The Optimist

2019 PHoops tournament preview

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2019 PHoops tournament preview

(2018) Ca$h Money's Gio Alicea and Isiah Perine

(2018) Ca$h Money's Gio Alicea and Isiah Perine

(2018) Ca$h Money's Gio Alicea and Isiah Perine

(2018) Ca$h Money's Gio Alicea and Isiah Perine

Logan Hanchett, Sports Writer

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March Madness is upon us. No, not that kind, but Panther Hoops March Madness. Elite basketball talent from every corner of Bloomington will battle on the hardwood for a shot at the title. On Tuesday, Commissioner Jay True sent the media into a whirl when he announced that this year will feature two separate tournaments. “They’re certainly not an ‘A’ and ‘B’ tournament, it’s more of an ‘East’ and ‘West’ division,” True said during a C-lunch press conference. Ca$h Money (9-0) enters as the unanimous, unquestioned and undefeated heavyweight tournament favorite. Let’s get into all the action.

Upper Tournament…err…”East”

Air Jordans (7-2) vs. Ball Brothers (7-2), Thursday Purple Gym at 8 p.m.

Air Jordans enter the postseason with an impressive 7 and 2 record. Led by senior guard Ethan Hurlow, the team dominated Wet and Shloopy in a 20+ point victory in their last outing. Defeating No. 2 ranked Ball Bros. will be no easy task, but the Air Jordans did make a run to the championship game last season. They’ll have to lock down Ball Bros.’ shooters if they want to advance to the final four.

Ball Bros. has only lost to one team this season: Ca$h Money, twice. Junior guards Zach Stewart, JJ Thomas and Tommy Sutkowski each pose a major scoring threat. Point guard Braydon Douglas can be prolific as well. If not contained, Ball Bros. will exploit any defense, proven by their recent 101 point performance against the Half Senders. In the postseason it’ll take improved defense if the junior laden squad wants to win the coveted sweatshirt.

 

Fat Clips (6-3) vs. Half Senders (6-3), Thursday Purple Gym at 7 p.m.

Another match up of teams with strong records has South’s Fat Clips taking on North’s Half Senders.

Fat Clips enter the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the league, winning 6 of their last 7. Junior guard Nick Cannon possesses the fattest clip on the squad, but he’s accompanied by a capable starting lineup that has played well down the stretch. The last time these two teams met, it was a 40 point thrashing in favor of the Half Senders. With the Fat Clips figuring out how to, uh, score, it could be closer this time around.

The Half Senders have put together an impressive record despite one of the most challenging records in the league. Junior guard Diego Smith is a heckuva player that North probably could’ve used this season. Internal projections have his three point percentage well above 50. Meanwhile, point guard Max Graf and center Aidan Lowinger play important roles running the Half Senders offense. They have championship potential.

 

Tune Squad (3-6) vs. C-Team (4-5), Thursday Purple Gym at 6 p.m.

This matchup between rival senior teams is one of the more intriguing tournament openers.

Tune Squad has had their struggles this season, but still remains in good position to amend things and make it to the final four. Center Drew Todd is one of the better post presences in the league and has thrived by drawing and-ones. The team’s biggest strength is in size, with forwards Thomas Tierney and Seth Kestranek each putting together solid seasons. From deep, however, has been where Tune Squad has often struggled. It’ll take good shooting performances from senior guard Justin Pemberton and Jacob Lewis if they want to advance into the second round.

C-Team got off to an 0 and 3 start, but has improved over the course of the season despite a rigorous schedule. We know senior guard Scott Grabowski is an MVP-caliber player capable of exploiting vulnerable defenses. Big men Jonathan Collins and Jackson Younger will have the crucial role of containing Tune Squad inside the paint. They’re one of the more inconsistent teams but capable of pulling off upsets, shown by their surprising victory over the Half Senders (who 40 balled them earlier in the year).

Winner faces Ca$h Money Saturday.

 

Lower Tournament…err…”West”

Wet and Shloopy (3-6) vs. The Janitors (3-6)

These two teams look to be PHoops #1’s biggest threats to win a championship, and they’ll meet in the first round

Wet and Shloopy is on a 6 game losing streak and looking to turn things around. Captain Jonathan Dusleag and Zak Dabdoub unofficially lead the team in scoring, although it’s looked like a balanced approach offensively for much of the year. They’ll need to contain The Janitor’s deep threats if they want to advance to the second round.

The Janitors trio of Jack Boyle, Timothy Pak, and Grant Bivins gives them three reliable scorers from beyond the arc. It’ll take added contributions from center Jaden Badger and forward Garrett Blevins inside the paint, but on paper we have The Janitors as our favorites to win the lower tournament.

Winner faces PHoops #1 Saturday (The Quitters forfeited).

 

 

Slim Clips (3-6) vs. Deep Threats (0-9), Thursday Auxiliary Gym 6 p.m.

These teams have already met twice this season, both going in Slim Clips’ favor. Can Deep Threats pull off the shocker?

Slim Clips have lived up to their name this season, but the team does have the potential to put together a string of wins in the postseason. Junior guard Grant Yeagley has been the most consistent scoring threat for the Slim Clips, and has been especially hot of late. Plus, (NBA) MVP-caliber shooting guard Thomas Like is one of the clutchest players in the league. The Slim Clips coaching staff possesses some talent as well, with head coach Jack Lyles and assistant/9th man J.T. Kelly. They shouldn’t have any trouble in this first round match up.

Deep Threats have some of the most innovative plays in the league, although thus far it hasn’t been enough to get a tally in the win column. Guard Aviv Hagar is their best shooter from deep, but Afua Dakwa has been impressive driving the ball this season. They do face a tough path to a title, but from a Virginia fan, never count anyone out.

Winner faces Benchwarmers Saturday.

 

Pre-tournament PHoops Power Rankings

  1. Ca$h Money (9-0)
  2. Ball Bros. (7-2)
  3. Half Senders (6-3)
  4. C-Team (4-5)
  5. Fat Clips (6-3)
  6. Tune Squad (3-6)
  7. Air Jordans (7-2)
  8. The Janitors (3-6)
  9. PHoops #1 (7-2)
  10. Wet and Shloopy (3-6)
  11. Benchwarmers (4-5)
  12. Slim Clips (3-6)
  13. The Quitters (2-7)
  14. Deep Threats (0-9)
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About the Writer
Logan Hanchett, Sports Writer

Logan likes to disc golf, debate and destroy Colin, Brock and J.T. in fantasy football.

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