NBL Division Two Preview - Week 17 (25/26 January 2020)

Things are heating up in D2M ahead of week 17, as we start to see the finish line of the season. There's some double game-weeks for teams looking to push up the table, while things are looking a bit different at the bottom of the Southern Conference.

Game of the week

Greenwich Titans (5-6) v London Greenhouse Pioneers (5-5)

Titans take on Pioneers on Sunday with a chance to overtake them in the table, as part of a double game week for them.

Pioneers sit above them in mid table only on points difference, and with a game the day before against London Medelynas, Titans can make some progress up the standings with a couple of positive results.

Arturo Noha Pascual’s 25 points wasn’t enough for Titans to avoid defeat to Essex Rebels last week, but he will be hoping a similar return in their two match ups will put his side on the right side of the scoreboard.

Pioneers’ Yonathan Napoleon will be thinking the same as his side try to get over their defeat to Cardiff Archers. A 34 points, 13 rebound double-double left him unlucky to finish on the losing side, making it another case of same return, different result on Sunday.

Elsewhere in D2M

London Medelynas (7-4) have a double game week of their own, taking on the East London All Stars (4-4) after their clash with Titans. They started their year with a big win over Sussex Bears last week and have second placed Ipswich in their sights, with the chance to overtake them should they claim to wins this weekend.

Sussex Bears (2-9) go into this weekend bottom of the Southern Conference after that defeat and host fifth placed London Westside (5-5). The visitors have lost their last three games and have suffered defeats to Pioneers and Titans in the New Year as both teams have plenty to prove this weekend.

Conference leading Essex Rebels (10-2) travel to Solent Kestrels II (4-7) in fine form, as they look to build on their two wins so far in 2020. Kestrels had a week off with a postponed fixture but an impressive win over Titans last time out will give them hope of pulling off a shock.

Cardiff Met Archers (3-8) are on the road to second placed Ipswich (8-3) after two wins in a row have lifted them off the bottom of the table. Panagiotis Karras is the Archers man in form with 23 points last week, while the hosts have Luke Mascall-Wright looking to improve on his 31 points in last weeks win over Pioneers.

In the Northern Conference, Manchester Magic (8-3) face Sheffield Hallam in the first of their double header weekend, before travelling to Derbyshire Arrows on Sunday. Magic are on three straight wins and have an in-form Luke Gordos in their armoury, whose 25 points saw off Birmingham Elite in week 16. Two wins in week 17 will really ramp up the pressure on Myerscough and Newcastle above them in the table.

Birmingham (5-7) , meanwhile, will aim to get over the Magic defeat at Charnwood College Riders (7-5). Riders also come into the game on the back of a defeat at the hands of leaders Newcastle, but Blaize Sagna’s 25 point, 18 rebound double-double makes him the danger man that the visitors will need to contain.

Thomas Horvat is in red-hot form with 31 and 37 points in his last two outings for Newcastle (11-2), who travel to Bristol Hurricanes (2-10). Hurricanes have dropped off in form after ending and starting their year with wins and it will be a tough ask to get back to winning ways against the strong looking leaders.

Finally, Chester (7-5) are on the road to Derbyshire Spartans (5-8) following a convincing 100-51 win against bottom side Sheffield Hallam last week, while Spartans enjoyed a thrilling overtime win against Flyers. Chester are now up to fourth and will want to keep building momentum to chase down those higher in the table.

Full fixtures and stats

Saturday 25 January

2:20pm - Sheffield Hallam University v Manchester Magic - LIVE STATS
3:30pm - Charnwood College Riders v Team Birmingham Elite - LIVE STATS
5:00pm - Sussex Bears v London Westside - LIVE STATS
5:30pm - Bristol Hurricanes v Team Newcastle University - LIVE STATS
6:00pm - Team Solent Kestrels II v Essex Rebels - LIVE STATS
7:00pm - BC Medelynas London v Greenwich Titans - LIVE STATS
8:30pm - Derbyshire Spartans v University of Chester - LIVE STATS

Sunday 26 January

1:30pm - East London All Stars v BC Medelynas London - LIVE STATS
3:00pm - Greenwich Titans v London Greenhouse Pioneers - LIVE STATS
4:15pm - Derbyshire Arrows v Manchester Magic - LIVE STATS
5:30pm - Ipswich Basketball v Cardiff Met Archers - LIVE STATS

Main image credit - Sussex Bears