Sides lower down the pecking order take more of a centre stage this Sunday in the BBL, but that isn’t to say there’s not plenty to fight for as; pride, positions and the playoff push are just some of what is at stake today.
United @ Lions (4:00pm tip-off)
In order for Surrey not to return to the bottom of the BBL Championship, they need a victory here, but it’s going to take a performance of epic proportions at the Copper Box in order to do so.
London Lions have only lost once at “Fortress Copper”, and with a team that has benefited from by the addition of some of the former Surrey Heat roster, there is an element of wanting to maybe prove a point here this afternoon.
Not just that, but Vince Macaulay will be well aware of the fact that a victory would see his side join Newcastle Eagles in a share of the top spot.
It doesn’t look good for United in that sense, to face a team pushing ahead, with former franchise players – no wonder bookmakers either haven’t offered odds for them to win or, at best, have Lions to win at 1-200 (William Hill, if you could even be bothered to muster up the effort).
Rocks @ Phoenix (5:30pm tip-off)
The loss of yet another member of the Cheshire roster with Gerald Robinson having departed due to an ongoing injury problem means that their line-up is looking rather thread-bare, however the victory at the Northgate, without Robinson’s presence on court, last weekend against the Wildcats will not upset head coach John Lavery too much.
Glasgow Rocks will be driven to perform well in the second of their back-to-back games on the road this weekend. Having picked up an easy 88-60 win over winless Birmingham, it could well be the preparation Sterling Davis’ men needed. They did struggle in the first half of the game on Saturday in Solihull, so a bright start is needed against an altogether better side than that of the Knights.
Although Phoenix have won the same amount of games as Glasgow and Manchester, their record sees them placed tenth in the table, so a victory over Rocks in their current form is vital if the Scottish side begin to make improvements over the coming weeks and months.
Sharks @ Giants (5:30pm tip-off)
The War of the Roses could be decided tonight at Wright Robinson College as Manchester face Sheffield.
The south Yorkshire side will have a closer foe in the form of Leeds Carnegie next season, but for now have the challenge of Jeff Jones’ Giants to deal with.
Being 1-0 up in the head-to-head series is helpful, but there will be eyes firmly fixed on the summit of the BBL Championship table as well as they sit on a 9-2 record; victory here will, like London, see them join Newcastle Eagles for a share of top spot.
For the hosts though, Manchester will know the importance of the other game in the North West at Cheshire Phoenix, but their hindrance this week is through missing two key players in Mike Bernard and Keith Page.
Injuries have been commonplace for Jones’ roster this campaign, but Bernard has undergone surgery on his knee, admittedly this was a pre-planned loss, however Page sustained concussion, and possible broken after a collision with a car whilst out on his scooter.
That all said, Manchester have had a strong record at home, winning their last three on their own court, and will take all that positivity into this evening’s encounter and keep up the chase for those spots in the playoffs.