The SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament moves on Wednesday with the 8 vs. 9 games. In the Eastern Conference, that pits the 8th-seeded Philadelphia 76ers against a team made up of players who were left off other Eastern Conference 3 on 3 squads.
Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Andrew Bynum comprise an exciting young core for the real Sixers team, and a formidable trio in this hypothetical tournament as well. But they have the misfortune of running up against a team of impressive rejects from deep rosters in Brandon Jennings, Gerald Wallace and Roy Hibbert. Hibbert's presence in particular is important, as he may be the only center in the entire Eastern Conference who can do anything about Bynum.
Yesterday in the 1 vs. 16 pairings, the panelists were unanimous and decisive in their predictions. As you might expect, it's definitely more mixed in this one.
Here's what the panel had to say:
- Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Phildelphia wins 12 of 20
- Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- East Leftovers win 13 of 20
- Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Phildelphia wins 11 of 20
- Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- East Leftovers win 11 of 20
- J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- East Leftovers win 11 of 20
- Overall probabilities -- Philadelphia 48 percent; East Leftovers 52 percent
Philly splits the first 10 games here on the strength of ET & Jrue, but it is undone down the stretch when Andrew Bynum starts taking fadeaway 18-footers from the wing every time the Sixers get the ball. That's not even a joke, it's exactly what would happen if you ever played 3 on 3 with Andrew Bynum. -- Sharp
These teams are so evenly matched. Two super quick young point guards, two talented 7-footers, two versatile wings. I had the Sixers as a sleeper pick in the East because of the Bynum matchup, but just getting out of the first round is going to be tough. -- Perrin
This one should be a dogfight with a nice duel between Holiday and Jennings, and Bynum and Hibbert. Wallace is the difference maker to me as he'll do the little things that Turner won't to help get the EAS Leftovers the series win. -- Madden
The Sixers get to play a mash-up team, and unfortunately for them I think that Bynum would be their undoing. I don't think a 3 on 3 tournament is suited for Bynum's skills because the game moves even faster than the normal 5 on 5 game. Too often Bynum would get caught out of position both on offense and defense, and as such would leave the smaller Holiday and Turner to cover the rim. On the opposite side, this is the kind of tournament where little man Brandon Jennings shines. He's quicker than most, fearless, and can shoot the ball from way downtown. Pair his quickness with Gerald Wallace's physical play and I think they can put the hurt on the Sixers. Hibbert is a good teammate who will contribute in any way he can to protect the rim and set up his teammates for open looks. -- Sherman
The Bottom Line
So the experts are split, with three picking the East Leftovers and two picking the Sixers, all calling it relatively close. The bottom line -- a 48-52 toss up -- is as close a call as we're likely to see in the first round of this tournament.
Remember, we're letting the dice decide who actually wins these games. It's important to point out in this case, since the better seeded team is not actually favored, that the first percentage will always represent the better seeded team and will be the target number for the rolls. So in this case, Philadelphia needs a roll of 48 or lower to win, and the East Leftovers are looking for a 49 or higher.
Who do you think would win this one?
The results will be posted later this afternoon.
For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.