The Friday BBL Preview: 22nd November 2013

It’s an important night in the BBL, as the last semi-finalist of the BBL Cup will be decided whilst the position for top spot in the Championship is the reward for tonight’s winner in the North East.

Wildcats @ Sharks (7:30pm tip-off – BBL Cup Quarter-Final)

Both sides come off the back of tough losses in the Championship, so a victory would give either team a huge morale boost.

Sheffield came away from the Copper Box empty-handed, unable to break the mental and physical dominance of the London Lions on their home court.

Speaking with The Star in Sheffield, head coach Atiba Lyons said: “We are still a pretty young team and mentally it showed with how we started the game and responded to Lions’ intensity.”

He also warned that Sharks “cannot be as inconsistent in this regard”, so perhaps this Cup competition could have just come at the right time for his players.

Their opponents squeezed past Cheshire Phoenix in the last round, but last weekend, the Phoenix got their own back in the league taking a 75-68 victory. However, head coach Lee Davie, speaking in the Northern Echo, feels Wildcats have jumped their hardest hurdle and will now see just how far they can go.

“We set the season goal of making it out of the first round of the cup and then putting the best cup run together we possibly can,” said Davie. “We have tremendous respect for Sheffield and we want to have our best game of the year so far on Friday night.”

Wolves @ Eagles (7:30pm tip-off)

They go in to tonight’s game as 1st and 2nd in the BBL Championship, and whilst there are many more fixtures ahead, Wolves could really smell blood here so early on in the season.

Last weekend saw the visitors to Sport Central leave Leicester Riders with one head-to-head series in the bag; now another is lying in wait, and Worcester’s head coach, Paul James, knows it will put his team into the driving seat going into Christmas with two major scalps.

“It would be incredible to come away from the Newcastle game having played them and Leicester four times and being four and zero to our advantage,” said James speaking to Worcester News

“Even if we end up being three and one, it’s still a fantastic achievement because not many teams are going to be able to do that.

“Right now it’s a happy camp and we’re right up there battling with the big two. The pressure is all on Newcastle to come away with the victory otherwise that’s the head-to-head gone for them and we’d have it over both those teams.”

Fab Flournoy admitted it would be a vital game for his Eagles, as defeat could mean a harder task come post-season in the playoffs, but it could also be the difference in getting their hands back on the regular season Championship silverware.

“They beat us the last time and as we play each other three times in a head-to-head, we don’t want them to finish the season having this up on us,” said the highly-decorated player-coach of the Eagles to the Evening Chronicle. “Losing this game could come back to bite us in the end. We do not want that.

“It’s a massive game for us and the players know that.”


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