The tournament is upon us and here are some of the most eagerly anticipated matchups. (Round 2 are projected games)
(20) Los Matadores vs. (13) Merchants
Los Matadores played in this game last year as the 13 seed and were upset by the Rats, which started Santos & Co. on their path to the Princess Di plate. The tables are turned this year as they enter this matchup as the underdog to the surprising Merchants of Death. Merchants has turned in a very solid 7-3 campaign and finished second in the #3 pool with their only loss coming at the hands of Chalmersiz. They are looking to make some noise in the Awesome Bracket and enter as one of the hottest teams in the league as winners of seven of their past eight. Winner has a tough matchup against Ch. 6, while the loser has to be a favorite for the Princess Di plate.
Merchants – 7
Los Mats – 5
(18) Corksuckers vs. (15) Das Boot
Both teams finished the season 6-4, but they’ve been good lately and that’s what matters. Das Boot is on a three game winning streak, having allowed one (yes, one) run in that span. That’s some championship caliber defense, I don’t care who you’re facing. Corksuckers have won five of their past six, with their only loss coming by a single run to Pawsh Wash in week six, so their about as hot as a team can be entering the tourney. Expect this to be a clash of Cork’s offense vs. Boot’s defense, and in the playoffs I’ll take defense every time.
Das Boot – 6
Corksuckers – 4
(19) Ghosts vs. (14) Rockets
These teams are both on a skid entering the playoffs, each of them going 0-5 in rank play. The good news is one of them will get their mojo back by winning this game, the bad news is they would turn around and immediately have to play two time defending champs Happy Shirt. Regardless, a finish in top half of the league would be a huge step forward for the Ghosts, and if they do fall to the Rockets then they’re very strong contenders for the Princess Di plate. The Rockets made a Final Four run last year as the 11 seed, so an upset or two isn’t out of the realm, but they need to regain their early season form. This is a rematch of a week 2 game that Rockets took 9-1.
Rockets – 7
Ghosts – 3
(9) Red Lyon vs. (8) Free State
When these two teams played in week 5 it was one of the most contentious games of the season that ultimately ended with Free State on top 11-5. That was the last time The Growlers won a game, finishing 0-5 in the #1 pool despite a few close losses (by one to both Ch. 6 & Wildman). Red Lyon on the other hand went 3-2 in the #2 pool and got their signature win of the season just last week against Red Legs. Neither of these teams is shy about drinking during games, and remember this will be the second game of the day for both, so brace yourselves, its gonna get intense (Sorry in advance refs!) Winner will probably take on KTC, while the loser has to feel good about winning the Twain Bust.
Free State -10
Red Lyon – 9
(11) Chalmersiz vs. (6) Red Legs
Probably the game of the day, Chalmersiz has been a sleeping giant in the #3 pool, just grinding out wins and somewhat staying off everyone’s radar, but certainly lurking. Their win against Muddy Waters just looks better and better every week, especially now that Muddy clinched the #2 overall seed. Red Legs have to be happy with a #6 seed in their first season in the league, but Findley and crew want a rematch with Happy Shirt and they’re going to need to go through Chalmersiz to do it. Total coin flip game, but I’m going to to with the team that has been challenged week in and week out for the past five weeks. Loser is the prohibitive favorite for the Twain Bust.
Red Legs – 6
Chalmersiz – 5
(12) D-Holes vs. (5) Wildman
D-Holes have proven they can beat teams they are even with athletically, it’s when they matchup with the truly superior athletes in the league (Red Legs, Channel 6, Love Garden) that they have some trouble. Wildman is certainly one of the more athletic teams in the league, and that combined with their veteran savvy ought to help them advance to the second weekend despite an untimely injury to CJ. This just shows the incredible depth of the league, that Wildman, who has a respectable 7-3 record, fell all the way to a #5 seed.
Wildman – 11
D-Holes – 5
A few more predictions:
The Eight Champion – Nick Lerner’s Homies
The Plate Champion – Corksuckers
The Twain Champion – Chalmersiz
The Cup Champion – Channel 6 (This was my preseason prediction and I’m sticking with it)