The M.B.B.A. 2023 Premier League regular season is nearing its end. With two/three games left to play and two of the four finals spots all but locked up, and the other two solidified barring any significant and outlandish events, now seems like a good time to reflect on the season so far. It's also a great time to speculate on what the finals will bring, and what the future holds. Without further ado, let's take a look.
The ladder after round 5/6 has Cemetery Dropouts and Ageing Action Heroes locked in a 1st/2nd battle. Both teams are on equal points and both teams have a game in hand on the rest of the field. Both teams are also favoured to win their round 6 matchups pushing them further ahead of the field and onto 18 points. Whilst this doesn't guarantee either team a top 2 finish, it does guarantee a top 4 spot and a finals appearance.
On the flip side The Pantheon and Mork's Maniacs are mathematically a possibility for the finals but the chances of either team getting there are remote. It means one of these two teams needs to win the remainder of their games, a tall order for teams that are struggling, and Re:Dead AND The Hexoatl Heat has to lose the remainder of their games AND The Rotting Horrors, Oof Right in the Wyrdstones and Gold Diggers have to have lacklustre ends to the season. Also an unlikely outcome. Of the two teams, The Pantheon have the strongest chance of achieving this unlikely feat, but to do so also requires them to beat Re:Dead in round 8 before any of the other possible scenarios can play out. To make it even more tenuous, Re:Dead doesn't even need to win all of its games. A draw will mean it can't be caught by one of these two teams. It's important to note that this does not guarantee a finals spot at this stage. Strong performances by Oof right in the Wyrdstones and The Rotting Horrors can still cause a headache but again, a lot has to go right for them and a lot wrong for Re:Dead.
The Pantheon and Mork's Maniacs are right now looking to set themselves up for next season. Both teams will be hoping that possible draft picks and SPP will push their rosters into a winning direction but with a question mark over whether or not The Pantheon will retain Daniel Griffin as their coach next season, their direction is uncertain. Mork's Maniacs despite their results this season have thrived under Tom Prince who has maximised their potential for mayhem. Mork's Maniacs stand to gain a lot at the conclusion of this season and will be well placed for a strong season in 2024.
Dingley Bypass have been an ever present contender this season and will be looking to lock up their finals spot. Mathematically they're safe from being overtaken by The Rotting Horrors, Gold Diggers and Oof Right in the Wyrdstones but with only 4 points seperating Andy's team from The Hexoatl Heat, their season is still under threat from being usurpped by another. As the reigning Champions, Dingley Bypass would be extra motivated to not let their reign come to an end without a fight.
The Hexoatl Heat have had a breakout season in 2023. As newcomers to the league, they've rode a strong start in the first half of the season to be in a winning position going into the 2nd half. They're currently sitting a game behind Re:Dead but with a game in hand the pressure is on Scott to maintain that slim advantage over Joe in the standings. The season for them is very much live and will come down to the wire. Gold Diggers are shaping up to be the scariest roster in the league, with Block, Tackle and Guard everywhere, their role as league enforcers is about to be put to the test against Dingley Bypass. For Andy, this matchup could greatly impact his ability to retain his title as Champion.
Mike has bounced back from a rough 2022 campaign to have a healthy roster going into the end of the season. With 3 games to go it'll be interesting to see what mayhem he can cause to his opponents as we head into the post-season.
Predictions - Top 4
1st - Cemetery Dropouts: Jo has piloted her team so well this season it's hard to believe she'll get knocked off before the season is over.
2nd - Ageing Action Heroes: Seve has also maintained a perfect record this season and the only disappointing aspect to this is that Jo and Seve don't get to play each other until the finals.
3rd - Dingley Bypass: The dramatic upheavel of redesigning a roster in the off-season hasn't slowed Andy's team down. The loss of his best player against Oof Right in the Wyrdstones is potentially damaging but nothing that can't be overcome.
4th - Re:Dead: A problematic set of games to close out the season could see Scott's season become derailed, but the odds are that he'll maintain a solid standard of play, and barring any roster movements should be able to lock up 4th.
Of course, the big question is what next? Will Jo return with Cemetary Dropouts or will she move on to greener (and more alive) parstures? Will Dingley Bypass make a return or will this be their swan song and go out as the reigning Champions unseated by another? What will the league look like in 2024 and beyond. Of course there are still games to be played this season and lots of things to be decided, and there will be a detailed post mortom once the season has concluded but for now i'll leave you with this. The priority for 2024 is consolidation. That'll be the lense through which decisions get made. Until then It's bye for now,
See you in Nuffle's Temple,