NBL Division Two Preview - Week 16 (18/19 January 2020)

10 D2M games are crammed into an exciting Saturday of action as week 16 contains a number of interesting match ups in both the Northern and Southern Conference.

Game of the week

Team Newcastle University (10-2) v Charnwood College Riders (7-4)

Third place Charnwood face a tough test on the road at league leaders Newcastle in the Northern Conference. The hosts proved to be dangerous opposition for Birmingham Elite, as they bounced back from their defeat to title rivals Manchester the week before. Thomas Horvat is a man Charnwood will want to keep quiet, his 31 points on the road last week show he fully intends on bringing his form into the new year. 

Charnwood, meanwhile, will hope there are no cobwebs to shake off on Saturday as they make their return to the court for the first time this year. They have had to wait to get the chance to bounce back from their narrow end of year defeat to Bristol Flyers on 21 December, but will want to avoid being overtaken in the table by Magic or Derbyshire arrows, who sit level on points with the visitors.

Elsewhere in D2M

Another team Charnwood will want to create a bit of breathing space between is the side who inflicted their end of year defeat, the Flyers (6-7). They go into their home clash with Derbyshire Spartans (4-8) two points off Riders, albeit having played two games more. They enjoyed a comfortable road win at Sheffield last week, but will be wary of the visitors' Ashley Ugo, whose 27 points saw them go all the way in their narrow derby defeat to Arrows last time out.

Flyers' Bristol rivals Hurricanes (2-9) host second place Myerscough (8-2), making it a tough ask to bounce back from their defeat to Chester. Myerscough have started the new year well with a National Cup win over Westminster Warriors following up a comfortable win against Spartans to start the year. 

Chester (6-5) host bottom-placed Sheffield (0-10) and will look to build on their road win at Hurricanes. It could be yet another tough trip for Sheffield who fell to their tenth defeat at home to flyers last week.

Magic (7-3) are back in action as hosts to Birmingham (5-6) and will want to make sure they are either overtaking Riders or catching up with Newcastle, depending on how the top of the table clash goes. Magic's last result was their road win at Newcastle, while Elite's was defeat to the same opposition. 

In the Southern Conference, fourth placed Pioneers (5-4) head to bottom side Cardiff Archers (2-8) hoping to bounce back from their defeat to leaders Essex Rebels. Francesco Rinaldi's 20 points wasn't enough to avoid the home loss but a similar return against a team at the other end of the table might make for a more promising outcome. It won't be easy though, after Cardiff's shock win against East London All Stars will leave them eager to get back on the court.

Ipswich (7-3) host the All Stars (4-3) on the back their win over Sussex Bears, which saw a red-hot performance from Luke Mascall-Wright. His double-double of a massive 44 points along with 14 rebounds makes him the danger man that All Stars will need to contain if they're to have any chance of atoning for their defeat in Cardiff.

That second win of the season for Archers means Bears (2-8) have one eye over their shoulder, as they face London Medelynas (6-4) level on points at the bottom of the table. Tomas Seduikis' 21 points/10 rebounds double-double left the Bears unlucky to lose to Ipswich last week, but third placed Medelynas are raring to go in their first game of the year, their last game being the thumping derby win at Pioneers on 14 December.

Also in London is Westide's (5-5) clash with Solent Kestrels II (4-7), who go into the game on the back of their impressive home win over Greenwich Titans. Ashley Williams hit 37 points as he earned the D2M Player of The Week award and will be hoping for a similar return.

Finally Titans (5-5) travel to the conference leading Rebels (9-2) and have an in form Arturo Noha Pascual at their disposal as they look to cause an upset. Pascual registered 32 points and will need a similar return if Titans are to see off the visitors. 

Full fixtures and stats

Saturday 18 January

5:00pm - Cardiff Met Archers v London Greenhouse Pioneers - LIVE STATS
5:15pm - Bristol Academy Flyers v Derbyshire Spartans - LIVE STATS
5:30pm Bristol Hurricanes v Myerscough College - LIVE STATS
5:30pm - Ipswich v East London All Stars - LIVE STATS
6:00pm - University of Chester v Sheffield Hallam University - LIVE STATS
6:00pm - London BC Medelynas v Sussex Bears - LIVE STATS
6:15pm - London Westside v Team Solent Kestrels II - LIVE STATS
6:30pm - Manchester Magic v Team Birmingham Elite - LIVE STATS
7:00pm - Team Newcastle University v Charnwood College Riders - LIVE STATS
7:00pm - Essex Rebels v Greenwich Titans - LIVE STATS

Main image credit - Joe Pinchin/Leicester Riders