7:00 PM: Contract Killers vs. Golden Gophers
The Playoffs start with a real exciting matchup between the league’s top two teams. Sarcasm aside, the Contract Killers are much better than how they’ve been playing and the Gophers have taken (baby?) steps to improvement in the winter season.
Matchup to Watch: Bill Ioannides vs. Deron Posey
Ioannides has been MIA for a few weeks and the Killers would greatly benefit from a solid night from one of the league’s sharpest three-point shooters. Posey hasn’t had the season he probably envisioned for himself but remains capable of a 30-point outing.
Prediction: Contract Killers
The Gophers first win of 2017 will have to wait until the spring.
8:00 PM: The Soldiers vs. MMG
The Soldiers played a strong game last week in their loss to undefeated Easy Money. They’re unpredictable but they’re also 6-2 and capable of big things. MMG topped Too Much Sauce three weeks ago to move to 3-3 but have dropped two straight. They’re proven just as unpredictable as their next opponent in their debut season.
Matchup to Watch: Jon Hunt vs. Connor Henry
It goes without saying anything The Soldiers can do runs through the shooting and leadership of Paul Starr, but Hunt’s terrifying physique and legitimate post play makes him an important factor. Henry is having a great Ultimate Hoops rookie season. Proving to be Adam Bush-like in his double-double dependability, Henry has emerged as one of Plano’s most skilled big men.
Upset alert? MMG have been very uninspiring the past two weeks but have an overall talent edge. Whether they come together to use it will determine the outcome.
9:00 PM: Torch vs. Black Beatles
The Torch have a lot of great role players. Kreston Martin would be a scoring asset on any team. Imsitsal Agha is arguably the league’s best defender. Robert Garcia aka “Mighty Mouse” (remember Damon Stoudamire?) stuffs the stat sheet. The Beatles started 0-5 but have since won two out of three. Being new to the league, the start was rough but don’t be mistaken: there is a lot of talent on this team.
Matchup to Watch: Kreston Martin vs. Kobie Douglas
Martin can flatout fill it up. But where other scoring comes from is a weekly conundrum for the Torch. Like Martin, Douglas gets buckets. He plays at a fast pace and is always attacking the basket.
Prediction: Black Beatles
I think the Beatles have more options and picked up some wins at the end of the season that can be built on.
9:00 PM: Tropics vs. Too Much Sauce
The middle of the pack, by numerical standing, the 4-5 matchup is usually a good one in any sport. This one looks to fit the billing. The Tropics stumbled out of the gates but have won three in a row, riding high into the playoffs. Too Much Sauce has only one win in the past three and have lost their early season momentum.
Matchup to Watch: Lorenzo Prats vs. Jeremiah Hopkins
Prats and Brett Williams has been absolutely on fire the past two weeks. They’ll need to hit their three’s to move on to the semifinals. I get that Hopkins didn’t initially play for the Sauce as was recruited after a week or two, but if they want to win a championship he can’t be coming off the bench.
Prediction: Too Much Sauce
This one could absolutely go either way, but I’m picking my third “upset,” according to seeding. The Tropics have some of the league’s finer players, but Too Much Sauce go a few players deeper.