4 Teams remain, and some interesting matchups to close it out.
(4) Jerusalem @ (1) Islamabad:
Week 3 rematch; and Jerusalem's only loss this season came in week 3. Boy am I looking forward to tomorrow, there's not been a game this season I wanted to win more than this. It's a revenge game, and more than that, I get to play my brother in crime Hassan Chaabane to get a chance at the glory we both shared last season. Here's the news though: Hassan did sustain a serious enough injury over the weekend, and we still aren't sure of his availability for Wednesday night's game. If he doesn't suit up, I can almost guarantee Jerusalem is going to win. I'm not underestimating the leadership of Zain and Kareem at all, but Hassan is easily the MVP of the league this season averaging 20+ points and a league-leading 5.4 assists. Furthermore, the game will probably still be close due to Jerusalem's poor nature in playing down to competition, so Islamabad can definitely still win, but I seriously doubt they will. If he does play and is healthy, we have a great game on our hands. Both these teams have changed since week 3, and just a disclaimer, Jerusalem was without Billal in that one. The Jerusalem theme still remains, they understand what needs to be done defensively so they can garner an advantage. They're aware of Hassan's ability to get to the rim, they're aware of Zain's late-season push doing whatever he wants from anywhere on the court, they're aware of Idris and Amir's shooting ability, they're aware of Jared's athleticism around the rim, and most importantly, they're aware of Kareem's dua's. Not to spoil any game plans, but these realizations poured onto past experience mixes for a Jerusalem defense no offense can enjoy trying to tackle. Islamabad has also improved dramatically, and as you may have already heard from the podcast, it has mostly come defensively. They've really found their flow on that end of the floor, in fact, in 4 of their last 5 games, Islamabad has not let up more than 42 points to an opposing team. Similar to week 3, this game will definitely be a battle of defenses. Will it be the same though? I don't think so; Jerusalem has definitely found their groove offensively as well. Mana has gotten more consistent, especially from the line. Billal seems to have had a fire lit underneath him, and shows up, especially in the playoffs. Islam is finally coming back into form, scoring double digits in his last 3 games. And of course, the bear, need I say more? Islamabad are still the favorite (on paper), they can adapt to anything with the likes of Zain, Hassan, and Kareem present. Though I think they'll have to win this one in some fashion they're not used to, and 40 minutes won't be enough for them to figure that out.
Jerusalem by 3.
(11) Delhi @ (3) Alexandria:
The first prediction I got in this one is a clean game. SIKE! This game is going to get ugly quick, two teams that chirp and chirp and chirp. I hope nothing extracurricular happens, and I expect the two teams to keep it respectful in the long run. I'm mentioning this because it makes for an interesting dynamic. Alexandria hasn't really been tested for a little while now, and maybe, just maybe, the personality Delhi brings shows us a different side of Alexandria. Into the matchups though, there are not 3 guys on Delhi that match up well with the Cerberus that is Alexandria. That means it's up to Delhi to get creative and devise some sort of a defensive scheme that will be our Hercules and cut off at least one of the 3 Cerberus heads. If I wanted to keep this short and sweet, that's what it comes down to. No team can keep up, point for point, with Alexandria, so it will have to come down to some sort of a one-two-punch combination in the form of offense and defense. Delhi has proven they are more than qualified offensively, and if Alexandria didn't present themselves with the size they did, Delhi could've been the only squad that would've kept up point for point. This isn't some fantasy world though, and Alexandria is what they are, so Delhi's offense won't be enough, though it is a great first punch in that combination. Going back to that personality Delhi has, they're going to force Alexandria to be at least a bit uncomfortable, so if Alexandria goes in a bit complacent, they can be caught off guard. If all goes normally though, very simply put, Alexandria will go up early and continue the usual beatdowns they've shown us all throughout the season, and yet again, it'll be the persistent sound of their clapping that prevails. Delhi can definitely surprise us all and leave tomorrow night with a win, but they'll need Ian, new Splash, old Splash to bring their absolute best. They also might need to call a long-lost brother in Luis to make an appearance, and Abdelghani to have made the right dua.
Alexandria by 13.