By Tyler Krusz
The Low Post Podcast (S2E8): Tyler Krusz and Brian Heston break down the final week of the regular season, and get you ready for all four Quarterfinal playoff matchups taking place this week
Legacy Leagues Winter 2018 Playoffs: First Round (Tuesday August 7 at 8pm)
#3 Swish Kabobs (6-3) vs #6 Halfway Crooks (3-6)
First Matchup: Swish Kabobs defeated Halfway Crooks, 82-77, in Week 2
Second Matchup: Swish Kabobs defeated Halfway Crooks, 78-75, in Week 8
Current Streak: Swish Kabobs (L1), Halfway Crooks (L1)
Highest Power Ranking: Swish Kabobs – 3, Halfway Crooks – 4
The only blemishes on The Swish Kabobs’s record comes from the top two teams. That being said, in both meetings this summer, The Halfway Crooks almost pulled off the upset. Their team defense and size really bothers The Swish Kabobs, and they have the ability to lock down the key players. On the other hand, The Swish Kabobs have all the tools to make a deep playoff run rather than a first round exit- a talented backcourt, athletic clashers, and a dominant big man.
Players to Watch: Tyler Barbosa (Swish Kabobs), Jared Hanson (Halfway Crooks)
- Barbosa: All things Swish Kabobs run through Tyler Barbosa. He is their ball handler as well as their best shooter, and has most of their assists on the team. Barbosa’s ability to find buckets, whether through his jumper, drive, or passes, is unmatched on his team. Once he gets hot, it’s nearly impossible to slow his team down with the assets he has around him. Should the Halfway Crooks stand a chance next week, they need to take his driving and passing lanes away and force him to settle for jumpers.
- Hanson: Hanson is the heart of The Halfway Crooks on both ends of the ball. He can use his handles and drive to get to the basket against nearly any defender, and his craftiness around the rim is what sets him above other players. He can shoot, as well, and is dangerous to play up on or sag off against. On any night, Hanson can take over a game and will his team to victory. He could be dangerous for The Swish Kabobs.
Potential Breakout Players: Lane Ukura (Swish Kabobs), Joey Zocco (Halfway Crooks)
- Ukura: Ukura can shoot the lights out of the gym on any night. The only problem is that he’s streaky. Last time out, he struck for five three’s and 18 points against Lob City. If he can capitalize on open looks and the guards can find him, he could be the boost that leaves The Halfway Crooks in the dust. The Swish Kabobs already have two great guards, two athletic wings, and one dominant big man. Add a deadly spot-up shooter and these guys will have a hard time losing.
- Zocco: Similar to Ukura, Zocco is a three-point specialist with good and bad nights. Last game out, Zocco had 15 points, all from three, and looked confident as ever. The Halfway Crooks already have size on offense as well as a great point guard. If they can count on Zocco to knock down his triples consistently, they have just as good an offense as anyone to compliment one of the better team defenses in the league. Reiterated, if Zocco gets hot from deep, The Swish Kabobs could have a long night.
Legacy Leagues Predictions:
Barbosa: Swish Kabobs
Krusz: Halfway Crooks
Mike: Swish Kabobs
Legacy Leagues Winter 2018 Playoffs: First Round (Tuesday August 7 at 9pm)
#2 Lob City (8-1) vs #7 Wild Hogs (2-7)
First Matchup: Lob City defeated Wild Hogs, 115-85, in Week 7
Current Streak: Lob City (W1), Wild Hogs (W1)
Highest Power Ranking: Lob City – 1, Wild Hogs – 7
Lob City easily took down The Wild Hogs in their first meeting by nearly 50 points. Five of their players scored double-digits, and the one player that didn’t had 17 assists. Lob City has one of, if not the most complete team in the league. Should The Wild Hogs shut down one offensive option, there are three more that can change the course of the game, singlehandedly. From size, to range, to athleticism, Lob City has the advantage over The Wild Hogs across the board, and they should advance with ease.
Players to Watch: Cody Crawford (Lob City), Mike Bandieri (Wild Hogs)
- Crawford: Cody Crawford is one of the best three-point shooters in the league. He has scored the most points this season, and can be an absolute machine from deep when he is on. If Crawford gets hot, nothing can really slow him down except time, and The Wild Hogs will need to simply keep him from getting the ball. He had 37 against them earlier this season, and can shoot his team to a win against any opponent.
- Bandieri: There isn’t much Mike Bandieri can’t do on the court. He had a double-double with points and steals one week, and then pulled down 21 boards a few games later. If he shoots efficiently and often, he can be the hero his team needs to pull off the upset. He can’t do everything, though. Joey Coro needs to show up and pull his weight on the glass and scoring to preserve Bandieri’s energy and reap the benefits.
Potential Breakout Players: Greg Holt (Lob City), Sonny Guelce (Wild Hogs)
- Holt: In their last matchup, Holt was three points away from a triple-double, with 11 boards and 17 assists. Should he join Crawford and company on another scoring frenzy, like the last game against The Wild Hogs, it could get ugly fast. The league has seen Holt score like the rest of his team, and Lob City gets that much better when he adds his fair share of points to the box score.
- Guelce: It’s no secret that Guelce is an important part to The Wild Hogs offense. Since their team is limited in scorers, they are going to be extremely dependent on him for production in the playoffs. Coro and Bandieri will get theirs, but expect Guelce to look for his shot more often to take some weight off of the other two.
Legacy Leagues Predictions:
Barbosa: Lob City
Krusz: Lob City
Mike: Wild Hogs