NBL1 Central: Men's Round 15 Previews
A rare double header weekend will put pressure on the thin line ups and injured, as well as the referees who are probably the thinest line up of all (although certainly not in body size)
First up the Warriors will welcome back Boonstoopel and be on a high after a late, very late 3 point shot got them their first win in a long time last night against the Panthers. A welcome return to shooting form from Stanbridge and import Joe Jackon (25, 16 & 5) but will it be enough to push the back in form Sabres.
Sturt's trio of guards lived up to expectation but it was 9/11 for 19points from Max Calligeros that proved the difference last night in their comfortable win over the 2nd placed Eagles. Shooting 51% as a team certainly helped.
Unfortunately for the Warriors I think their late season winning streak will be over as soon as it begun, while many are questioning if it should have even started.
Double-Header rounds in NBL1 Central are rare, even moreso when both of those games are at Home. The Panthers return to The Shed to try and hold off the on fire Norwood Flames. After last night's results Norwood have overtaken the Panthers and moved into the 5, with a game in hand, this one is key to the Panthers chances of Finals for Season 2021. Mudronja continued his impressive form last night with 32 & 13 and Hulland continued his outside inside (mostly outside) play. Points helped but what the Panthers really need is his presence inside especially today against two imports that love to go to work around the hoop. 7 rebounds a game in the smallest NBL1 league in the country for a 7 footer simply isn't enough, especially with their leading rebounder Starling still out. The support cast also went missing last night with two players accounting for 65% of their score less than 24 hours ago.
Meanwhile Team CJ was anything but last night. While Turnage was his usual self with 17 7 & 8, the Flames had 6 players in double-figures amassing 116 points against a top 5 side in a 29 point win. Lycett was back to his Wollocott form across the court and Green will certainly present problems for the South bigs that prefer to do their work at mid-range or further.
The Flames depth will be too much in this one, pushing the Panthers further outside the 5 and almost locking in a Top 5 berth for the surging Flames.
If ever a team needed a comfortable win its the Southern Tigers right now. Their shooting form has left them, their zone defence simply not getting it done and the weaknesses in their line up standing out for all to see. Some athletic plays from Koop McCalop and Cameron Coleman couldn't hide the fact this team is in a slump. Coleman shot just 11% in his return from injury, but it was their inability to stop the Flames from running and scoring that was the concern.
The Mavs have looked much improved over recent weeks but that's considering they were a long, long way behind the rest of the League to start. Raneberg had another quality showing supporting Will Wise III and the team's bigggest surprise for the season in Tom Cromarty.
Unfortunately improvement is one thing, being competitive is another. Southern will get back on the winners list here to remain in 3rd and hopefully find their form with 3 rounds to go.
A danger game for the Rockets assuming Dech will again be missing. The Lions at home jumping out of the gates last night and finished the game off even better to knock off their closest neighbours. The Rockets again looking vulnerable relying on too few to do it all. McVeigh lead the way again but even 19 points from Dau against his old team wasn't enough as the rockets only had 4 scorers of note (excluding 2 points from Staude). Coach Nyberg may need to bite the bullet and get some minutes into his bench to take the pressure off his starters.
The Bearcats are coming off a comfortable win at Mt Barker clamping down the Mavs to just 69 points for the game. With no playing running for more than 23 minutes they should be fresh and ready to go in this one, looking for revenge for their early season loss to the out of form Rockets at the time.
I'm tipping the Bearcats to get the upset (of sorts) and be too deep and enerfetic for the tired legs of North.
Another bizare double at home this time Centrals hosting Forestville. A Brine less Eagles didn't have the numbers to go with a deep Sabres line up last night with only 4 players troubling the scorers for more than a few points. 40% against Sturt when you're giving up 51% would also be a concern. Big games from Harris and Mays will be needed in this one with some pressure on Rios and Atuer to contribute more from the backcourt.
The Lions on the other hand are 4 wins from their last 5 and after convincingly beating North last night find themselves in 4th and a realistic Finals chance awaits. The Lions big 4 again stepped up and their shooting form and athleticism will cause major problems for the Eagles missing Brandon Brine. Most Improved Player of the League Lual Diing with 19 & 12 along with major contributions from Manyang, Maharaj and Humphries will ensure the Lions home fans will be happy once more this weekend.
I'm tipping another upset of sorts with the Lions to run over the Eagles up at Gawler.