NBL1 weekend preview: Round 11

ROUND 11 marks an important time of the National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition with sides starting to drop out of the finals race, while others try and firm their place inside the top four ahead of finals.

In the men’s competition, Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence will likely need to win four of the remaining five games to book a finals place, and have two games to contend with this round, taking on fifth placed Melbourne Tigers, and seventeenth placed Ringwood Hawks. Ringwood also has a second game a day earlier against Eltham Wildcats.

Desperately needing wins on the board is North West Thunder, who got over Hobart Huskies last week, and now have two more games to try and remain in contention with a road trip to face the highly fancied Geelong Supercats, while hosting Knox Raiders on Saturday. The Raiders are doing the Tasmanian double with a Friday night clash against the Huskies on the menu as well.

The NBL1’s most in-form side, Nunawading Spectres will look to make it eight wins on the trot with games against fourth placed Kilsyth Cobras and tenth placed Waverley Falcons. The Spectres can almost assure themselves of a double chance with two wins this weekend. The Ballarat Miners will also be keen to book a double chance with a couple of wins, travelling to Bendigo on Saturday to face the Braves, before hosting Diamond Valley Eagles on Sunday.

The other games across the round include Dandenong Rangers hosting Frankston Blues, with the former keen to regain the spot they lost to the Blues after going down to cellar dwellers, Southern Sabres. The Sabres host Albury Wodonga Bandits and could make it two consecutive wins if they can knock off the sixteenth placed side.

Round 11 fixtures:

Friday, June 21:

Geelong Supercats (3rd, 9-6) vs. North West Thunder (11th, 6-7)
Hobart Huskies (15th, 5-8) vs. Knox Raiders (13th, 5-8)

Saturday, June 22:

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

Sunday, June 23:

Ballarat Miners (1st, 11-2) vs. Diamond Valley Eagles (12th, 6-8)
Nunawading Spectres (2nd, 10-3) vs. Waverley Falcons (10th, 7-5)
Ringwood Hawks (17th, 4-9) vs. Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (9th, 7-8)

In the women’s competition, the raging title favourites, Geelong Falcons host the struggling Launceston Tornadoes in a game of very different formlines. The Supercats head into the match with 12 consecutive wins, while the Tornadoes have four consecutive losses. The Tornadoes also host third placed Knox Raiders the next day which spells a tough weekend for the Tasmanian side. Fellow Tasmanian team, Hobart Huskies kept their finals hopes alive last week, and take on the Raiders on Friday night.

The match of the round is fourth placed Kilsyth Cobras going head-to-head with sixth placed Nunawading Spectres. The Cobras are on an eight-game winning streak, while the Spectres have won eight of their past 10 matches. The Spectres also host fourteenth placed Waverley Falcons the day after. The second placed Bendigo Braves host the Ballarat Rush with the latter desperate to keep their finals hopes alive. The Rush also host Diamond Valley Eagles on Sunday.

Melbourne Tigers remain in touch with the top eight, and have a winnable game against last place Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence, who also have to contend with seventh placed Ringwood Hawks. The team holding the coveted eighth spot is Eltham Wildcats, who host the Hawks, with a win to keep them in tough with the top seven, while a loss could see the gap slip to as much as three games. Albury Wodonga Bandits are another team in contention with the top eight, and will hope to snap a four-game losing streak, but face the Southern Sabres who leap from the bottom two on the table last week to fifteenth following an upset win over the out-of-sorts Dandenong Rangers. The Rangers hope to bounce back against ninth placed Frankston Blues who can jump to eighth with a Wildcats loss. In the other game, seventeenth placed Diamond Valley Eagle could make it back-to-back wins after jumping off the bottom if they can account for Waverley Falcons.

Round 11 fixtures:

Friday, June 21:

Geelong Supercats (1st, 14-1) vs. Launceston Tornadoes (16th, 3-10)
Hobart Huskies (12th, 5-8) vs. Knox Raiders (3rd, 10-3)

Saturday, June 22:

Bendigo Braves (2nd, 13-1) vs. Ballarat Rush (13th, 5-8)
Dandenong Rangers (5th, 9-5) vs. Frankston Blues (9th, 6-8)
Diamond Valley Eagles (17th, 2-12) vs. Waverley Falcons (14th, 3-9)
Eltham Wildcats (8th, 7-7) vs. Ringwood Hawks (7th, 9-4)
Kilsyth Cobras (4th, 9-4) vs. Nunawading Spectres (6th, 9-4)
Melbourne Tigers (11th, 6-7) vs. Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (18th, 2-13)
Launceston Tornadoes (16th, 3-10) vs. Knox Raiders (3rd, 10-3)
Southern Sabres (15th, 3-10) vs. Albury Wodonga Bandits (10th, 6-7)

Sunday, June 23:

Ballarat Rush (13th, 5-8) vs. Diamond Valley Eagles (17th, 2-12)
Nunawading Spectres (6th, 9-4) vs. Waverley Falcons (14th, 3-9)
Ringwood Hawks (7th, 9-4) vs. Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (18th, 2-13)

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