#1 Take-Outs versus #4 Sprockettes
The first bout of the day features two teams on very different paths.
The Take-Outs are a group of veterans looking to collect their third Envy Cup championship in three years. They spent the past few months showing the rest of the league that they are ready to three-peat as champs, en route to an undefeated regular season.
In contrast, few of the Sprockettes had played together prior to this season. While they finished the regular season with a winless record, they have showed marked improvement. After the Take-Outs embarrassed them 151-46 in the first bout of the season, the Sprockettes may have become the hungriest team in the league.
In this David versus Goliath bout, it's difficult to root against the Sprockettes and their awesome trio of jammers, in Mase-a-Saurus Rex, Phoenix Bunz and Wendra Woman. Besides, they would love nothing more than to defeat the defending champs in the playoffs.
But the Take-Outs may just be too much for the Sprockettes to handle. The Take-Outs' own trio of jammers – Foxy Force, HellionBOI~> and Alli Catraz – have been unstoppable, and their blockers have held opponents to a league-low 56 points per bout.
Bottom line: The Sprockettes have come a long way during the regular season, but you can't overlook the Take-Outs' playoff experience. PREDICTION: Take-Outs win, 85-60.
Players to Watch:
Sprockettes: Phoenix Bunz and Wendra Women – these rookie jammers combined for 15 points in the season's first bout, 26 in the second, and 42 in the third. Look for the upward trend to continue against the Take-Outs.
Take-Outs: HellionBOI~> – The Take-Outs' success can be attributed to strong teamwork and unselfish play, which makes it difficult to single out one player to watch. But the glamour goes to the jammer, and Hellion's 31 points-per-bout average makes her the star.
#2 Blackeye Bullies versus #3 Band of Brawlers
When these teams matched up in March, Barracuda jammed for 45 points to lead the Bullies over the Brawlers, 98-70.
Ironically, Barracuda's strong performance may have given the Brawler blockers the wake-up call they needed. The Brawlers responded to that bout with a convincing 104-56 victory over the Sprockettes. While they lost the final bout of the season to the Take-Outs, the Brawlers played solid defense, holding the high-scoring Take-Outs to a season-low 73 points.
The Bullies, on the other hand, are limping into this bout. They lost the second bout of the season, 83-68. And after they jumped out to a huge lead against the Sprockettes in the final bout of the season, it took until the last jam of the night – and one last burst of energy from Barracuda – to seal the victory.
The Bullies may be the favorites to win this bout, but it won't be easy. Barracuda will need to show off her league-leading 32 points-per-bout average for the Bullies to succeed, and she won't be able to carry the Bullies to victory all by herself. She'll need plenty of help from Hell Camino (who has been nothing short of awesome, averaging 24 points-per-bout) and the rest of the team.
Bottom line: Sure, the Bullies beat the Brawlers convincingly three months ago, and they still have the league's reigning MVP playing like an MVP. But it wouldn't be the playoffs without an upset, and drrty grrl, Gypsy Warfare and Kitty Liquorbottom are poised for revenge. PREDICTION: Brawlers win, 75-70.
Players to Watch:
Bullies: Kill Basa – Basa has been solid throughout the regular season, averaging 11 points- and 6 assists-per-bout, but she has yet to have a truly great bout. If Kill Basa can have a breakout performance against the Brawlers, it could be enough to prove my upset prediction wrong and lead the Bullies to the championship bout.
Brawlers: Kitty Liquorbottom – like Kill Basa for the Bullies, Kitty is the Brawlers' wild card. She was quiet in the first bout against the Bullies, scoring 8 points while playing in only 26% of the jams. If Kitty can play to the level of teammate jammers drrty grrl and Gypsy Warfare, the Brawlers will be hard to stop.