First Round Playoffs Preview
By Mike Begley
We have arrived at the moment where legends are made and champions are crowned. The regular season was but a means to select the eight chosen ones to represent the World and USA conference in a battle to the end. The only thing I know is that I do not know anything. Socrates said that, so maybe I know a little bit more than him when I assure you the Cincinnati Hitmen will not be the WBA champions. Other than that this trophy is up in the air!
Albacete has the burning desire, the Giants are on a relentless path, Paris bees buzz tall around the Eifel as the defending champions, California will show no mercy, Boston vows to prove they belong with the best, and the Rage, we all know they have at least one veteran trick up their sleeve.
It will be a brawl for the ages because no one knows what is going to happen until the final buzzer. One team will remain, who that will be, well here is a preview.
#1 Albacete Burning Hell vs #8 Mexico City Hellcats
This series is WBA All Star Game MVP, 1st team All-WBA, future Hall of Famer Jeremy Sims vs the greatest team in Albacete history. The Burning Hell had a Hell of a season yet did not garner much accolades at end of season instead receiving bad news that Ryan Rogers is unhappy and demanding a trade. Rogers was only playing 22 minutes per game so whether or not he plays well may not be an issue until Albacete reaches the Conference Finals. Here, the Hellcats porous defense, bottom 7 in defensive efficiency will not be an obstacle for Albacete.
Prediction: Albacete in 4
#4 Shanghai Pandas vs #5 Barcelona Counts
By an odd formula the Shanghai Pandas somehow have the better overall seed than Barcelona despite earning 9 less wins in the regular season. As such, we have a very even matchup. The Counts are by far the more explosive team by a mile. However, the Pandas are constructed like an actual traditional basketball team. We will see a contrast of styles, and when the dust settles I don’t think the Pandas defense will be able to vanquish these Counts arsenal. These are old school Counts on steroids. Heck maybe Barcelona even make it to the Conference Finals!
Prediction: Counts in 6
#2 Gabon Giants vs #7 Moscow Snow Bears
Hats off to Simon Drapeu for intricately constructing this dominant team which is top three in both Offensive and Defensive efficiency. Speaking of efficient play Artie Duggons may be the most efficient scorer we have ever witnessed scoring 24 points on 14 field goal attempts! Houdini himself could not pull off such a feat. On the other side we have the most enigmatic team in the league. No one knows what in the world is going on in Moscow though we are hearing from Joe Biden that a win in Gabon could be imminent. Moscow has the firepower to surprise in more ways than one. They don’t need rules, it’s a simple game. Score more than the opponent. Hand the ball to Chris Acklin and get out of the way.
Prediction: Gabon in 6
#3 Paris Honey Bees vs #6 Frankfurt Fury
This will probably be the most exciting series as both teams love to score. It will be beautiful to watch 250+ points coming off amazing passes. The difference is the Honey Bees are also in the top 4 in defensive efficiency while the Fury rank in the bottom 6. What this means is the Fury will have a tougher time scoring as many points as the Bees. The key matchup will be All-Star Fola Onibiyo vs All Defensive 1st team Marcus Rogers. It will be fun to watch but it should not be close.
Prediction: Paris in 5
#1 California Fighting Cocks vs #8 Seoul Dragons
The Fighting Cocks are no Chanticleers and will do away with the injury riddled Dragons who barely snuck into the playoffs. With ease and without mercy to be precise. Hassan Watt will dominate whichever bum the Dragons put on him. I am no expert in brooms but this will be a clean sweep.
Prediction: California in 4
#4 Colorado Pioneers vs #5 Las Vegas Gamblers
Damn this would have been a hell of a series if not for Darond Lyons suffering from Plantar Fasciitis. Can Divine Devine overcome Defensive Player of the year Clement Trentesols? I would not bet on it.
Prediction: Gamblers in 5
#2 Boston Massacre vs #7 Cincinnati Hitmen
The Massacre are a well constructed, balanced, deep team, while the Hitmen are lucky to be in the playoffs with a losing record. Both teams are healthy so this means a clean Massacre of the Hitmen. Bit ironic, Alanis Morissette, don’t you say?
Prediction: Boston in 4
#3 Brooklyn Rage vs #6 New York Firestorm
Brooklyn is healthy and last I checked Mario Bailey and Jarius Miles are still elite. The Firestorm have a plethora of offensive weapons but Brooklyn won 17 more games in the regular season due to a top 5 defense. So offensively Brooklyn can ride their stars while slowing down this storm to a mere trickle. I don’t think this battle for New York will be close as Brooklyn’s championship experience will shine brighter from across the bridge.
Prediction: Brooklyn in 5