by Timmy Frenchy
All series went as expected except for one. What a surprising upset in Italy…
Capetown Zulus vs Barcelona Counts
(Capetown won season series 2-1)
The Counts took care of business in the first round handling the Mexico City Hellcats in 5 games. As we have seen regularly during the regular season, Ira Redwine and Primo Bugeja carried much of the scoring load scoring a combined 48 points per game, representing more than 40% of team’s total scoring. Although they have shown in the first round that regular season wasn’t a fluke for this unproven team, a real test awaits them in the second round.
The Zulus quickly swept the Giants in the first round thanks in large part to 36 points per game from their superstar Abdiel Gordon. After 2 well-fought games in Capetown, the Zulus completely took control of the rest of the series by winning in Gabon by an average of 20 points per game.
Although the Counts have homecourt advantage in this one, I think the Zulus are the favorite to come out winner of this series. Barcelona has just won their first playoffs series in 5 years and they almost feel like they won a championship already. Capetown just won his 7th playoffs series during that same timespan. Experience matters at this point.
Prediction: Capetown over Barcelona in 6
London Disco vs Cancun Outlaws
(Cancun won season series 2-1)
Cancun’s trademark (it’s defense in case you were unaware of) was well in display in the first round. They allowed less than 75 points to the Paris Predators in their 4 wins. While most of the other dominant squads show off their offensive skills in high scoring contest, the Outlaws focus on shutting down their opponents with hardnosed defense. All the top scorers from the Predators suffered a significant decrease from their regular season average; Claude Weidner (-2pts per game), Rambuka (-3pts per game), Timmons (-3 points), Faup (-3 points). Easy picnic for the Outlaws to begin their quest that will lead them to the WBA Finals.
Unexpected was that Disco’s performance in the opening round. They stole game 2 in Milan and came right back with a win in game 3 to take control of the series. The Mayhem are a proud team and won the next 2 games while capturing game 5 by 29 points. Everything seemed back to normal and even almost over at that point, but the surprising London Disco wouldn’t surrender that easily and won game 6 by 25 points! Talking about going back and forth. Then the upset happened. The Disco arrived in Milan for game 7, where the Mayhem has lost only 7 games there all season long, and London won the game. Although it’s an impressive accomplishment for the Disco (congratulations Ryan Whitaker), this season ends abruptly and painfully for the Mayhem (Sorry Michael Esposito).
General manager Pat Fullum was caught watching game 7 of the London/Milan series in a restaurant, cheering at the end as the Disco won the game. He knows facing the fast pace offense of Milan would have been more difficult. The Disco have a good team, but less offensive weapons to worry about. Look for the Outlaws to shut down Parks, Bixby and Crowley (or at least slow them down) and end this quickly.
Prediction: Cancun over London in 5 games
A lot like the world conference, the better teams get to advance into the next round for the USA Conference, as almost all series ended up quickly.
Colorado Pioneers vs Brooklyn Rage
(Brooklyn won season series 3-0)
It was just a warmup for Bailey & Co in the first round as they dismantled the Las Vegas Gamblers in 5 games, while outscoring them by an average of 29 points in those 4 wins. There is not much explanation regarding the aberration that is the loss they suffer in game 4 in Las Vegas, but they are rumors the Omar Jefferson and Chad Archer were partying late the night before.
A lot of people had predicted that Colorado would win over Boston in the first round, but no one thought that this series will be a one-sided affair. The Pioneers seemed to have crushed the Massacre confidence right from the get-go, holding them to 64 points in the first game. That is the 2nd all-time best for points allowed against any opponent for Colorado. With all the momentum going in favor of Colorado, Boston was never able to recover from that furious start.
The fun ride stops her for the Pioneers. Regular season matchups between these two teams show that the Pioneers don’t have all the necessary tools to compete with the Rage. Marc Hameleers’ bunch might win a game if some of the Rage players decide to go out on a late-night celebration. But there is no strip in Colorado.
Prediction: Brooklyn over Colorado in 5
Kansas City Wild vs California Fighting Cocks
(season series split 2-2)
Facing a not-so-dangerous foe in the Arizona Dragons, the Fighting took things seriously no matter what and they did it in impressive fashion. They did not give any hope to their opponents, annihilating them by an average of more than 32 points per game. When 4 of your starters (Morrell, Watt, Stein and Beck) are averaging a combined 93 points per game, your confidence is sky-high, and you think you are ready to face anyone in this league. They even had the opportunity to get some rest while their next opponent was still battling his way to the second round.
The Kansas City Wild (and not the Omaha Wild as mentioned in the previous predictions article…that was 4 seasons ago…) came back from a 2-1 deficit against the New York Liberty and close out the series by winning the last 3 games. The Wild did not panic after losing two close games and game back with a collective effort from their starters. This is a well-rounded group that has gain momentum from the first-round victory.
Very interesting series in perspective. Two teams with so many weapons, offensively and defensively, and no apparent weakness. Who gets a shot at the defending champs in the Conference Finals? Very hard to predict. I am going with the home team in game 7.
Prediction: California over Kansas City in 7