30 September 2011
It's that time of the season: the qualifying round is over and the top 32 teams face off for B3 glory. At this level of competition, it is very hard to say that there were any huge upsets. Everyone is so strong that almost every game can go either way. Still, even if nothing amazing happened, we had some surprises worth talking about.
1. Omigod, Broken Roses just gave a real scare to Venomous Scorpions.
I came into this round thinking: Broken Roses will play this game with a "happy to be here" attitude and just bow out. Nothing could have been farther than the truth. Broken Roses had the lead for large stretches of the game until well into the third quarter. At that point, VS went on a crazy run, and you never saw them again.
People will debate (in fact, they already have!) what might have been had Broken Roses not played a 2-3 defense. I think the 2-3 kept them in the game. Yes, it made Martin Medrano look like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, but without it Broken Roses wouldn't have rebounded nearly as well.
2. Higher Salaries Doesn't Mean All That Much.
I posted some striking data on the global forum: of the 16 games, the higher salary team won only 9 of them. In some cases, the underdog wasn't an underdog by all that much. For example, my team (the Lake Merritt Arrows) was a 250k underdog, but my opponent had just bought an injured center with a very large salary. So in fact we were only a 50k underdog.
Still, there were some serious salary upsets---biggest of all was Plastika's defeat of Yuen Long Archon. Yuen Long Archon used a budget of 1 million dollars to create a team with one monster center, several offensive power-forwards and four expensive guards. Not enough!
3. Massendefekt didn't play 2-3!
Massendefekt is famous for playing surprisingly effective 2-3 zones (maybe the only one in BB who can claim that?). They still defeated WKS Lakers--the highest ranked of the three polish teams in the competition--on the heels of an amazing performance by Patrick Dachsbau (a possible nominee for the B3 MVP of the week? Check out the next installment in this B3 series!).
4. WA IS A DUMP was eliminated by Hard Work
Probably the biggest upset of the round. WA IS A DUMP had looked extremely strong during the first eight matches of B3. They cruised to an easy 8-0 record with amazing PD, beating Silverbacks at home along the way (a feat which has been hard for us, American teams, to replicate).
Yet, in this game, their coach just didn't trust the bench, overplayed the starters (Ropela, Vea and da Silva total 240k of salary and they played a combined 11 minutes!), and ended up with a predictable fourth quarter collapse.
Their collapse, assuming that it was due to the poor minutes distribution, raises interesting tactical question: can BB managers simultaneously ensure that the starters play enough and that they do not tire out too much? We've been asking this for the longest time, and only a few managers are really good at it (I'm not, alas!).
5. Silverbacks goes inside (and loses to Thrylos BC).
Well, I was surprised to see Silverbacks go inside, and I was surprised to see them lose. They have dominated the NBBA with a great motion offense. Their manager, SM, had rightly guessed that a 3-2 was coming and decided to work around it by attacking the inside. It didn't really work.
Would they have been better off trying to shoot over Thrylos's 3-2 defense? They had just made a big splash on the market by buying a phenomenal outside shooter in Gincbergas. We will really never know!
In the next post, we'll talk about B3 MVPs. Isn't it surprising that there isn't a B3 MVP? How is assigning a MVP trophy to B3ers different than assigning it in a league?