The regular season concluded in style and the playoffs are set to begin this coming weekend. Here is a preview of the FM Home Loans IBL Playoffs.
Tier I: FM Home Loans Championship Trophy
(1) KHK/SZG Investments – the men from Grus finish the regular season at 6-1 and earn the #1 overall seed through a tiebreaker (aggregate record of opponents defeated). They are coming off an impressive finale in which they beat #3 seed B-Woods, 52-43. They’ll take on the winner of Gold Seals/KMK. They defeated Gold Seals by a mere five points previously and didn’t match up with KMK in the regular season.
(2) B-Woods – the guys from Los Angeles couldn’t finish their quest for an undefeated season, but perhaps it will allow them to refocus properly for the postseason. B-Woods will face the Lobos/All-American Poly winner, each of whom they defeated in the regular season.
(3) Tommy’s Midrash Ballers – the ballers finished off the season in style, defeating Symphony Care Network in a 48-42 close call. They enter the playoffs on a three-game winning streak. They await the winner of the Papa’s Fried Potatoes vs. Ashreinu Holy Bagel 1st round matchup.
(4) Yeshiva League Pass – YL Pass is reeling a bit entering the postseason, so perhaps a two-week bye will do them good as they wait for a winner to emerge in the matchup between Project Tzitis and Kol Hanearim. They have yet to meet up with either team.
Tier I 1st round matchups:
(5) Project Tzitzis vs (12) Kol Hanearim
This rematch will be just one week after Project Tzitzis ended Kol Hanearim’s winning streak with a 50-35 victory. These two teams play very contrasting styles, with Kol Hanearim looking to push with every opportunity and Project Tzitzis preferring to walk the ball up the floor most of the time and executing in the halfcourt.
(6) Papa’s Fried Potatoes vs (11) Ashreinu Holy Bagel
Another rematch from the last week of the regular season, this one also won by the higher seed, with Papa’s pulling out a seven-point win this past week. Ashreinu had been playing great ball down the stretch, so they will hope to regroup and recapture some of that magic to have a chance at pulling off the upset.
(7) Lobos vs (10) All American Poly
All American Poly won the first iteration of this matchup, which was this past week’s FM Home Loans Game of the Week, by a final score of 51-36. So, the Lobos will be out for revenge. We’ve said all year that AAP was better than its record, so it would be wise to ignore the seed differential in this battle.
(8) Gold Seals vs (9) KMK
These teams did not match up in the regular season and each finished with a 4-3 record. KMK plays a high-intensity, high-pressure defense, and it should be an excellent battle against Gold Seals’ methodical, ball-moving offense.
Tier II: AFI Gold Cup
Bye: (1) Kol Hanearim – the young men from Yeshivat Hakotel miss out on Tier I by virtue of tiebreakers, though they earn the lone Tier II bye. They await the winner of the Loketch Group/The Chaburah matchup.
Tier II first-round matchups
(4) The Loketch Group vs (5) The Chaburah
The Chaburah won the regular-season matchup in a defensive struggle by a score of 24-21, so the Loketch Group will be out for retribution.
(3) Symphony Care Network (6) Team Piaseczna
Symphony Care Network looked really stout in nearly upsetting Tommy’s Midrash Ballers in the final week of the regular season. Piasecna has really struggled down the stretch.
(2) Zalman’s Hot Dawgz (7) Nesiv HaTorah
Zalman’s won the first game between these teams just a few weeks ago by a score of 61-43. Nesiv HaTorah looks to snap out of their five-game losing streak.