Monday, August 29, 2016

The Way Too Early Fall Playoff Predictions

Since the rodent that picks winners based on uniform colors was unavailable we've brought in an expert.

Ok, ok, one of those animals that picks Super Bowl winners could probably make more sense of these fall teams than I can, but the fall has been flighted so here’s my first impressions.  Welcome to the way too early look at 4.5 and 4.0 flights.
4.5 flight A - call me a sucker but I never really see a reason to start with anyone other than Greenhill/Rossouw in this flight.  Yes, he has 20 guys already and may break an all time roster record this fall but it's still the favorite.  The fight for what I guess will be the second playoff spot is much more interesting.  Village/Valentin, Lakes/Way, Oak Creek/Pribadi and Gleneagles/Juhn all have playoff experience making this a tough one to call.  Looks like this could be a rough 4.5 fall flight.  And hard to say GH was getting a pass to the playoffs this time.

4.5 flight B - as with flight A, I see no reason not to start with JCC/Reiman here.  But unlike flight A, Brookhaven/Harllee looks like the clear favorite to take the other spot.  Not nearly as much depth in this flight but with JCC and BH in this flight together it would be hard to say DTA got this wrong.  These flights look pretty evenly spread out, at least at the top. 

4.0 flight A – based on reputation this should be the most competitive flight.  You have Dallas spring champion Garland/Sisk, and three regular playoff contenders in Brookhaven/Bartlett, Greenhill/Ohl and Oak Creek/Rich.  I also think the Canyon Creek/Nolen has a pretty good top eight but they struggle when the rest play.  This flight has enough good teams that it might come down to availability but let’s start with GTC and Brookhaven.

4.0 flight B – don’t really mean to rub it in but since McKinney/Kanchi still hasn't won a flight, city playoffs or sectionals yet, they've got to win the fall don't they?  Vying for second in this flight and a likely playoff berth will be Huffhines/Ratcliffe and a whole lot of not much else.

4.0 flght C – this looks like Huffhines/Jayaram and Oak Creek/Iyer again.  And not a whole lot to challenge them.  At least flight A will be fun to watch.

Looks like it's just a bad year to be in flight A - any flight A.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Combo Wrap Up - Mixed Preview


Cancelled?  Postponed?  Lots of complaining? Then, yes, postponed.
I played today and plan to play tomorrow.  Sorry you combo folks didn't.

8.0 18 MIXED

I hear there is a city playoff in six days but no one seems to have a schedule yet.  At least I haven't found one.  Can anyone else provide some insight?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Combo Preview

Image result for combo
So, the next big event is 8.5 combo.  Impressively, this has 10 teams for 2016 so I’m assuming they will have two flights of five each.  That’s a minimum of four matches each, which makes playing worthwhile whether you win or lose.  Since we know the DTA professes not to read this blog, I hope they won’t mind if I take a shot at seeding the flights.  My flighting assumes all captain were playing their six best players (and the captains know who those six are).  And now, the players:
Flight One
Team Sisk: on the 4.5 line he has Kelly, Vassberg, Le, Pollard and Davidson; with the 4.0 line being manned by Blumberg, Abbruzzese, Luh, Pearson, Nguyen and Russell.  That’s a wide range of talent at each level but I see three potential lines that have the ability to beat anyone else playing.  Not a given, but I’d make this team the favorite.
Team Bearden: on the 4.5s he has Baishya, Traylor, Bearden, Robinson and Todd; with Covell, Zambrana, Sweeney, Barr and Kemp as 4.0s.   
Team McHugh: Kirkpatrick, Soda, Wildeberger and Powell at 4.5; with Ragle, Patterson, Rainwater, Sampson and Dawson at 4.0.  
Team Arcaria: Arcaria, Glasgow, Mudsam and Gerber at 4.5; with Shahab, Teterud, Bennett and Smith at 4.0.
Team Mills/Kanchi: the 4.5s are Fess, Coffman and Thrailkill; with Salinas, Fenter, Mills and Thakkar at 4.0.  It takes two captains to manage seven players in a six person event?
Flight Two
Team Kingsley: the 4.5s will be Kingsley, Hill, Lafavre, Shreiner and Foster; with Kingsley (son) Rodriguez, Kingery and Hanna at 4.0.  Some good players here.   This team should challenge.
Team Kanchi: the 4.5 line has Vatum (that name sounds familiar), Benjamin, Foster and Bage; with Kanchi, Rivera, Valaparta, Kommineni, Agarwal and Mickey at 4.0.   
Team Myers: Bhate, Barta, Bomar and Rossouw as 4.5s; with Andrulis, Offenberger, Dendy and LaMoy as 4.0s.
Team Entrekin: on the 4.5 line he has Herndon, Agan, Holcomb, Spellman, Alexander and Theimer; with the 4.0 line Hendrick, Entrekin, Scott, Browning, Graham and Jeffcoat.
Team Iyer: the 4.5s are Iyer, Jett, Rodriguez and Neff; with 4.0s consisting of Rajani, Ramasami, Dewan and Delgadillo.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

It is a Wrap for 4.0+

The Big Boy Sectionals is in the books.  While most of Dallas is disappointed with greater aspirations than a sectionals weekend away in... Dallas, we actually had a team advance to Nationals.  T-Bar Bartzen advanced to the big dance with the big boys.  Since they are the only team to live up to the lofty Dallas expectations, I will start with them.

5.0+ T-Bar-Bartzen defeated Dallas-West (aka Fort Worth) 2-1.  They won two third set tiebreaks at line 1S and 1D with line 2D about to head into a Tiebreak.  It doesn't get much tighter.  Both lines dropped their first set but rallied to win.  Bartzen has been a force at 5.0 for a long time and it is good to see him advance.  This team has several players that were national runner-ups a few years ago.  They even have a 6.0 on the roster.

4.5 This level turned out unexpected.  The presumptive heavy favorite, SETX, defeated Rossouw and troops 3-2.  SETX won a tight 3rd set breaker at 3 Doubles.  I know Marc felt pretty good when he swept singles as everything was close.  Greenhill gave all they had but ran into a 4.5 team with a strong flavor of Division 1.  SETX went ahead to advance to the Semis.

Reiman's JCC Wild Dallas team did advance to the final.  In the semis, they defeated usually mighty Houston to face Austin who just took down the mighty SETX/Lamar U team.  While they had a good run, it was not meant to be and the Austin team that defeated Lamar U was a little too much.  Austin's Line 1&2 Dubs dominated some very good Dallas players.  Reiman's 1 singles lost a third set breaker and Austin wins with a 3-2.

I am definitely pulling for Texas to win but I will not wear a Keep Austin Weird shirt in support.

4.0 This was suppose to belong to our city.  After hearing about how great we were, I was sure Dallas would represent here.  First, Wild Dallas rolled through their flight dropping only 110 games when the second closest team at sectionals dropped 143 games in flight.  Wild Dallas draws usually good but not great Austin.  Things looked good when Line 1 Singles and 3 Doubles won easily.  Up 2-0, things looked like the finals were an inevitability.  Unfortunately, we need 3 lines to win.  Austin flipped their singles line to avoid Rivera and he pulled off an upset over the Futures Playing 4.0 and self professed former Indian top 45 player, Valaparia.  Still, Wild Dallas had their 3.5 ringer who had been laying waste to the field.  He made a lineup change and they lost in 3 sets.  His other players that had been dominating got upset also.  I sincerely believe they were 1 tiebreak away from nationals.

Sisk's Dallas team started with the usual pushover from Houston (aka NOHO).  Yet, NOHO surprised them with a 4-1 upset.  This was an ominous warning as NOHO went on to win this flight.  In hindsight, this should have served notice that this perennial sectionals participants but usual non-factors were there to play.  This was the toughest flight by far!  There was Dallas and Wild Houston and NOHO wins this flight while dropping the second fewest games in flight.  In the semis, the after-thought NOHO defeats Wild Austin needing a third set breaker at line three to emerge.  NOHO then defeats Austin 3-2 with another third set breaker at 3 doubles.

Congratulations to NOHO.  Represent at Nationals!

Good Luck to all Texas Teams.  As we all know, Texas typically fares well at Nationals and I don't expect any less this year.  I think Austin 4.5 has the best chance to bring home a title but I will be pulling for them all across the board.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sectionals Preview - 4.0 & 4.5

 I’ve been on the road traveling this week and really pressed for time.  Not an excuse, just a fact.  As such, this is going to be a little on the short but sweet side.  Let’s start with 4.0 for a change.  This could be the most interesting (or least interesting) year in 4.0 in years because anyone who’s anyone knew going in that Freeman was taking the year off.  Listen up to the rest, this was your shot to make Nationals in a watered down year.

In Flight 1 we have Wild Houston, Valley, Dallas, Amarillo and NOHO.  This is an interesting flight, with the possibility of a one loss team advancing.  I don’t have the skinny on Valley or Amarillo.  Both could be cream puffs but Valley usually represents pretty well.  Although Sisk did a nice job with a team short on top end talent this year, I think his season ends on Saturday.  Spearman knows what he’s doing in NOHO but he seems to do better with players of an older vintage.   I’m going with Wild Houston to advance in this flight.

In Flight 2 we have Wild Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Waco and SETX.  We could do a lot of analysis, rant about SETX, but this is Waco’s to lose.  Sanders knew Freeman was out and decided to make another move.  Until last year, Sanders was the last guy to captain Texas to a 4.0 national title so he knows something about how this is done.

In Flight 3 we have Houston (lite), Wild San Antonio, Wild Dallas, Lubbock and Corpus Christi.  Am I the only person who remembers a few years ago when Lubbock rolled in for 4.0 sectionals and crushed people?  They went 8-0-2 (retires) on Sunday.  OK, fine, not the same guys, but it can happen.  Anyway, I’ll take Kanchi & Co out of this flight.

In Flight 4 we have Austin, Wild Fort Worth, NETX, San Angelo and Wichita Falls.  I’ll confess, I’ve done no research on these guys.  Other than WFW it’s too hard to find good comparisons.  Wichita Falls did jump up and take 8.5 combo sectionals recently but it only take two good 4.0s to do that, not six or eight.  I’ll take Austin by default.

Let’s cut to the chase.  It’s a matchup of Wild Dallas and Waco, with Wild Houston as the dark horse.  After everything that's happened this season, I'll take Kanchi (led by Rivera and his 3.5s) to win 4.0.

I know this will irritate a lot of people but if they all show up I'll take SETX in 4.5...period.  I do think there is chance that JCC could make Sunday but that's no lock either.  After looking closer at JCC's lineup against Greenhill at cities I have to think that Reiman could have taken a doubles line if he had wanted it.