Well, the majority anyway. Most of the 15 people who entered their brackets had these teams battling in the final 8 (though half did not put IBS there). So, not a lot of mystery I guess. The big mystery is how this 8-team music mashup is going to work. Phish? Orleans? AC/DC? The Brothers Johnson? It’s gonna get weird.
#1 Walkaways (-3) vs #9 Still L.O.S.: This one’s personal. After last season’s semi-final loss, Natro and Coco bolted from L.O.S. They added La Gatita from the controversial Urban Achievers and then signed Danny Diesel and Booth away from Binga’s. Ali and Shithawk didn’t miss a beat, locking up Precious and then adding some extra height in Double Cheese, extra speed with Speedboat, and extra versatility with the ambidextrous Mr. Stiffy. Now these teams will battle it out on the big stage.
Both teams cruised through Sweet 16 matchups with no trouble. The Walkaways will be opening without Booth again, but that didn’t seem to be a problem yesterday. They just need to keep from tightening up if they get off to a slow start. Natro looked very strong last night, and Diesel is a very consistent anchor. How will their arms be for 6 games, though, if they advance and have no subs? Same goes for Gatita and Coco. They have to get there first, though.
LOS has been the hottest team over the last month. Mr. Stiffy has been dominant as a righthander, and Precious has regained his from. The ladies put up some big playoff scores as well. Shithawk may be the steadiest hand – he won’t be rattled, and he is very real. He will swoop in on the Walkaways in an attempt to shit all over their title dreams. Double Cheese is the wildcard – the rookie with giant shoes to fill (literally). Shithawk’s calming presence should get them through any early struggles, but they will need to land a big punch early.
#7 B.E.E.R. (-3) vs #2 Team Micaela: This one has been affected wildly be injuries and absences. The league’s top average bowler, team Micaela’s Stevie Strikes, had another monster night on Tuesday, but will be gone for Thursday (and Saturday should TMC reach the finals). Obviously losing your top bowler hurts any time, but the one possible silver lining is that TMC’s one blemish was losing their two big games. Now they don’t have to worry about that – the pressure is off. Not to mention they have Bama sitting there, who would be the number one on just about any team in the league. Gutter Boy will need to step up his game as the number two. After that it’s Teggi, Mona Laudley and Ralphie. They should be pretty relaxed too, and will definitely be ready for the B.E.E.R. dance attack.
B.E.E.R. had been without their top bowler as well, Cheddar being out for three weeks with an elbow injury. Last night captain Hungus broke his vow to protect the injured star when his team stumbled out to a 4-1 deficit. It was a panic move, but it paid off. Cheddar got his stroke back by the end of the second game and if his elbow holds up looks like he could lead B.E.E.R. back to the finals. Filthy and Coco Lopez have become great pair of rollers, feeding off each others’ energy. Queen Bee is battling a back injury but is a gamer and will be ready for the showdown, and Tom Richards drove five and a half hours yesterday just to make it in time for game three. That’s dedication from “Hacksaw”. They have the experience and their star, and with TMC missing theirs, should advance.
#3 Binga’s (-5) vs #6 I.B.S.: Binga’s got a scare last night. They battled back from a 2-3 deficit to take a 7-3 lead, then put it on cruise control. Problem was Saucy Posse kept fighting. Heading into the 9th frame of game three, SauPo had all five points seemingly locked up. When Jerk got a split, I was reaching for the marker to write in the winner on the big board. Then he nailed the shot, “The Pickup”. When Redonk left the 10th open, Jerk struck, which was enough to secure top point thanks to The Pickup. General Tso was the top roller, but was sitting out when the game 3 drama hit. He is itching to get back on the lanes. Cookie and PB &J have now been tested, and should be ready for whatever comes their way next. Layne is always steady.
I.B.S. has overcome the doubters to reach the quarters, just as they expected. They lost 11-4 in their first matchup with Binga’s, but that has little relevance in the playoffs. That was pre-Killer B. The mercenary B has been a big boost to Wut What’s squad, and Oolie has enjoyed the company. The team is untested, with no veterans that have reached the final four, but they also don’t know they aren’t supposed to win, and that’s their advantage. If the Ram Brothers catch fire (and I can’t wait to see what songs DJ Supertop Megacool submits) they could make a little noise. SauPo’s near upset was probably bad luck for IBS as Binga’s is on full alert.
#5 Off Constantly (-5) vs #13 Nuts: Number One vs Peanut, and Bustah vs the World. This one has some fun side stories. The Nuts were picked to get here, but have struggled a bit on the way. They were locked in a 5-5 tie with Shambles in the first round, and fell down 4-1 to No-Eye-Deer last night. Still, they’ve battled through it and gotten the game they’ve wanted all along against OC. Herbie will have to be lights out to backup Bustah, and Peanut and Sugar will need to channel their all-star talents. Either Salty or Smokey needs to stumble onto a monster game too.
OC dispatched of another brash opponent with ease, crushing Y&B in two games and watching The Truth fade into the ether. They have “the look” right now. None of them is stepping out as the leader, but they all are playing well. At some point Oz will start rolling monsters again, and that could be a difference maker. That’s perhaps what makes them so scary, Dick Liquor and the boys haven’t been bowling anywhere near their best and they are cruising. Coucou and Honey Bunny are doing their part as well and the team is itching for a finals trip. If they get through this one for a potential matchup versus the Walkaways, it would be one for the ages.