Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tri-Level Around The Corner

Tri-level is just over 2 weeks away and the teams are in place. Who will dominate and who is just showing up to play?? It is hard to make a true analysis with all the recent bump ups and bump downs. I will give my 2 cents worth and then I am sure we will hear plenty from the anons.....

Smith - has fielded 4.5s and 4.0s with solid records, but seems to be week with his 3.5s. Also only 2 players at each level so no depth and evidently not planning to go past the weekend.

BMO - seems to have a solid 4.5 team with Hawkins & Evans playing alot together. Toth has a good 4.0 record and paired with BMO should do fine, although their 3rd player Dietrich has a mixed history (based on Fall record). Their 3.5s are coming from the Fort Worth league over from Flower Mound. Kotlarek used to be an old Oak Creek boy but with a pretty mixed record. Seems their weekness could be in their 3.5s.

Bazan - seems to be a recreational team with average players across the board and no depth to take them past the weekend. Carry himself is not even on the roster.

Bender - as usual, has cherry picked top players from across the city. Has solid 4.5s and has Varner and Palacio who should do well together at 4.0. The only wild card here is his 3.5s which are coming from his 3.0 national team. Knowing Bob, they are probably 4.0 talent.

Feldman - evidently building a team to go for the gold. Has solid players across the board and depth at all levels except 4.5. They have a slew of good 4.0s...Wiley, Clark, Jones, Corcoran, and Zachary. They evidently plan to pull one of those to help out at 4.5. The 3.5s are the remains of Garland's 3.5 team. They add one more 4.5 player and this will be the team to beat.

Arcaria - appears their strenght is at 4.5 and then falls off from there. Arcaria Bennett are a good team but have stumbled in the past with Wiley/Clark and will have their hands full with Varner/Palacio. They have 4 3.5s on the roster but not sure why unless than plan to win it through them, but looking at their records they are best to avoid 3rd set tie breaks as both Toney and Kaiser have had problems converting.

Nishizaki - probably the most least talked about or recognizable names on the blog but solid player records across 4.5 and 4.0. Has picked up Bender's 3.0 crew for his 3.5 and that may be their only weakness. Sleeper team that could surprise.

Kraemer - another team with players having solid records at their level, but just lacking 4.5 depth. Appears to be another team to be their for fun given the lack of depth on their roster (as of current) however has talent that should do well. We can see how serious Kraemer is if he adds to the roster in the coming weeks. However, there are probably little players left to pull from.

My best guess depending on the draw..... Feldmans and Benders team make the finals.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cotton Bowl draws out soon

So one of our biggest local tourneys is coming up soon.

Here is the link where you can see who has signed up in each event:

I know some of joked about playing down but I do wonder why anyone would really want to "play down" I rarely play tourneys but when I do I am usually looking to play a variety of players that are on par with my ability and get progressively better as the weekend goes on. But I guess this is the last hurrah weekend to show off your old ranking so enjoy it while it lasts (Brian, Marc and Matt) I actually think these guys would have been competitive in the 4.5 draw although Miles, Kiron, Kern and others make that a pretty good local draw.

4.0 Draw: 52 players
4.5 Draw: 30
3.5 Draw: 27

I am guessing this trend will continue and 4.5 might actually get larger as the season wears on and people want some good competition. I also wonder if the 5.0 and Open draws will start to fill up as well. Open singles has 92 players in it (WOW!).

Doubles draws are very good at 4.0 and 4.5 with 16 teams involved but 3.5 is a little small and I think that will also be true for the rest of the season.

Early predictions:

3.5: Ronald Jones, Berco Neiman could win this
4.0: Fankhauser, Studey, Lucky Thunder???
4.5: Kern, Wescoup and Miles are favs

I am just ready to play and hoping for some good weather.

Monday, December 14, 2009

3.5 A Desert Wasteland

Now with the Fall playoffs behind us and Oak Creek securing a win, who is left to carry the torch for them? Oak Creek had their entire roster bumped to 4.0 except for one player, Thomas Mus. Will there be a 3.5 Oak Creek team to take the free-ride to the City Playoffs ? Based on the revised rules, a team must have 50% of their prior season roster sign up to guarantee them the City spot. If there is not enough eligible players available to field the 50%, then 70% of ELIGIBLE players need to sign up which will guarantee them a spot in the QT (not City). Based on this, Thomas Mus must be a coveted man as he is the only player that needs to be on the roster of a team, and that team will be guaranteed a spot in the Spring QT.

So who will Thomas Mus play for in the Spring, given that whatever team he plays on is guaranteed to play in the QT ?

Does anyone give a crap about 3.5 anymore given that there are few players left and most of the teams consistently making the playoffs are left with few if any players?

Will Oak Creek have a 3.5 team?

Will Fretz have a 3.5 team ?

Will Huffhines, Lifetime or Garland have a 3.5 team ?

The only team that is fully formed and has players to play would be Bender's 3.0 National team. Can he make another run at Nationals?? Does he try to recruit Mus ?? How much is he willing to pay ???

Discuss what's next for the 3.5 level (if there is any 3.5s left out there)................

Friday, December 11, 2009

DCC Underway

So much for bad weather, it is actually great tennis weekend for playoff tennis. The guy in the sky must be a fan of the USTA.

So rather than reposting any thoughts I thought I would let all three levels just post up any interesting results or thoughts on this weekend.

I wish I could make it by but I am booked up with shopping, work and watching my wife running downtown in a half marathon.

Best of luck to you all but especially those teams that can't earn the wildcard, we stay at homers are rooting for you all the most.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

4.5 Playoffs

Here are the flights and match times for the 4.5 playoffs this weekend. I will leave you guys to make the predictions.

Blue Flight

T Bar--What I believe to be the strongest roster of any of the playoff teams. I have information that says that some of their players will play 5.0 in the playoffs instead though. This makes sense because the 5.0 team only has 4 players rated 5.0 so they will have to have at least one more to even field a lineup.

High Point--Hard to imagine this team overpowering anybody, but they have solid doubles players that can compete with anybody. They will need to pull out some tiebreaks to advance. Clint is a sure win at any line I would think, so it will be interesting to see where he plays.

Northwood--This team clearly has the best captain of any teams in the playoffs. Many of the same doubles players that have anchored the team for a while now. Those players plus Andy Xu will have to carry the team for them to have a chance.

Saturday at 8 a.m.

Northwood v. High Point

Saturday at 2 p.m.

High Point v. T Bar

Sunday at 10 a.m.

T Bar v. Northwood

Red Flight

Oak Creek--Essentially the identical team that won last fall. Mark Teat and Kamran Mir are new additions that will contribute. Viktorin will have to go undefeated for them to advance, but he has carried them before and I could easily see him doing that again.

Royal Oaks--Drastically different team from last season with the losses of Joey and Andrus. I'm not sure they have found replacements good enough to advance. Spotty results this season make it difficult to tell if they were saving up for the playoffs or just weaker than expected. Rauschuber is always good for a win though.

The Lakes--Surprise team of the regular season. They were the most dominant team in the regular season but I'm not sure they have the firepower to win it. A couple of very solid doubles players but singles could be an uphill battle for them. If their opponents can strategically avoid their best doubles team, they are in trouble. Oberg and Pollock have proven themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

Saturday at 10 a.m.

Royal Oaks v. Oak Creek

Saturday at 4 p.m.

Oak Creek v. The Lakes

Sunday at 10 a.m.

The Lakes v. Royal Oaks

Finals are on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Good luck to all.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

4.0 Playoffs One Week Away (Cotton Bowl deadline Dec. 14th)

If we had TV Ratings for league tennis the news this week would have further diminished the buzz for this weekend with no Bob and no Eddie already.

I will attempt to create some excitement on what might go down this weekend. The bottom line is 3 of the 8 teams have no chance of retaining 70% of their players and earning a wild card including the two big favorites (OC and Garland).

Red Flight Breakdown:

Lakes (25 to 1)
This is a good team but they are in a flight with two great teams. Fankhauser is undefeated this season and gone to 4.5 but not sure he will remain undefeated and that will be the difference in some close losses for this team. Now if Fankhauser turns it up and wins then their fortunes may change. Fix, Richardson, Balan and Sinclair can scratch out some wins as well so this team is a dangerous underdog.

Brookhaven/Burt (20 to 1)
I think Burt put it best when he told me about this team, they would do well in the regular season but when they played the 4.5'ers in the playoffs they would struggle. Luckily he has a couple of his own in Ludwig, Rivera and Stein. These three are very tough but they will need to go undefeated against some stiff competition this weekend because there is a drop off in talent level after that although Burt and John played pretty well last time I saw them (and lost to them). I think I would have liked this team in the other flight to contend but they just don't quite stack up against OC and Garland.

OC (Pick'em) and Garland (Pick'em)
I have stared at these names for a while now and I don't see any huge difference and really it will depend on John and Don to set the lineups right to earn a close win and they play each other on opening night (BRRRRR) so this flight may be decided early. I like OC doubles a little more but I have not seen Tran or Guzman play so not sure they can overtake any of the Garland singles players. If I was forced to pick, I would go for OC 10-8 in the 3rd set TB.

Blue Flight Breakdown
Three of the four teams here actually have a shot at the wild card as they return the bulk of their players although that kind of speaks to why Greenhill has to be the favorite here.

Village (30 to 1)
With only Fred Givhan as a big gun here and bump to 4.5 I think it will be hard for them to scratch out wins here, although I did learn the hard way you have to bring your best against this team but I just don't like their doubles matchups in this flight.

JCC (10 to 1)
I like this team but not enough to put them at the top. I think Lieberman, Drazner and Elovitz will have to play every match and win all their matches to get them in the mix and that is tough to ask for anyone. I think their lack of depth will hurt them since their doubles drops off after line 1 and in the playoffs you need to have a chance to win all 5 lines.

Brookhaven/Brad (5 to 1)
I am not sure what to think about this team but Chris Ellis has changed their chances for fair to strong. If he and Don Buford can play strong along with Helterbrann/Mattes this team will be tough to beat all weekend long. Moore/Smith had a strong run this season and with depth like that I think this team might just be the favorite in this flight.

Greenhill (2 to 1)
So close to being eligible to return as a wild card but not quite but on paper they should be a favorite in this flight. They have not been dominate but vets like Russouw, Odell, Wildberger, Sweeney, Carlquist and Nguyen they might just be too tough at doubles. The trick for this team is singles. Oleg and Chris Bergeron will need to step up and win some matches or they may not make it out of flight play.

Finals: OC wins 4-1 over Greenhill

Tourney note: The registration deadline for the 200 pt. Cotton Bowl is coming up on December 14th. I have cleared my schedule and I will see you all there.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

End of Year Ratings

OK. No more posts in the 4.0 playoff thread about End-of-Year Ratings or my Captaining Philosophies.

The USTA dramatically changed the landscape of USTA leagues going into the spring season by moving up a large percentage of 3.5 and 4.0 players. Who does this help? Who does it hurt?

Who are the top 10 4.0s that didn't get moved up? Top ten 3.5s? What players got moved up that shouldn't have (seems like a long list)?

Also, how do players get moved down a level without playing a single match (i.e. Matt McCord)?

Start the discussion. BTW, I fully expect the first post to be about 4.0 playoffs.