To help kick off March Madness this year, we wanted to take a look at two potential bracket busters who are sitting on the bubble of our very own 64-team tournament. These two teams are dancing around the edge of in-or-out of the The Swooper Bowl, but if they can secure their spot, are potential Swooperellas who are fully capable of going on a run.
The first not-so-long-shot is Skynet, and who better to take over this tournament than a revolutionary AI system that had practice taking over the world?
Skynet have just barely gotten their digital tendrils dipped into the pool and are currently sitting at 59th place on the leaderboard. Instead of snagging some mint condition Swoopsters of their own, they have instead invested in well established players and taken control of them for their own gain. Our (hopefully) benevolant Skynet team owner has a good eye for talentm, as they scored two strong anchor-points to carry their team to a 265-202 record through Season 0.
The lead head of the hong is the four-star Dame Dollabot. Dollabot, who sports a 921-421 record across a couple different teams during this Season 0 period, slots in at point for Skynet. Well suited to his name, Dollabot is an expert marksman who is shooting an outstanding 44.4% from three on the season. To make matters worse for Skynet's oppoonents, Dame is shooting 50% overall, likely due to his high unrevealed two-point inside rating. While the 15.3 points per game may not be a whole lot to write home about, since joining Skynet there has been a noticable uptick in his scoring, meaning the doomsday clock is inching every so close to Dame Time.
The second head is the appropriately named Glass Cleaner. If Dollabot is the brains of Skynet, Glass Cleaner is certainly the brawn. The big man is pulling down an outrageous 16.2 rebounds a night through ~1000 games, good for second overall in the entire Swoops Universe. Just got good Measure, Glass Cleaner chips in almost 16 points a night, and is able to step out and hit the three from the forward/center position - a very valuable trait. His 77 3pt rating has seen him knocking in just shy of 38% of his snipes, making him one of the more versatile big men in the entire league. Hard to imagine letting go of a player like that, but for the right price, board man gets paid.
Skynet has surrounded these All-Star caliber players with some young one to two-star prospect Swoopsters. These tertiary players are mix of rebounding, low volume scoring, and defense that should help to funnel more responsibility onto the shoulders of their stars.
If Dame Dollabot can continue to ramp up the amount of shots he's taking, Glass Cleaner can continue to wash away any errant balls from opposing teams hands, and some of the "other guys" step up, then it may take John Conner himself suiting up to avoid them making it out of round one.
The other potential bracket buster on this week's list is a sleeping giant that I fear some owners may not have encountered yet.
The exceptionally potent All Heart, who are much more talented than their name would have you believe, are just outside of the tournament at 66th place. Despite having played just under 300 games, All Heart have won 62.67% of their matches and currently sport a +4 net rating on the season. That's a percentage and net rating that put them up there with some of the most elite teams in all of Swoops. So how are they doing it?
Well, All Heart has declined the robotic sensibilities of Skynet and instead taken the approach of building their team in-house. They own five Swoopsters, and while they are currently unnamed, each one of them has only played games in an All Hearts jersey. Very admirable to see a team built from scratch and stick together, some would even say heart warming.
All Heart are exceptionally well rounded team from a talent perspective and in the box score. Perhaps the only team in all of Swoops to be sporting a main lineup with three different players averaging over 20 points a game.
The first of the three twenty-point scorers is Swoopster-267, a five-star guard/forward in his 4th season. 267 is putting up 20 points a game on 48.5% from the floor, 36.8% from three, but seems to go into cardiac arrest at the line where he shoots only 46.3%. Quite an interesting wrinkle there. 267's issues at the line may be the only flaw though, as they chip in 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and a shade over 1.5 steals a night while slotting in at lead guard.
The second is one-star forward/center Swoopster-1310. Don't let the one-star prospect rating fool you though. In 1310's 6th season in the league he has developed into an absolute behemoth of a player, outshining his prospect rating and becoming the strongest player in all of Swoops. No, really, at 100 physicality rating 1310 threatens to throw opposing forwards off the court like Jazzy Jeff on every possession. You would think that must be the most eye-popping stat for 1310, but the averages may outshine it. He is putting up a fantastic 20.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.6 steals, and .9 blocks a game on an absurd 47/41/82 shooting splits. That is All-Swoops level production there in the frontcourt.
The third and last 20-point scorer is Swoopster-1442, the two-star 3-and-D guard/forward in their 4th season who currently leads All Heart in scoring. Those 21 points a game are so much sweeter when you are shooting a top-of-the-league 47/45/86 splits. It is extremely common to see 1442 putting up double digit attempts from three, and why not, when you're making that many? Hardly a one-dimensional player, 1442's 86 perimeter defense rating is helping All Heart to lock down things on the outside and stifle their opponents from even dreaming of shooting like 1442 does.
While these three players are excellent, and certainly show one of the most keen talent evaluation skills of any owner I've come across so far, their starting center Swoopster-1460 may be the most intriguing of all. A one-star prospect in their 6th season, who must like 267 and 1442 has blown past his growth expectation, and is averaging 11 points, 12 rebounds, and leads the team with over 7 assists a night - from the low post! Is this Bill Walton/Arvydas Sabonis type of pylon-passing center the key to the All Heart?
It's a question worth asking for any team that runs into having to game plan for them in the tournament, because of the All Heart make a push to get in, they are the first ~16-seed that may be a good bet to win the whole thing.
We will be looking at more bracket busting teams, low-seed hopefulls, and teams on the rise as we get closer to tournament time. The bracket is still wide open, so get your squad together, play some games, and find yourself in the next article!