The Sunday BBL Preview: 8th December 2013

A huge Sunday of BBL action today with games up and down the country featuring all bar two teams, so plenty of change could be on the horizon by the end of play later tonight.

Knights @ Lions (4:00pm tip-off)

The two largest cities in the country are represented in this clash – one more established, not to mention exceedingly more successful so far this season in London Lions, and the other rooted in a non-battle for the bottom spot in Birmingham Knights.

Lions will be keen to keep up with the leading pack having had a wonderful 2013 at their new Copper Box Arena, but were left to lick their wounds from defeat away to the recovering Glasgow Rocks last weekend.

Paul Douglas’ Knights know they have a mountain to climb and need to start putting in competitive performances as the series with Surrey draws nearer. However, having had two weeks off to prepare for this away trip, will they be able to walk away from the Lions’ den with a victory – or will they be torn to shreds?

Eagles @ Wildcats (4:00pm tip-off)

After their rout of Surrey United on Friday night, it was a perfect prelude to this North East derby. There is plenty more on the line in this fixture though compared to previous seasons.

Having won three home games in a row prior to the visit of Worcester Wolves last weekend, Lee Davie’s side are not one to be taken lightly. A victory to tie the head-to-head series and possibly secure their first ever win over Newcastle – not to mention staying ahead of the rest as other below them also battle it out between them this afternoon and this evening.

Fab Flournoy’s men can join Wolves at the top of the BBL Championship on a 10-3 record (if Sheffield lose at Plymouth), and having shaken off the away day blues on Friday, as Malik Cooke got back to his best, Flournoy will hope this momentum carries on through.

Sharks @ Raiders (4:00pm tip-off)

The journey back from Leicester on Saturday night will have felt like it took longer than it really did after Plymouth Raiders were knocked out of the BBL Cup, but they cannot let that result hamper them too much as finding their way back in to contention for a home berth in the post-season play-offs is back on the agenda.

A loss for Plymouth would see the table spread wide open, but a W on the board would have them back in with the leading group.

Sheffield’s long trip down to Devon will not want to suffer the curse of the coach of the month award, which Atiba Lyons this week won for November. His charges won six from seven last month, but across the season, they have only lost away from home.

They could seal the head-to-head with a victory at Pavilions, which would also give them the overall Championship lead as a result of their better record over Worcester, and potentially, Newcastle.

United @ Phoenix (5:30pm tip-off)

Surrey, whilst still sat at the bottom of the table with a 0-12 record, have improved in their defeats over the last week or so, as Brandon McGill has settled in to the side, but the fired up Cheshire Phoenix stunned the league last weekend with their victory over Newcastle Eagles.

That win was also boosted by the news late this week that Latvian forward, Richard Rozinsh, was also joining the ranks. This could give Cheshire the last piece of their rotation puzzle; as much of an unknown quantity Donatas Visockis was last week, we will find out just what Rozinsh has to offer.

Rocks @ Giants (5:30pom tip-off)

This could be the game of the night as both sides come in to this fixture desperate for points, particularly as this could be a deciding head-to-head later on in the season.

Glasgow have the upper hand, winning the previous meeting at the start of November, and a run of three victories has seen them claw their way up the table since altering their roster bringing in GB talent, Alex Marcotullio.

Manchester know that a defeat could prove costly in the fight for eighth spot, and if they were to lose this game and next week’s North West derby, that may put tremendous pressure on Jeff Jones and his squad to fight their way back in to any contention for a play-off place come April. After having lost out on signing Nick George, this tonight is a game to be won at all costs.

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