid Gold are back for another season at the CAC. Captain Tom Duval and explosive scorer Mark Martineau make sure that every game is a close one and no team can take them lightly, even if they are up big in the 1st half. Attendance is always an issue when you have the social lives that these guys have, and I wouldnít mind trading places on a few Tuesday nights if I could just join them in their gallivanting around town!
Parts Unknown, Weight Unknown
5th Street ñ Other than the Worm, I donít know too much about this team. Count me in for the post game Texas Holdíem games though.
Weezer ñ Are they a rock band or a bunch of kids with asthma?
Lazy Eyes ñ Gammy? If you get that reference, let me know. I bet AK gets it.
Sparhawks ñ I am not sure if this is an actual bird or a made up one, but it sunds pretty fierce, doesnít it?