Thursday, March 11, 2010

Week 7 Previews!

8:15 – The Hospital Bombers vs. Dunk-a Schoen

Following a close loss to The Cray’s Nest, The Hospital Bombers may be particularly vulnerable against their long-time rivals. Dunk-a Schoen, though only 2-4, seem to be peaking at the right time. Last week’s rout over Team Fouls marked the emergence of a more cohesive unit, and the addition of Kevin Felder may be the spark they needed to contend with the league’s elite. But the journey is only beginning, and every win is important if they hope to make up for lost time.

Felder, Whitney Warren, Ben Weitmarschen, and Zach Heinzerling provide the main offensive threats for Dunk-a Schoen, and all play a similar slashing style. Ball-handling and height should not be a problem. Defensively, they’ll have much to contend with. The Hospital Bombers boast one of the league’s more efficient offenses, spearheaded by Steve Friedman and Geoff Nelson. Last week’s poor performance figurs to be an anomaly, and Dunk-a Schoen will need to find a defensive answer for their scoring prowess. Experts speculate that they may utilize a 3-2 zone, with tall defenders spread across the perimeter to discourage three-point shooting. The Bombers, meanwhile, are known for a tough man-to-man defense that will be challenged by the athleticism and size of their opponents tonight.

In the latest power rankings, the Bombers slipped to second while Dunk-a Schoen leaped to third place. But the Vegas odds may be more indicative of what the public is thinking; in a move nobody could have foreseen even a week ago, Dunk-a Schoen is actually favored by two points.

9:00 – Team Fouls vs. Beast of Burden

The 1-game suspension of leading scorer Rafael Rodriguez is sure to take its toll on Beast of Burden as they face the GABL’s last-place team. Ismael Rodriguez will have to pick up the slack, but scoring may become more difficult in the absence of a true point guard. The play of Kieran Valla, Brian Love, and Robin Luna will play a big factor in tonight’s game.

Team Fouls is known for its passive offensive style, which hurts them against teams who control the boards. Tonight, though, they may have a shot to at least break even. Kyle Ervin plays bigger than his height, and Zach Smith and David Saie have been known to mix it up on the glass when necessary. If they can assert some kind of presence against the Beast of Burden interior, they’ll have a shot to pull off the upset.

In the absence of second-chance points, this game may come down to the long distance attacks. Ismael Rodriguez and Andrew Weiner are two of the best three-point shooters in the league, and if one goes cold while the other stays hot, it could be the difference in the game. Due to Rafael’s suspension, the spread is much closer than it would otherwise be. At the moment, Beast of Burden is favored by a single point.

9:45 – The Cray’s Nest vs. Layup Line Heroes

The Heroes have shown a knack to earn the big win when it really counts, and at 3-3 they’re still very much in the playoff discussion. Tonight, though, they will have their hands full with a Cray’s Nest team who matches up very well against their offense. In their first match-up, TCN employed a tough 2-3 zone that limited the Heroes to outside shots, which was never their strength. Keith Gormley managed to score on precise foul-line jumpers, but it was nowhere near enough to overcome the onslaught on the offensive end.

Lars Rasmussen, Vance Tucker, and Jacob Craycroft are pure danger on the boards, and have led The Cray’s Nest to first place in the league. Gene Walsh, Jordan Glickson, and Shane Ryan are capable of scoring from the perimter, and Jane Rizzo’s perimeter defense was good enough to earn Marchioness honors last week. A win tonight will clinch a playoff spot, and unless they suffer a severe let-down after last week’s dramatic victory, they should have an easy time.

As of post time, The Cray’s Nest was favored by 13 points, the highest spread yet this year.

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