The Hemcher Cup XXIII – Preview Guide
“Good Will Cupping”
“….. Are we gonna have a problem here?
“No, no, no, no! There’s no problem here. I was just hoping you might give me some insight into the theory of picking anyone in the 1st round that isn’t on a #1 or #2 seed. My contention is that prior to the Draft, the pool of players, especially in the lower seeds, could be most aptly described as wishful thinking, or long shots.”
“Of course that’s your contention. You probably won your office NCAA bracket pool last year by just picking the higher seeds and so you think winning an NCAA tournament player pool is just as easy, you just got finished reading some USA Today Preview Guide, Jeff Sagarin, probably. You’re gonna be convinced of that ’till tonight when you watch the College Game Day guys. Then you’re going to be talking about how teams like Iowa State and Maryland can go to the final four so you should probably grab their top scorer. That’s gonna last until tomorrow night; you’re gonna be in here regurgitating Dick Vitale, talkin’ about, you know, having a #3 seed as your dark horse, as well as the Kentucky and Duke pre-tournament utopia and the championship-forming effects of Calipari and Krzyzewski.”
“Well, as a matter of fact, I won’t, because Vitale drastically underestimates the impact of…”
“Vitale drastically underestimates the impact of anyone that isn’t chalk, predicated upon being a front runner, especially Duke. You got that from Lunardi right, ‘Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook‘ page 98, right? Yeah, I read that too. I found a copy of it in Team Tonsmeire’s bathroom. Were you gonna plagiarize the whole thing for us? Do you have any thoughts of your own on this matter? Or do you, is that your thing, you come into a bar, read some obscure passage from a guy who macramae’s his own jean shorts and then pretend – you pawn it off as your own, as your own idea just to impress some girls, embarrass my friend?
“See, the sad thing about a guy like you is, in three weeks when you don’t win the cup, you’re gonna start doin’ some thinkin’ on your own and you’re going to come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life: one, don’t do that, and two, you dropped $17.50 on a fuckin’ crappy preview guide that you could have got for free by signing up for the Official Hemcher Cup Preview Guide Mailing list.
“Yeah, but I will have a lifetime subscription to Joe Lunardi’s Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook. And you’ll still be writing this stupid preview guide that nobody ever reads.”
“That may be, but at least I won’t be listening to Coldplay. But I mean, if you have a problem with that, I mean, we could just step outside – we could figure it out. ”
“No, man, there’s no problem. It’s cool.”
With that weak attempt at entertainment behind us (you try keeping this thing fresh after all these years), onto the projections:
6th Place: Team Lampazzi 420pts
Last Championship 2014
Team Lampazzi’s championship drought stood at 13 years heading into last year’s cup. It was getting so bad that Lionel Ritchie and the ghost of Michael Jackson were actively trying to put together a “We are the World” type effort to raise funds to help this beleaguered franchise.
Luckily for the recording industry, however, Team Lampazzi finally broke through and won his 3rd championship. His first title came in 1993, the second in 2000 and now the third in 2014. Looking at that pattern, we don’t expect Team Lampazzi to win again until somewhere around the year 2042 based on the fact that the years between championships appear to be doubling.
Knowing that it will likely be many years before he wins again, Team Lampazzi has been making the most of his victory as demonstrated by his annoying habit of using the signature “Your Reigning Hemcher Cup Champion” on his league wide e-mails. We get it dick, you won. The expression “act like you’ve been there before” is certainly lost on Team Lampazzi.
5th Place: Team Zucker 423pts
Last Championship 2008
Over the last five years, Team Zucker has the lowest average points scored at 407 and the worst draft to finish gap of any franchise. His average drafting position is 2.8 with an average finishing position of 5.4. Beginning with 2010, the annual finish for Team Zucker during this five year stretch is: 6th, 5th, 5th, 6th, and 5th. I don’t think you need to be an NSA code breaker to see the obvious pattern that will put him in 5th place yet again this year.
Team Zucker tends to be a bit of a wildcard with the players he chooses but last year definitely had us scratching our heads a bit as he took players from very un-Zucker like schools such as New Mexico , Oklahoma State and Nebraska. Last year started out ok for Team Zucker as he opened up Round 1 with 223pts, just 1pt off the leader. Sounds good right? But those 223pts came at a steep price as only 9 players advanced to Round 2. It only got worse from there as 9 players shrank into 4 players in the Sweet 16 which turned into 2 players in the Elite 8 and then 0 players for the Final Four.
Not only does Team Zucker have his own less than stellar history working against him, but he is also drafting in the black hole position of #4; a position that has not produced a champion in over a decade.
4th Place: Team Knight 505pts
Last Championship 2013
391, Three Hundred Ninety One, CCCXC1. No matter how you look at it, whether it’s numerically, words or even Roman Numerals, 391 is not impressive and that’s how many points Team Knight put up last year. In 2014 Team Knight was looking to pull off the first “Three-peat” in league history but he came up woefully short.
After back to back titles, what happened to Team Knight? They stuck to their time tested strategy of selecting nothing but NCAA blue bloods with representation from the likes of Duke, Kansas, UCLA, Arizona, Florida, & Michigan State just to name a few. For good measure they even doubled down twice with Duke and Arizona. Overall Team Knight played in 43 games, which is just one game less than last year’s champion….so what happened?
Team Knight may have had players from the NCAA elite basketball schools but he seemed to get the red headed step children from those teams. His tournament scoring average was a paltry 9.1pts per game. He failed to average double digits thru the first four rounds of the tournament and had just one player score at least 20pts just one time in the entire tournament. Looking over the last five years it’s interesting to see that in 2010, Team Knight put up a very similar result of just 390pts. In 2010 that performance amazingly was good enough for 4th place thanks to Lampazzi scoring just 361pts and Zucker scoring an absurdly low 294pts. But this section is not about smashing Lampazzi or Zucker it’s about smashing Knight. After that poor showing in 2010, it took Team Knight another year to build back his skill before going on a back to back title spree. Based on that, we think Team Knight has another rebuilding year ahead of him before he is ready to make another run.
3rd Place: Team Poli 507pts
Last Championship 2006
Over the last five years, Team Poli has the 2nd lowest draft position at 4.4, with only Team Gannon having a lower average draft position of 5.0, but both those teams are tied for the best average finishing position of 2.4. It’s been argued in the past that it’s basic math that forces these two teams to finish higher than where they start but there’s also skill involved as well.
Starting in 2010, Team Poli has had finishes of 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, & 3rd. There’s a definite pattern emerging there which leads us to pick him 3rd again for this year. Last year we picked Team Poli to finish 1st and he wound up finishing 3rd which doesn’t seem that good but if you look at what happened, you may have hope for Team Poli in 2015. In 2014, Team Poli actually had the most games played at 46 but he was forever handicapped by his putrid opening round. Team Poli put up the lowest Round 1 total of any team last year at 138pts. Despite the slow start he got 13 players into Round 2 and then started to heat up.
From Round 2 forward he put up 380pts, which was only 16pts less than Team Lampazzi and 76pts more than 2nd place finisher, Team Gannon. Unfortunately for Team Poli he could not overcome that poor Round 1 start which put him too far behind the leaders to make a serious run. We don’t totally discount Team Poli this year as the 6th draft position has produced two champions in the last five years and also considering the lack of true stars in this year’s draft, getting bookend picks at #6 and #7 may lead to a more balanced and predictable scoring pattern for Team Poli.
2nd Place: Team Gannon 557pts
Last Championship 2010
The Team Gannon Hemcher Cup Dynasty is slowly losing some of its luster. Granted he has the 2nd most championships in league history but the rate at which he wins them continues to decline as he has been able to win just one championship in the last 10 years. The league is entering its 23rd season; during the first 12 seasons he won 4 titles, or on average one every three years. Over the last 10 years, he has just one title. I may not be a mathematician but I’m pretty sure that works out to one cup every 10 years during that stretch.
That’s the kind of rate that the bottom half of this league wins titles at, not Hemcher royalty like Team Gannon. And the sad part is, we are struggling to figure out why this is happening. Was Team Gannon operating in some type of Spygate, deflated ball or PED capacity when he was winning those cups? And if so why did he stop? Did he and the commissioner have some sort of closed door meeting to address this back in 2004 that no one else knew about? Or could it be that instead of watching late night Mountain West hoops games, over the last 10 years, Team Gannon has been forced to spend time watching Dora the Explorer, Dancing with the Stars and the Twilight movies due to the shifting gender makeup of the Team Gannon front office?
It’s not like Gannon has hit rock bottom as over the last two years he has finished in 2nd place and over the last five has finished no worse than 4th. Part of the problem is that when you have so much success early on, you can become a victim of your own success, just ask Buster Douglas, Steve Lappas, or even Dustin Diamond. For the Team Gannons and Team Knights of the world, anything but a championship is considered a failure.
1st Place: Team Tonsmeire 605pts
Last Championship 2011
2014 was a tough year for Team Tonsmeire. He had a rather poor showing by finishing in 4th place and lost sole possession of being the 3rd most successful championship winning franchise in league history when Team Lampazzi tied his mark of three titles. It was his 2nd straight 4th place finish which we tend to think was more than a little bit impacted by bad karma by selecting Villanova killer Doug McDermott with the overall #2 pick.
Realizing the error of his ways, Team Tonsmeire tried to mitigate the bad juju by grabbing Darrun Hillard with his 2nd pick but it was too late, the McBuckets contagion had spread and Team Tonsmeire was a dead man walking. By the time the 1st weekend was over, he was down to just 5 starters going into the Sweet Sixteen and just one of those made it to the Elite Eight. For crying out loud, the Ebola virus doesn’t spread that fast.
Given the results of 2014, why then do we pick them to win this year? For one reason, we think he has learned his lesson about injecting bad karma into his team and will look for more reasonable players this year. Though we are concerned that three of his top five picks may be Villanova Wildcats, we tend to think that he will temper his excitement for this team and pick with his mind over his heart. Also, looking at the recent trends, in the two years prior to his Championship in 2011, he finished in 3rd place both those years. He enters this year off of back to back 4th place finishes, so we tend to see a pattern where he gets stuck on one finishing spot two years in a row before starting a championship run.
Another reason to keep in mind is that if there aren’t distinct levels of scorers this year, having a spot right in the middle might allow for a more balanced scoring attack. One last item to think about is this, as Brooklyn moves towards the hub of NYC sports with the Nets, Islanders and Cyclones in the fold, it only seems appropriate that the Hemcher Cup would look to reside
As usual, this guide is written for entertainment purposes only.
Please, no wagering.
-Your Assistant to the Commissioner