By Joe Catapano
The Summer 17 season is already behind us. Watch the analysts and I break down the final night of regular season games and answer some playoff questions:
The First Round of the playoff were even completed Thursday night. The round of 16 is set, so here are five things you need to know about the playoffs:
1. Stranger Danger survived an overtime scare from the Double Dribblers
On the Week 9 Arc the Arc Superlative Show, Stuckey said the upset to watch out for was the No. 18 Double Dribblers over No. 15 Stranger. A few of us on the arc looked at him like he was crazy, but it took overtime for Stranger Danger to win the game against a team whose two wins came via a forfeit and over a winless team.
Stranger Danger has had an up-and-down season, plagued by the inability to close out and win close games. While they’ve blown leads, they’ve also showed the heart to come-from-behind in games, showcased in their gritty eight-point comeback with under 40 seconds left Monday night against the Bad Boyz before losing in overtime. Again on Thursday, it was Stranger Danger coming from behind, but against a team they arguably should’ve put away early. Down four at half, they were able to force overtime to win by four themselves.
Stranger Danger beat the Double Dribblers by 12 in Week 1, but that was without a game without Bernard Brantley, who only played in the minimum three games to qualify for the playoffs. He scored 35 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists. In the end, though, Zacarri Graham’s 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting was enough to earn Stranger Danger another first round playoff win in as many seasons. Last season they pulled off an upset, while this season they were almost upset. Stranger Danger will need another historic game next week when they take on No. 2 No Limit, a rematch from Week 5, where they lost 90-74.
2. The First Round was dominated by strong individual performances
We’ve seen a lot of great team basketball this season from Team Moose, STP and Redemption, just to name a few. But the First Round of the playoffs were dominated by strong individual performances. Here are some great stat-lines from Thursday night:
- Eric Singleton (Lob 203): 36 pts, 11 reb, 6 ast
- Zacarri Graham (Stranger Danger): 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting
- Bernard Brantley (Double Dribblers): 35 pts, 8 reb, 6 ast
- Jacob Miller (Flight Club): 19 pts, 8 reb, 10 ast
- Matt Zocco (Run TMC): 17 pts, 10 reb, 6 ast
On Monday night, you should expect a lot more numbers that resemble these from players on different teams, but they’ll mostly comes from games on the right side of the bracket. Here are some players who have carried the workload for their teams this season and what percent of their team’s points they score.
- Eric Singleton (Lob 203): 27.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, (45.9 percent of team’s points this season)
- Joe Baccielo (The Throne) 35.5 pph, 4.5 rpg (46.7 percent of team’s points in two games he’s played in)
- Matt Marconi (Goon Squad): 25 ppg, 9.0 rpg (35.4 percent of team’s points this season)
- Carmine Santorelli (Sensual Chocolate): 27.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg,4.9 apg (34.3 percent of team’s points this season)
3. Of the top four teams, Team Moose has the toughest path to the finals
It makes sense since they’re the lowest of the four, but Team Moose’s path the the finals is not easy by any means. While the other top teams have at least one relatively easy game to start their playoff run, Team Moose will face no easy opponents at any point this postseason.Team Moose’s region features Run TMC, Redemption and the Flint Tropics before having to potentially having to face the winner of the Monstars region in the semifinals.
The four teams in Team Moose’s region all pose different threats. Run TMC and the Flint Tropics have both lost to Team Moose this season, but they were both very close games. While they were facing a weak Fry Time team, Run TMC is coming off a 127-point performance where each team member put up solid numbers. That confidence could carry over, despite facing a entirely different beast in the Team Moose defense Monday night. If Team Moose wins Monday, they’ll face the winner of Redemption and Flint Tropics. The Flint Tropics gave Team Moose a great game until the end, but Mike Bozzuto scored 21 of their 38 points. He wouldn’t be there for the rematch.
Redemption hasn’t faced Team Moose this season, but I do see some similarities between the two teams. If Redemption can take advantage of a Bozzuto-less Flint Tropics team, it could be a fun match in the quarterfinals. The key to the Team Moose playoff run will be Trevor Chaves. Connor Daly has shown consistency all season so expect the same dominance as always, but if Chaves can get going too, Team Moose will be incredibly tough to beat. He averages 18 points per game on 92.6 percent shooting in his three games this season.
4. Can the Flint Tropics survive and advance without Mike Bozzuto?
The Flint Tropics have taken the league by storm and with style in the Summer 17 regular season and I’m not just saying that because they followed through with their corndog promises. Entering the postseason as the No. 5-seed, they’ll play in that always-riveting 5-12 matchup on Monday Night. To make things more interesting, they’ll be without their best player, Mike Bozzuto, for a majority of the postseason. So here’s the obvious question: how far can the Flint Tropics go without him?
Bozzuto is averaging 21.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game this season. He’s led his team in scoring in six of the nine games this season and he’s a common target for easy alley-oops and kick-out three-pointers. When any team loses their most productive scorer, wins will be a lot tougher to come by, but the Flint Tropics might be built to survive and advance without him. All but one of their players averages at least 7.9 points per game, showing that anyone on their team could really put up at least 10 points on any given week. Two other players, Matt Cyr and Mike Druan, also average double-figure points this season. That production will end up falling on them if that want to make a run.
There was one game this season that Bozzuto missed, but it really can’t tell us a whole lot. That game was against the Double Dribblers in a 91-54 victory. Since the Double Dribblers are a bottom-of-the-pack team, this really doesn’t prove that the Flint Tropics can definitely win playoff games without him. Redemption is a good team, and if they win that one, they’ll face the winner of Run TMC and Team Moose. What I can take away from the one game that Bozzuto missed is that Matt Cyr will have to play lights-out in his absence. He scored 23 points and had nine rebounds and five assists in that game, and he’s the other big man that usually succeeds with Bozzuto. If the Flint Tropics bench can bring their best performances and Cyr can put up Bozzuto’s numbers, maybe the Flint Tropics can continue their entertaining season.
5. The Monstars should have no problem getting back to the semifinals
Obviously it makes sense since they’re the No. 1-seed, but the Monstars have an pretty clear path to the semifinals. Their region includes a Second Round matchup with Flight Club and a matchup between the winner of STP and Sportslook. Of those three teams, The Monstars have only faced Sportslook in a Week 7 109-84 win. While I’ve thrown shade at the Monstars for playing slow against weaker teams, I think they’ll be able to do just that before reaching the semifinals.
Even the Flight Club is coming off a playoff win against the Untouchabulls Thursday night, it’s just not a game the Monstars will lose. The mere stature of the Langston brothers will make Flight Club look like a high school freshman basketball team and the weapons for the Monstars are too much for a team like Flight Club to handle. It might get a little ugly this Monday, so I hope the Flight Club’s faithful fanbase doesn’t come in with their hopes too high. As for Sportslook and STP, who have both shown they can win games against the middle-of-the-pack, I don’t think they have the firepower to last four quarters with the Monstars.
Sportslook was actually up at halftime against the Monstars in Week 7, but couldn’t keep up in the second half, as the Monstars outscored them 65-39 in the second half. The Monstars have been prone to allow a lot of three-pointers this season, so if Bryan Acevedo can turn around his poor performances from beyond the arc in the regular season, Sportslook could potentially keep pace for a little longer. That is, if Sportslook can get by STP, who just demolished them in Week 9. Sportslook did only have three guys for most of the game so hopefully they can field their full team Monday night. If not, STP will likely face the Monstars in the quarterfinals, but I think that game also favors the Monstars by a good margin.