The 2014 Hemcher Cup XXII Preview Guide

Screenshot from A Few Good Men

The 2014 Hemcher Cup XXII Preview Guide


For those that don’t remember, the theme of last year’s Hemcher Cup preview guide was the clear separation of the league into two distinct factions, the “haves” and the “have nots”.   This theme was once again clearly demonstrated by the results of last year’s contest as Teams Knight and Gannon finished 1st and 2nd respectively, with everyone else fighting for 3rd place.  In reality Teams Tonsmeire and Poli were the only ones battling for 3rd as Teams Lampazzi and Zucker continued their annual battle for last place.

Sadly, since the conclusion of HC XXI there’s been a lot of infighting and mudslinging within the ownership ranks of the league, with certain under achieving teams (Lampazzi) taking shots at certain top tier teams (Knight) in regards to their approach to drafting and winning titles.  Some of this ugliness came to light at the recent Winter Meetings.  The Competition Committee meeting was one of the more contentious sessions and a partial transcript is found below:

Team Knight:        You want to know my draft strategy?

Team Lampazzi:    I think I’m entitled to.

Team Knight:         You want to know my draft strategy?

Team Lampazzi:     I want a championship!

Team Knight:          You can’t handle a championship!

Team Knight:         Son, we live in a world that has dominant teams, and those dominant teams have to be built by men who score points, lots of points. Who’s gonna do it? You?  You, Team Zucker?  I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for your lack of championships, and you curse Team Knight. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That your team’s lack of success, while tragic, probably helps other teams win.  And my record number of championships, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, helps the league.

You don’t want the truth about how to actually draft and win championships because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me to win championships, you need me to win championships. We use words like double down, back to back, dynasty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent winning titles. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very NCAA Tournament college player hoops contest that I created, and then questions the manner in which I dominate it.

I would rather you just said thank you, and then wasted your first round pick as usual.  Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a USA Today preview guide on Monday morning with all the team capsules in it, and study it. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

Team Lampazzi:   Did you only draft players from teams seeded no lower than #4?

Team Knight:       I did the job I…

Team Lampazzi:   Did you only draft players from top four seeds?

Team Knight:        You’re Goddamn right I did!

And with that bit of ugliness out of the way, we bring you the projections for this year’s contest.

Just a reminder fans about Die Hard Night coming up here in the stadium. Free admission to anyone who was actually alive the last time the Indians won the pennant.   

– Harry Doyle, Major League

6th Place:  Team Lampazzi  401pts

Last Championship: 2000

It’s been 13 years and counting since Team Lampazzi last won a championship.  Over the last five years Team Lampazzi has had an average drafting position of 1.6 with an average finish of 5.0.  That -3.4pt deficit is the worst of any team during the last five years.   In last year’s preview guide we claimed that this team misses on more #1 picks than the Cincinnati Bengals, and this year we’d like to apologize to the Bengals for comparing them to a team as bad as Team Lampazzi.  How do they do it?  How do they miss each and every year on the #1 pick?  Last year with the overall #1 pick they took Cody Zeller from Indiana and watched their franchise’s running points total increase by Cody’s tournament total of 36.  To cut Lampazzi some slack, this wasn’t even the worst first round selection last year but the player drafted right behind him at #2, Russ Smith, was the #1 scorer in the Hemcher Cup last year with 134pts.  Was Cody Zeller really going to score more than Russ Smith?  This team thinks it’s smarter than everyone else and tries to find hidden gems at #1 when it should just take the obvious choice and move on.  Until we see some consistent improvement from this team, there’s no way that we can pick them anywhere but  last.

“The crowd is standing on its feet here at Augusta. The normally reserved crowd is going wild… for this young Cinderella who’s come out of nowhere…he got all of that one! He’s gotta be pleased with that! The crowd is just on its feet here. He’s a Cinderella boy. Tears in his eyes…” 

–  Carl Spackler, Caddyshack

5th Place:  Team Zucker  403pts

Last Championship: 2008

Last year, we picked Team Zucker to win the cup and he came up short.  How short?  Last place short to be precise.  We knew it was a long shot and have learned our lesson.  So, for now, like Carl Spacker, we’ll keep his future championships to our imagination.  Over the last five years, Team Zucker has had an average drafting position of 3.0 with an average finish of 5.2.   Here’s a fun stat, did you know that last year Team Zucker had the same PPG average (11.4) as the Champion, Team Knight?  Sounds impressive right?  But here’s the key stat, total games played, Team Zucker 36, Team Knight 57.  In Team Zucker’s defense, his 36 games were more than Tonsmeire (34), Lampazzi (35) and just one less than 2nd place finisher Team Gannon (37).   Last year Team Zucker went off the rails in Round 2 as he only got 9 players thru round 1 and wound up scoring 123pts less in Round 2 than he did in Round 1.  By way of comparison, Team Tonsmeire also only got 9 players into Round 2 but his drop off from Round 1 was just 34pts.  So what does that tell us?  We don’t really know, but we think Zucker has to find more consistent scorers this year than he did last year.  Having the #1 pick should usually be a help to getting a top flight scorer but this year that may not be the case as there appears to be no dominant team which makes the #1 pick less valuable. But working in Zucker’s favor this year is the fact that Temple will not be in the tournament which thereby relieves him from the obligatory need to draft Owls.  The crowd is usually behind Team Zucker but sooner or later he needs to reward their loyalty with another run at a championship.

Hey! If you’re gonna have a fight, then don’t forget Channel Two News, with me, lead anchor Frank Vitchard.

You dirt bags have been in third place for five years.

Oh, yeah? Well, you’re about to be in . . . dead place!  

– Ron Burgandy & Frank Vitchard, Anchorman

4th Place:  Team Tonsmeire 523pts

Last Championship 2011

Like the Channel 2 News Team, Team Tonsmeire currently sits in 3rd place in terms of championships won.  Can they take a step closer towards 2nd place this year? We don’t think so. Over the last five years Team Tonsmeire has had an average drafting position of 2.8 with an average finish of 3.4.  The last time Team Tonsmeire won the cup he did it from the #2 draft spot, which is the same draft spot they have this year.  Sounds like perhaps we should be picking them to win again this year, but Team Tonsmeire has also drafted from the #2 spot over the last two years as well, with finishes of 6th place and 4th place respectively.  This will be his fourth straight year drafting 2nd, his ping pong ball must be rigged or something.  Anyway, even though he is drafting from the same consistent spot, he is off trend as we look at his finishing performance over the last five years.  In 2009 and 2010 he drafted 4th and finished 3rd both years and in 2011 he drafted 2nd and finished 1st, which shows a net improvement between draft and finish position.  However, in the last two years, he is off trend with drafting position of #2 each year but finishes of 6th and 4th.  You can never count out the all-time single season team scoring record holder but as a wise man once said, the trend is your friend and unfortunately for Team Tonsmeire the trend is telling us that he will finish lower than he starts this year.

You kick in the door to my house, all ants in your pants, sucking my left nut to get a TiVo scrap for the third runner-up “Sexiest Man Alive” 1998, and you’re asking if I’m SERIOUS? Let’s face it. The kids aren’t dressing up as Scorcher for Purim anymore. Speedman is a dying star, a white dwarf heading for a black hole. That’s physics. It’s inevitable

– Les Grossman, Tropic Thunder

3rd Place:  Team Gannon  545pts

Last Championship: 2010

Team Gannon may have the 2nd most titles in the history of the league but, much like Tugg Speedman, his glory days may be well behind him.  Between 1996 and 2004 he won 4 Titles, since 2004 he has only won one title.  From 1996 to 2004 he was a Box Office star but,  since then he has been straight to video.  Over the last five years Team Gannon has an average draft position of 5.4 with an average finish of 2.4.  That net improvement of 3 spots is the best of any franchise during this time.  You have to wonder if Team Gannon thinks the ping pong ball gods have it out for him based on his consistently low starting position.  If he could start just a bit higher in the draft perhaps he could find his way back into the top  spot based on his track record of finishing higher than where he started.  Some would argue that he has no choice but to finish higher than he drafts since he has drafted 6th twice and 5th three times over the last five years.  But we here at The Hemcher Cup Preview Guide tend to think there’s skill driving that improvement as opposed to basic mathematics.  Last year’s 2nd place finish was his best since winning the cup in 2010.  Looking more closely at last year you have to give Team Gannon credit for being able to finish 2nd when you consider that not one of his top four picks made it out of the 2nd round and that his #1 pick, Otto Porter,  checked out after Round 1.  Gannon has shown a knack for finding diamonds in the rough but last year he seemed to be the champion of the mid-major with representation from teams like Gonzaga, Creighton, Butler, VCU and South Dakota State.  Perhaps this year he should avoid the clearance rack and pay full price for proven teams and players.

This is all news to me.

It usually is. So far this semester he has been absent nine times.

Nine times?

Nine times.

I don’t remember him being sick nine times

– Katie Bueller & Ed Rooney, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

2nd Place:  Team Knight 600pts

Last Championship 2013

Nine championships for one person are as hard to believe as nine sick days in one semester.  Over the last five years Team Knight has an average draft position of 3.4 with an average finish of 2.2. To go along with that 1.2 spot improvement over the last five years, he also has three championships.  To rehash an old ripped off joke, over the last five years, 60% of the time, he wins every time.

We aren’t sure how many years this preview guide has been written, 5? 10? 15? Maybe more, but we are sure that we have never picked Team Knight to win the Cup.   Why do we do this?  Why don’t we make the obvious prediction and pick the team to win that has won more Championships than four other franchises combined?  And the answer is, that’s precisely why we don’t pick them.  We made the claim years ago that picking Team Knight to win is like picking the house to win in a casino.  No one wants to hear that, even though we all know that eventually the house always wins.

In 2013, Team Knight not only won its 9th Championship but it did it in back to back fashion which matches its own record as being the only team to have won back to back titles in league history (’94 & ’95).  And now Team Knight has its sights set on the first Three-peat in league history.  Can he do it?  Maybe.   Probably.  Even draft position doesn’t seem to matter since two years ago he drafted first and then last year he drafted last.   The Vegas odds makers have him as the favorite, but The Hemcher Cup Preview Guide has a different opinion….

This is our most desperate hour.

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

You’re my only hope. – Princess Leia, Star Wars

1st Place:  Team Poli 632pts

Last Championship 2006

Over the last five years Team Poli has an average draft position of 4.8 with an average finish of 2.8.  That’s the 2nd best net improvement between draft and finish position during this time.  Starting in 2010, Team Poli had three straight 2nd place finishes.  In each of those years he finished as the runner up to Gannon, Tons and Knight who all have at least three titles and would be considered the upper tier of Hemcher Franchises.  In 2013, Team Poli snapped this streak and finished 3rd.  We think the disappointment of coming up just short of the finish line eventually got to him and caused him to finish one spot worse in 2013.

He didn’t necessarily have a bad draft in 2013 as he had a total of 46 games played which was 2nd only to Team Knight and far ahead of everyone else.  But he did miss on a few key guys, primarily his #1 pick, Ben McLemore of Kansas who only gave him 33pts.   Looking closer at the results we see that Team Poli gave up their shot at a title due to a bad Round 2.  He managed to get 12 guys into Round 2, which was the 2nd most but his PPG scoring average dropped by nearly 4pts as his twelve guys were outscored by four other teams with less players in that round.  We think Team Poli can run with the big dogs based on his recent performance and we think that maybe, just maybe he can finally take the last step to win his 2nd Championship.  Come on Team Poli, we are all rooting for you, because if you don’t win, we all know who will……

”Help us Poli-Wan Kenobi, you’re our only hope….”

As always this is written for entertainment purposes only, please no wagering.

-Anothony TJ Lampazzi
Assistant to the Commissioner