NBL1 Men’s weekend preview: Round 15

ONLY two matches over the final round of National Basketball League (NBL)1 action is considered a “dead rubber” with the other 10 matches having something on the line for at least one of the competing sides. There is everything on the line from the first game with Hobart Huskies and Waverley Falcons going head-to-head with the loser all but out of the finals race barring some favourable results for Waverley. The Huskies must win to have any hope, whilst a third consecutive win for Waverley keeps then in contention, with the next day’s game against bottom four side North West Thunder also crucial to play finals.

Inside the top eight, the teams holding onto spots with 10 wins ahead of the Falcons are Dandenong Rangers, Melbourne Tigers and Bendigo Braves. The Rangers travel to face Kilsyth Cobras with the home side needing to win to be any hope of a double chance, then Dandenong host sixteenth placed Ringwood Hawks on Sunday. Kilsyth must also hope Geelong Supercats lose, who host Bendigo Braves, The conundrum for the Braves is, a loss and they almost certainly miss out on finals given Waverley has a game in hand.The Tigers travel to top-of-the-table Ballarat Miners, but realistically can only drop out of the top eight with Bendigo and Waverley both winning, and they have a second chance against lowly bottom two side, Eltham Wildcats.

In terms of top four calculations, three of the sides are locked in with Ballarat, Nunawading Spectres and Frankston Blues, with the Blues’ percentage likely to be enough to see them finish above Geelong even with the most unlikely of losses against last placed Southern Sabres. The importance of a win for Frankston will be grabbing a home final against Nunawading, and avoiding the remote possibility that they do drop to fourth and face Ballarat on the road. Nunawading face an equally lowly side in Eltham Wildcats this round so chances are the top three will not move. The two games that will not have any bearing on the finals race are twelfth placed Albury Wodonga Bandits hosting fourteenth placed Knox Raiders, and eleventh placed Diamond Valley Eagles hosting last placed Southern Sabres.

Round 15 fixture:

Friday, July 19:

Hobart Huskies (10th, 9-10) vs. Waverley Falcons (9th, 10-8)

Saturday, July 20:

Geelong Supercats (4th, 12-7) vs. Bendigo Braves (8th, 10-9)
Diamond Valley Eagles (11th, 8-11) vs. Southern Sabres (18th, 5-13)
Kilsyth Cobras (5th, 11-8) vs. Dandenong Rangers (6th, 10-8)
North West Thunder (15th, 7-12) vs. Waverley Falcons (9th, 10-8)
Albury Wodonga Bandits (12th, 8-11) vs. Knox Raiders (14th, 7-12)
Ballarat Miners (1st, 16-3) vs. Melbourne Tigers (7th, 10-8)
Eltham Wildcats (17th, 6-12) vs. Nunawading Spectres 2nd, (13-6)

Sunday, July 21:

Southern Sabres (18th, 5-13) vs. Frankston Blues (3rd, 13-6)
Dandenong Rangers (6th, 10-8) vs. Ringwood Hawks (16th, 6-13)
Melbourne Tigers (7th, 10-8) vs. Eltham Wildcats (17th, 6-12)

If favourites win, finals positions:

1st Ballarat Miners
2nd Nunawading Spectres
3rd Frankston Blues
4th Geelong Supercats
5th Kilsyth Cobras
6th Waverley Falcons
7th Dandenong Rangers
8th Melbourne Tigers

Week 1 finals:

QF: Ballarat Miners vs. Geelong Supercats
QF: Nunawading Spectres vs. Frankston Blues
EF: Kilsyth Cobras vs. Melbourne Tigers
EF: Waverley Falcons vs. Dandenong Rangers

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