Who doesn’t love the winter time? New Year’s resolutions not yet broken, holiday gifts not yet passé, and best of all, the four major sports are no longer dormant. That’s right, it is finally depressingly cold enough to retreat into the gym, lace up on the hardwood and throw down.
Reach up and turn off the light bulb. Yes, I.M. basketball is back. ‘Tis the season of yellow pennies and packed stands courtesy of the AEPi brotherhood. Weeknights on the first floor of the WoodPEC will forever be changed as the gym threatens to explode due to the presence of the largest — and surprisingly uniform — personalities on this side of North Druid Hills Road (APES, I’m looking at you, bro).
But I digress.
The resurrection of I.M. basketball represents a new chance for each house on the row to battle for what is undeniably the most coveted trophy of them all. I.M. basketball generates the most interest among the student body for three significant reasons: first and foremost, Greek houses are fighting to avenge disappointing baseball and football seasons.
Throw in disappointing pledge numbers and rivalries still burning from dirty rushing, and you can expect fireworks. For the non-Greek, this season is by and large the one chance for immortality, a David-vs.-Goliath opportunity to prove that SAAC ballers have more swagger than the famously overrated Greek teams.
With that, I humbly present my week-one rankings:
1. Sig Nu
Rejuvenated by the promise of an on-campus house next year and a strong pledge class, Sig Nu is once again out to prove they belong. After a pulverizing run through the football league, the Sig Nu tornado is headed to the hardwood, where it looks lethal.
Similar to its football strategy, it relies on a stingy, physical defense that methodically wears down the opponent’s assault. Notoriously a fan favorite, Sig Nu has inspired countless admirers by proving you don’t need brains, strategy or general initiative of any kind to reach the top. Just catch ball, hit man (with passes and vicious forearms … no, scratch that, let’s not make this too complicated), make basket.
Beta proved it was by far the most prepared team entering the season after squashing a formidable Phi Delt group with former league-MVP “Al” Hal “Harrington” Cope. The mighty Dragons doubled up Phi Delt early in the first half and held off a second half run, relying largely on the rumbling drives of Jonathan “believe it or not I didn’t star as an alien next to M.J. in Space Jam” Wolpert and the impassioned tirades of Brian “when I hear music I like to dance” Hughes. This over-confident group encountered some trouble when faced with a zone, so don’t be surprised by an early game slip-up. In the long run, this scary talented bunch might need that surprise to regain focus.
Don’t let this team’s failed attempt at humor fool you: this group can ball, and is dangerous on anyone’s schedule. Though their defense is suspect, Outsourced proved it can win any shootout after dropping the most points in the entire league in its first game. It’s in a tough division (it faces Sig Nu and ATO), but it will more than likely see a high playoff spot if its offense remains potent.
AEPi runs a very systematic offense that dominates the clock, crashes the boards and hustles on defense – three ingredients for a championship run. Though it’s as brittle as Matzah brei, AEPi is clearly the smartest and most experienced team in the league, and despite an underwhelming pledge class, it shows no signs of slowing down.
With an average of nine JCC years behind each player, even down to the benchwarmers, its basketball IQ is a force to be reckoned with. Look for this team to cruise through its division, with an important game against rival Beta coming up to determine the playoff seeding. Anyhow, this team has the experience, and yes, last time I checked winning is kosher.
No, this is not a misprint. ATO can play with anybody. With a strong crew of seniors at the helm to set the tone, this team could be on both sides of a few blowouts, but will ultimately prove dangerous in the playoffs. Its glaring weaknesses are actually masked by its enigmatic presence. Opposing teams have little film on the team,w and the guys are so quiet it is impossible for teams to track them down and game-plan against them. A coordinated big man could spell trouble down the road for the Fightin’ Dining Club, but until then, they can rely on their speed and athleticism to keep them in every game. My sleeper pick to make the Final Four.
Keep the discourse civil. If your best efforts fail, don’t blame me.
– Contact Matt Margolis.