And then there were eight

17 06 2011

After 9 weeks, 96 games, approximately 292.95 pounds of recyclables (I actually weighed it one week), more than 1500 frames, and 2541 points, the spring 2011 playoff picture has finally come into focus.

Here’s the breakdown of the playoff contenders:

  1. License to Roll: After their stunning, hard-fought “victory” over Bocce Said She Was 18 (really, guys…you’re going to actually accept this as a “win”?), L2R claimed the top berth in the playoffs.  While they don’t always score a lot of points (their 13.25 points per game is ninth in the league), they’ve found a way to keep their opponents from racking them up as well (holding their opponents to a second-best 10.08 ppg).  For the nucleus of the team — Seth O., Johnny Lund, and “Rollin’ Ronn” Erik —  this is a chance to make it to the finals for the third time in a row.  Will this be the charm-filled season?
  2. Bocce Bartokomous: It’s not really the way they wanted to head into the playoffs — going into Week 9 playing for the top seed in the post-season, only to end up with a 6-point loss in a lackluster performance against the 13th-place team.  At least the jams that Sister Nagle was spinning were hot.  The Bartokomi still have some good things going for them heading into the play-offs: a league-leading 17 ppg (with a per game differential of +6.33)…and Capo K-Nagle is back, fresh off his rehab stint in Pawtucket (or maybe he’s just on hiatus from his Ultimate season).
  3. Days of Thunder: These guys aren’t really storming into the play-offs, either.  Riding a four-game winning streak, they sputtered during an inconsistent performance in their Week 9 loss to Joey & The Pussycats (who were scratching and clawing for their playoff lives).  Did they hit their peak too early…or was it just a matter of Capo C-Fie still hungover from his week-long binge on Tennessee moonshine at Bonaroo?
  4. The Segals: The Kumbaya Kids came off their bye week with a vengeance, dismantling the Ball Bustahs with laser-like rolls that consistently had them right on the point to start just about every frame.  Quite a difference from the last two weeks before their bye, going 2-2, with sporadic performances their only consistency.  This team may have finally found their identity on their recent retreat.  They’re feeling it…and hungry for NBL championship #3.
  5. Bocce Said She Was 18: Now, it’s hard to say that these guys totally blew off Week 9 (forfeiting to License to Roll)…but their excuse of having only one player available (oh, ya…and perhaps one more) seemed a little flimsy, given that their response to a Commissioner offer to surface alternates for them was that they felt they were “good” and would “rather have the actual team” play “this close to the playoffs.”  Weak, very weak.  I’m sure their absence had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that (a) they had already clinched a playoff berth and (b) the Bruins were playing Game 7 for Lord Stanley’s cup.  Hopefully, they’ll be able to make their first-round playoff against the Segals…I mean, the 8th European Universities Badminton Championship tournament is taking place in Thessaloniki, Greece next week (really, it is).  The boys might just need to stay home once again because they just gotta to catch that action (live on the Ocho!), too.
  6. Swim, Bike, Bocce: Time for a history lesson, people.  It’s been a while since these folks have seen any playoff action, well before their two precursors — Generic Bocce Team (who were last in the playoffs in Fall 2009) and Black Magic Crew/Campbell’s Crew (who made the playoffs only in their inaugural seasson of Fall 2008) — merged to become Generic Crew (before finally taking on the S,B,B moniker last fall).  These folks (on the heels of their nifty little 4-game winning streak to close the season) are very happy to be in the playoffs once again — with a little momentum, to boot.
  7. Ball Bustahs: Well, once again, these gals and fellahs have backed into the post-season after a final-week loss for the third straight year.  This time they needed the Bocce Babes to defeat Joey & The Pussycats (after the text-book ass-kicking the ‘Bustahs received from the Segals earlier in the night) in order to squeak in.  Can the defending champs pull a three-peat?  Doubtful, given the 2-5 skid they’ve been on after going undefeated through Week 4.  Vegas says put your money someplace else this season.
  8. Deboccery: Well, inconsistency does count for something…when you pull it together often enough to go 7-5 on the season.  So, they’re in.  But which Deboccery will show up on Wednesday?  Even if it is the good one for their opening-round game against L2R, it’s likely that they’ll just get blown out later in the night when the bad one will undoubtedly return.

Kate points toward victory -- the Swim, Bike, Bocce rookie shows her last-frame roll that gave her team a one-point win...and clinched their spot in the playoffs.

So, the play-off games will take place this coming Wednesday, June 22.  The quarter-final match-ups are:

7:00 p.m.
#3 Days of Thunder vs. #6 Swim, Bike, Bocce (Ball Bustahs)
#4 Segals vs. #5 Bocce Said She Was 18 (Deboccery)

8:00 p.m.
#1 License to Roll vs. #8 Deboccery (Swim, Bike, Bocce)
#2 Bocce Bartokomous vs. #7 Ball Bustahs (Bocce Said She Was 18)

9:00 p.m.
Semi-Finals — winners from 1st Round games
Defeated teams from 8:00 p.m. games officiating
___________________________

As for the remaing eight teams, some words of praise…and a few predictions:

  • #9 Joey & The Pussycats: So close, so close…and such fun people, to top it off.  They would have added that certain something and a stylish flare to the post-season.  Darn it!  Maybe they’ll stop by for the play-offs for a free beverage or two…to cheer on their favorites.  Next season is only a couple months away…
  • #10 Team Schweddy: These folks never hit their groove this season…perhaps it was the balancing of the new styles and personalities…or maybe Feeser just didn’t drink enough before the games.  Whatever it is, I’m sure they’ll have a good time drowning their sorrows in the off season, to emerge redeemed and refreshed for the fall.
  • #11 What Up, Biocce?: Another quality team that flailed.  But there 3-0 run to end the season (albeit against teams that finished behind them) could provide the momentum to return to their former glory next season.  Prediction: they’ll finish among the top six five teams in the fall season, ready to make a championship run.
  • #12 Bocce Babes: After a much-too-long hiatus, it was great to have the Babes gracing the Spruce Street courts with their loveliness once again.  They were much better than their 4-8 record would show.  Prediction: they’ll be in the playoffs at least once in the next two seasons they play.
  • #13 Meatballs: Another bevy of beauties (that goes for the guys, too)…one of these seasons they won’t have a night when they have a double-forfeit to muck up their chances.  Another team that is better than the standings reflect.  Prediction: See below.
  • #14 Revenge of WAH: Well…they were undefeated after Week 1…and it took them only eight more until they recorded their second win.  Tough luck…and an uncanny ability to keep it tight through the first 20 minutes or so of a match, only to give up back-to-back four-spots or the like.  But their seemingly limitless good humor make them a welcome sight any week in the NBL.  So, here’s the (stunning?) prediction: RoW are on the comeback trail…they’ll win at least five games next season…and at least one of the following teams will be in the play-offs in the fall: RoW, the Meatballs, and/or Bocce Babes.  You heard it here first.
  • #15 Cojones Loco: These might be the nicest people in the league…good spirits, all.  But they just haven’t been able to harness their Cojo-mojo.  Perhaps in the fall?  Perhaps next spring?  It’s out there somewhere, someday.  Prediction: They’ll grab their cojones and at least double their number of wins next season.
  • #16 Mumbling Skulls: These were the new-look Skulls, taking some time to find their collective vibe.  But once they did, they started to gel…with a second half of the season that was certainly better than the first.  Prediction: the Skulls will NOT finish last next season…and will actually finish no lower than 12th place.

Well, that’s the take on things for now.  And the final regular season standings for the Spring 2011 Nocabulabet Bocce League are:

NOCABULABET BOCCE LEAGUE — Spring 2011 STANDINGS (Final Regular Season)
Wins Losses Pct. PF PA Diff Pts./Game Against Game Dif.
1 License to Roll 10 2 0.833 159 121 38 13.25 10.08 3.17
2 Bocce Bartokomous 9 3 0.750 204 128 76 17.00 10.67 6.33
3 Days of Thunder 9 3 0.750 189 132 57 15.75 11.00 4.75
4 Segals 8 4 0.667 166 120 46 13.83 10.00 3.83
5 Bocce Said She Was 18 8 4 0.667 180 151 29 15.00 12.58 2.42
6 Swim, Bike, Bocce 8 4 0.667 154 155 -1 12.83 12.92 -0.08
7 Ball Bustahs 7 5 0.583 160 131 29 13.33 10.92 2.42
8 Deboccery 7 5 0.583 170 171 -1 14.17 14.25 -0.08
9 Joey & The Pussycats 6 6 0.500 163 157 6 13.58 13.08 0.50
10 Team Schweddy 6 6 0.500 159 160 -1 13.25 13.33 -0.08
11 What Up, Biocce? 5 7 0.417 158 176 -18 13.17 14.67 -1.50
12 Bocce Babes 4 8 0.333 166 177 -11 13.83 14.75 -0.92
13

Meatballs

3 9 0.250 112 179 -67 9.33 14.92 -5.58
14 Revenge of WAH 2 10 0.167 136 197 -61 11.33 16.42 -5.08
15 Cojones Loco 2 10 0.167 143 180 -37 11.92 15.00 -3.08
16 Mumbling Skulls 2 10 0.167 122 206 -84 10.17 17.17 -7.00
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