Major League Pickleball (MLP) has started its new format’s inaugural season strong and is gearing up for the third and final event of Season One: MLP San Clemente. After San Clemente wraps up on Sunday, June 18th, the following Monday, the 19th, will be what the MLP is dubbing the Super Finals.
Because the 2023 MLP tournament schedule is broken up into two seasons, they’ve decided to hold two final championship matches to determine the winning teams, in both Premier and Challenger Levels, for both seasons. Based on the Total Event Points gained during the season, the top two teams in each level will face off for the title of MLP 2023 Season One Champions.
To clarify, there will be one Premier Level Champion and one Challenger Level Champion when all is set and done, similar to what we’ve seen during regular season events. This makes MLP San Clemente particularly exciting, as the results will directly impact who gets to play in the Super Finals, which will immediately follow the tournament!
In a recent set of simulations run by the MLP, they’ve determined the probabilities of which teams will most likely make it to the Super Finals based on MLP Mesa and MLP Daytona Beach results. They narrowed the list down to the top 5 teams at the Premier Level and the top 4 at the Challenger Level.
If you’ve been keeping up with the MLP, the results of these tests aren’t too surprising, as they are comprised of the top 9 teams in the league based on current standings. In fact, their ranking in the probability of making the Super Finals is precisely the same in each of the levels.
Because the Breakers are so far ahead of everyone else in the Challenger Level, with an incredible 32 event points – the highest in both levels, it’s improbable that they’ll be knocked out of being in the Super Finals for Season One. The competition is much closer at the Premier Level, as all of the top five teams are within just a few points of one another.
Our primary question is: Did the recent Season One Challenger Level Shuffle Draft affect these probabilities going into San Clemente? Our best guess: It’s highly unlikely.
While many of the lower-ranked teams made some significant changes, three out of the four top-ranked teams refrained from making any changes. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
The one notable change was made by the Bay Area Breakers, who put Rachel Summers on waivers and picked up Vivian Glozman. While Summers proved to be an instrumental player in the Breakers’ back-to-back championship wins, we think there’s a lot of potential in newcomer Glozman, who recently debuted alongside Anna Bright at the PPA North Carolina Open.
In the Premier Level, no notable changes were made within the top five teams that could directly impact standings. It’ll be fascinating to see how things play out for both levels – Stay tuned for our MLP San Clemente Preview, where we will take a deeper look at each of these top-ranked teams!
One final thing to note regarding the Super Finals going into San Clemente: The group stage draw schedules are now live! The match-ups we see in the group stage will make or break who ends up in the playoffs, directly impacting who will make it into the Super Finals.
Here are the groups that will shake things up most in San Clemente!
Premier Level – Group B (New Jersey 5’s, California BLQK Bears, St. Louis Shock, ATX Pickleballers)
In the Premier Level, we think that the Group B main draw will be the one to watch leading into the finals, as the BLQK Bears and 5’s both are in the running to make it to the finals. Group C is equally interesting with the Pioneers and Mad Drops, but both are at the top of the rankings and have a good shot of making it into the playoffs.
The BLQK Bears earned a silver medal in Daytona, which marked a massive improvement from MLP Mesa, where they didn’t make it past the group stage. The 5’s, on the other hand, made it to the playoffs at both events, most recently being knocked out in the semifinals by the BLQK Bears. It’s time for the two teams to duke it out in the group stage while fighting for a shot at the Super Finals.
Challenger Level – Group B (Chicago Slice, Atlanta Bouncers, Texas Ranchers, Bay Area Breakers)
In the Challenger Level, we like Group B because it has the top contender, the Bay Area Breakers, as well as two other top-five Challenger Level teams: the Chicago Slice and the Atlanta Bouncers.
The Breakers have 1st place locked in, but the Slice and Bouncers have a lot to fight for. While the Bouncers are technically tied up points-wise with the Texas Ranchers, they’ve seen one more match win. Both teams have seen the playoffs only to be knocked out in the quarterfinals; maybe San Clemente is their first time to fight their way to the finals!
The Slice are in a similar position as the Bouncers, except they’ve been in the semifinals at both events. At Mesa, they were knocked out by the 4-seed Black Diamonds, and at Daytona, they lost in a Dreambreaker to the 1-seed Breakers, who went on to win it all.
Overall, the Slice have seen some tough match-ups, and if they can prove themselves to a win over the Breakers in the group stage, we think they’ll gain the confidence needed to push through into the Super Finals.
Stay tuned here at Pickleball Union for more information about the MLP. We’ll have a full MLP San Clemente Preview that you don’t want to miss!
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