Playoff Preview B1 East

Bill Simmons Style

As a religious follower of the Sports Guy, back before he made the jump to the World Wide Leader, it’s always been an inspiration of mine to build a fan base in the same manner that he has.  But in my quest to become an ultimate pop culture icon, consider the following.

A) Not handing in weekly articles is a serious deterrent to building a loyal following of minions who endlessly refresh the CRFC front page in hopes that something has been posted by noonish on Thursdays.   Also, it’s difficult to pull together an article based solely on reader’s emails when one doesn’t spark any controversy to begin with.  Power Rankings aside of course, I may need to start bashing more GMs or players.

B) I don’t have a catchy nickname like the Wolverine, or the Ticallion Stallion.  (and no, Junk in the Trunk, or any such derivative is NOT going to put me on the path to unlimited riches, trust me on this.)

C) In order to become a pop culture icon, one can’t just know current (and past) pop culture; one has to live it.  Seriously, I have a life that takes up too much of my time.  No seriously.

D) The common theme to the emails that I do receive from my readers tend to read as follows, “Tibbs, you suck!” Honestly, how can a man overcome such obviously well-thought out and articulated hatred against his craft?  Clearly Iím fighting an uphill battle.

But enough about my problems, it’s playoff time!! You know what that means, top seeds choking, GMs on the hotseat, prime time players stepping up big, and of course, our latest rankings!  Here then, is an entire (half) column devoted to how the B1 East teams shake down in their Quest for the Stick.

The Long, Long Shots

# 8 Irate Ambassadors – Sure, theyíve only won 1 game this season, and 3 total in the past two, but Irate has something nobody else in this playoff system does, a relentless desire to piss everyone off.  Watching these guys brawl with any and everybody is great, nearly impossible to describe, but you know I’m giving it a shot.  It’s like taking in a local  turf war while trying to buy your Aunt Ellen a Christmas present over at the Galleria.  You know you should just get the hell out of there before everybody gets hurt, but really, it’s captivating.  If I were a betting man, which I am, I’d say that Irate will go down swinging in order to try and slow down (maybe perhaps injure) a very, very talented A Team in the first round.

# 7 John’s Open Slot – Kevin Chinn knows how KG feels right now.  Heís never sure which of his guys are going to show up for a game, or even how theyíll play once their on the court.  One week some of his teammates look stellar, the next? Eh, not so much.  It’s alright though, Kevin McHale is not the GM, so theyíre headed in the right direction.  Plus, it’s only their first season at CRFC, and theyíre only going to get better.  Theyíre like a first year sitcom, trying to find their niche, whether or not theyíll have enough of a following to return next season.  Consider this playoff game as their sweeps week. The type of performance they give against Tenacious D in the first round will go a long way in determining if they give it another go next season.


The Unknowns

# 6 TFT – Which team shows up for the playoffs, the one that started 4-1 and looked like only they could beat themselves, or the squad that lost it’s last six, in fairly convincing fashion? Both squads have had the exact same personnel, but it’s all about effort and injuries.  Willieís been complaining of a broken finger, Vlady, and all his size, posts up less than Lafrentz would, but he’s got the same love for the 3.  Even Joel, despite his hustle and thirst to win, occasionally seems disinterested.  These guys have got be hitting the 3 early and often, getting jacked up if they want to make a serious run. Otherwise, theyíll spend the off-season reminiscing about what could have been.

# 5 Data Nuggets – Really the problem has been a lack of enthusiasm for the key players on this team.  You mean to tell me that the big three of Google, Zesker, and Burke have played a possible 15 of 27 games?!?  How is this possible?? Sure they can use the cliched excuses like, oh I had a business meeting with clients, or my wife wouldn’t let me go to the 9 oíclock game because we had to watch One Tree Hill, but come on guys!  Unacceptable.  You think you can sign your big contract before the season and then just mail it in, playing when you feel like it?  GMs wouldnít stand for that!  Ok, so that was a bad example, but seriously if those 3 show up to all their remaining games, with Mike Pearlman in tow, they are going to win this thing and shock everybody.


The Contendahs!

# 4 CTC – Really, they’re getting the shaft.  The 2 teams in front of them have just as many losses, but played an extra game or two.  Plus no one outside of the top seed has played a more fired-up, gung-ho brand of basketball over the last six weeks, including giving that top seed their first real scare.  Seriously, who wants to play these guys?!  But CTC is all about team at this point, despite what their name actually calls for.  These guys are playing composed, smart basketball at just the right time.  It helps to have a ROY candidate (Danny Fahey) and excellent ëRole Player (Freeman), but itís the big guns leading this squad.  The trick will be getting past the Nuggets as their opening act.

# 3 Upstate – I’ll admit, even I didn’t believe they’d finish in the top 3, despite my preseason predictions found here  Honestly, what’s wrong with a little self-promotion from time to time.  Iím sick of reminding everyone how wrong I can be, it’s time to pat myself on the back.  There, that feels good doesnít it??  Who knew that the size on this team wouldn’t just be Gebhard and Covert?  Also, those dangerous Meldrim brothers provide just enough scoring to keep Upstate from becoming the 1994 New York Knicks.

# 2 Tenacious D – So they lost their leading rebounder and inside presence to the A2 (11 points and 12 boards from Erik Brown), and what do they do?? They sign a proven guy from the West (Kabrud) and hope that even with a slight drop off, heíll replace a majority of Brown’s stats while opening up the offense even more for that other Brown guy that had.  Guess what, it worked!! Kabrud stepped in and averaged 10 points and 8 boards, along with numerous hustle plays that don’t get recorded or mentioned because Iím lazy.  He wasn’t the defensive presence that Erik was, but he wasn’t asked to be.  He filled his role to perfection and opened the offense up for Ben to showcase his skills.  A smart off-season move made by GM Delcourt!  You win this year’s Common Sense Signing! Congratulations, now don’t blow it by bowing out in the first round of the playoffs, or it’s all for nothing.


The Lock

# 1 A Team – Despite what I said about the contenders, this team has It.  It, what is It?  All I know is that it’s they have the earmarks of a champion that past number one’s were lacking.  You know who Iím talking about. Sunday they finish off their undefeated season, before facing a short week and their game on Wednesday. They’re not worried and they wonít talk about it publicly, but anything short of the Stick is a severe disappointment.  Having the front-runner for MVP (another column for later this week) will certainly make their path that much easier.  But this is the playoffs, the unexpected happen all the time.  But you know what, itís not happening this season, because the A-Team has It, and itís taking them all the way.  Of course, I’ve been wrong before!