On Swooper Bowl Eve: The Courts, The First Round, and The Great Bracket Challenge.
After five incredible months, our first season is reaching its conclusion. Teams have gone head-to-head in over 180,000 matches during Season 0, jockeyed for position on the leaderboard, and the culmination of their efforts is a spot in the Swooper Bowl mega-tournament this weekend.
The 64 winningest teams in all of Swoops will battle it out from Friday the 12th to Sunday the 14th where one team will be crowned our Season 0 champion and take home a cool $1,500, with $5,000 worth of prizes to be given out in total. Not. Too. Shabby.
For those who are in the tournament, those who missed the tournament, and those who have yet to enter the Swoops Universe, we also have a bracket contest for everyone to fill out with $500 worth of prizes. Additionally, each bracket entry will be entered into our giveaway pool which we'll be drawing from on stream this weekend during the Swooper Bowl.
Before getting into a little bit of what the first round looks like, potential upsets, and intriguing matchups, I want to share with everyone some sketches and information about the locations that each of the four sides of the bracket will be played on: Venice Breach, Rucker Ark, Pingalle, and DoSdan.
Venice Breach is known as the world’s most beautiful basketball court and for good reason. The Breach court was designed by a few brilliant Swoops fanatics who wanted a more hospitable place to play in the summer than the slow cooked asphalt courts they were used to.
Agreeing that they wouldn't stray far from the courts they grew up on, it would take years of scouting locations, planning out different designs, and finding the right people to help create their dream court and earlier this year their half-Petra, half-Petrovic masterpiece of engineering and ingenuity was finally ready for play.
Carved into the heat-beaten rock faces of these coastal caverns is a full basketball court that feels like the perfect concrete surface, but looks more like you’re running the fast break at the French Open. To the side of the court, stadium seating has been neatly chiseled into the stone for spectators, with small rooms for the announcers and concessions dug out of the cave and perfectly perched above the action.
Looking out on the court from the seating area, our team owners and their fans will not only be able to watch Swooper Bowl matches take place this year, but through the open face of the cave they’ll have a view of palm scattered beaches and the crystal clear ocean no more than 100 feet away. While only one team will make it out of the Venice Breach side of the bracket, it’s hard not to feel like you've won just by being there.
Rucker Ark was designed for two purposes. The first was to be the premier basketball court for exclusive, high-stakes money games that needed to be played at a secure and secluded location. What better for such a thing than a court that can set off to sea, away from prying eyes, unexpected guests, or any other distractions that could get in the way of the highest-leverage matches in the entire Swoops Universe.
Owners are welcome to sit on the bridge to watch the game below, or they can get down in the caged court and watch their Swoops teams go at it from the floor level if they don't mind a little sun.
While the intention of such a place is to limit any sort of interference (or observance), every now and then there are avid Swoops fans who will charter boats and follow Rucker Ark for a chance to watch some of these games play out on the open ocean.
When it's not being used by the highest of high rollers, the secondary utility of Rucker Ark is for special showcases, events, and festivals. The Ark has toured around the world over the years, stopping at some of the busiest ports for people to watch great games of basketball, floating the causeways of river-strewn metropolises like as basketball parade float, and been a key attraction for every major coastal festival from Carnival to Cannes.
Swoops has thrown down enough cash for Rucker Ark to now be one of the main locations for the first annual Swooper Bowl, hosting a corners of the bracket, and giving team owners a chance to see their teams play on one of the most iconic courts of all time.
Pingalle is, has been, and will likely always be the most famous court among basketball fans and Swoopsters alike. Tucked in between the achromatic high rises that loom over the most densely populated city in Swoops, Pingalle’s vibrant colors make it pop out against the grayscale scenery like a basketball in a bowl of tapioca.
If you couldn’t hear the rattling of rims and squeaking of shoes 24-hours a day, at first glance you would think that Pingalle is some sort of outdoor casino. Huge screens line many of the exterior walls that border the court, names and numbers scrolling across them like a stock market ticker. These aren’t the identifiers of gigantic corporations, but rather the names of Swoopsters, Swoops teams, and statistical leaders from the games played on the court - like a living breathing arcade machine for the highest level open gym runs imaginable.
Swoops teams and individual Swoopsters alike come from all over the world to get a chance to play on the Pingalle court and prove themselves. It’s winner-keeps-the-court and if a team can move up the rankings for how many games they’ve been able to stay, or if a Swoopster can write their name into the leaderboards with a big game, not only will the court be swarmed by onlookers hoping to witness history, but the entire world is going to take notice as well.
Pingalle is somewhere you’ll always be able to get a look at the best teams in the world 24 hours a day. Where the best Swoopsters of all time have all played. Where, if you’re lucky, you might be able to catch the first look at a superstar before they’ve made a name for themselves and be able to say you saw them way back when.
This weekend the legendary court is shutting down normal operations and hosting 16 of the best Swoops teams in the world as part of the Swooper Bowl. You can be sure that every window with a view will be packed with onlookers cheering them on and that the teams who get to play there will be etched into the Pingalle history books.
Although many have heard of DoSdan, very few people have any idea what it looks like. Those who do know what DoSdan looks like are bound by a code of ethics to keep what they have seen and learned at the courts to themselves. Up until now, what the court looked like was solely based on old stories, anecdotes, and incomplete information. Even the above sketch was scribbled on the back of a book based on the ramblings of an old Swoops fan who swore to me he helped renovate it 50 years.
You may wonder how somewhere can be mythologized like this, while really existing, but nobody knows what it looks like - a good question to be sure. Well, DoSdan is far more than a basketball court. DoSdan is the world’s foremost defense-first basketball academy, said to preach Denial of Service at all costs. There is no application to fill out to be admitted, there is no secret word or phrase to get in, rather it is an invitation only opportunity for select Swoopsters to come live there, hone their defensive skills, and find a new level to their game. Those who are lucky enough to receive an invitation are sworn to secrecy of the inner workings of the academy, what they are taught, and where the courts are.
Knowing this, we of course had no intention of reaching out to DoSdan in regards to the Swooper Bowl. They are dedicated to keeping everything about the academy extremely private and we wanted to respect that. So imagine our surprise when we received word that DoSdan would like to not just open up its doors to a select side of our bracket, but allow fans to watch games on their court for the first time ever. An offer that was put forth simply as a way to extend a hand out to the Swoops community and all their hard work, effort, and genuine passion for the sport.
Naturally we agreed without a second thought.
This is truly an unprecedented opportunity for the 16 lucky teams and for our viewers to see DoSdan up close, one that should be treated as if it may only happen once in their lives, and an absolute honor for us to be able to host Swooper Bowl games on their court.
Sticking to DoSdan, the side of the bracket that will be played in the sub-surface courts is without a doubt the Swooper Bowl's group of death.
The first notable team of the South East group is Star Gods, who despite coming in as a 6-seed seem to be the odds on favorite to win the whole tournament. They've held down the #1 spot in the Swoops weekly power rankings for a quite a while now and have shown no signs of slowing down.
However, DoSdan will also play host the #3 power ranked King and the Duck, #5 power ranked Boston Blockchains, #8 power ranked Swoopchester United, and #10 power ranked 1-seed Blockchain Burners.
What could easily be four teams who made it to the semi-finals of the Swooper Bowl might end up playing each other in the second round! While that's great news for teams on other sides of the bracket, it means these teams are going to have to bring their 'A-Game' right out of the gates.
On the Venice Breach side of the bracket, things are a little less hectic at the seaside court as the the overwhelmingly popular pick to make it out is the 3-seed, #2 power ranked Unchained Web. However, an upset could be brewing as their first match is against a 14-seed Nothing But Network, a team which has gone 12-6 against Unchained Web in matches this season with an overall margin of victory of 5 points! If that were to happen, it's anyone's guess how the rest of the bracket plays out. The most likely outcome would be the Pirates - who at the very least must already feel at home so close to the sea.
Over on Rucker Ark, most experts are predicting a meeting of the 1-seed, #4 power ranked North Side 416ers and the 2-seed, #6 power ranked Kirchhoff's Electric Society. The 416ers are an offensive juggernaut who boast the highest scoring offense in Swoops, led by Season 0's MVP and devastating big-man scorer Posty McBuckets. However, KES have Daemon Thrillard, the MVP runner-up, community tournament MVP, and the Swoopster who has become known as the most clutch player in the league. If the two teams do meet up, that could be the start of a legendary rivalry and a match that would have been worth of being the championship game.
On the final side of the bracket, 16 teams will battle it out in Pingalle for a chance to make it to semi-finals and is certainly the toughest group to predict which team will conquer the court.
The 3-seed, #7 power ranked Metahearse are the odds-on favorite as they're the only power ranked team of the group, but are only 16-13 against their first round opponent the 14-seed Bucket Hounds. Additionally, teams like Swish Beatz and All-Star Larry Password have come on strong to close the season, the Metacourt Miners are riding high after being named as a GM of the Year finalist, Legends have made a push to pick up some serious talent, and the Globe TRONers always find a way to pull off some heroics. Whoever figures out this messy Pingalle puzzle may very well end up winning the bracket challenge.
For a full breakdown of the first round of the Swooper Bowl match-by-match and a huge help for filling out a bracket if you haven't yet done so, head on over to the recording of this week's Stat Heads where Josh and Trent crunch the numbers and offer their thoughts on who will beat who.
Good luck to all the teams who will be fighting to take home the championship starting tomorrow night!