NBL1 Preview: Week 22 (27/28 March 2021) - live streams, stats and more

What a weekend of NBL action there is coming up in week 22!

There's a match-up between the top two as Solent travel to Thames Valley, an NBL Live double header that includes Reading's trip to Hemel and Oaklands v Derby, plus there's five other games to make up the rest of a packed schedule!

We take a look at all the weekend's games below, with links to live stats and live streams at the bottom of the page.

Thames Valley Cavaliers (13-1) v Team Solent Kestrels (13-0)

First travels to second tomorrow as Thames Valley and Solent go head-to-head for the second time in as many weeks.

The two sides met in Leicester's Morningside Arena last Saturday for the final of the L Lynch Trophy, with the Kestrels coming out on top 87-78.

It kept alive Solent's undefeated NBL streak, which is now past two years and counting, but if anyone is likely to topple the South coast side right now it's TVC.

Solent's Andre Arissol won the MVP of last weekend's L Lynch Trophy Final (Luke Simcock)

The Cavs will no doubt have spent plenty of time studying last weekend's final, looking for ways to potentially improve this time around.

In truth, coach Banks' side were highly competitive in the first half of that game, leading for large portions before fading after the break. Losing the second half 41-33, with a 23-12 third quarter, is one area for potential improvement.

Giving up 46 points in the paint (52% of Solent's total) is likely another area of concern, though it's no easy feat slowing down the likes of Travis Charles (18.4ppg) and Ian Smith (14.3ppg), both of which do plenty of damage around the rim.


NBL Live

There's double-header NBL Live action for fans to enjoy this weekend as our cameras are in Hemel and Oaklands for a pair of highly-anticipated games.

Hemel Storm (11-4) currently sit in third place, and with either Solent or Thames Valley guaranteed to pick up a loss this weekend, they'd love to close the gap to one of those teams as they welcome  Reading Rockets (6-9).

The Rockets are coming off the back of a narrow home loss to the Cavs, going down 89-86 in a game that could have gone either way. No side led by more than five points in the final four minutes, but it was TVC that held on for the win.

Still, it shows the quality that Reading have at their disposal and they'll be more than ready for the Storm and Greg Poleon (24.9ppg) on Saturday evening.

On Sunday, the action moves a 10 minute drive down the road to Oaklands College as the Oaklands Wolves (3-12) welcome Derby Trailblazers (11-4).

The two sides met in the Midlands a fortnight ago, with Derby taking a 124-93 win. That offensive tally tied a Blazers' record for highest number of points scored in a non-overtime league match, something the Wolves will need to prevent this time around.

“We’re getting into the business end of the season, so for us, it’s about trying to peak around the time of the play-offs and make sure we’re playing our best basketball by that stage," said Derby head coach Matt Shaw.

“Going to Oaklands has the potential to be a difficult game. They’ve not had as many wins as they would’ve liked, but they’ve been in a lot of games, some of them right through to the latter stages."

Oaklands head coach Thomas Baker added: "Another break in our season last weekend gives us a chance to reflect, as we enter the latter stages we still have some work to do in order to improve defensively and we will continue to push until the last game of the season."

Elsewhere this weekend

Five other games complete the schedule, beginning with Loughborough Riders (6-9) against Bradford Dragons (6-8),

Bradford won the first match up between these two sides in mid-February, snatching an 80-79 victory thanks to 19 points from Ricky Fetske.

The Riders will no doubt want some revenge for that one, and have momentum on their side having won three games in a row.

Oaklands begin their double-header weekend on the road against Leicester Warriors (5-10).

After a slow start to the season, the Warriors have really kicked on in recent weeks to win five of their last six. The Wolves did take the last meeting between these sides, coming out on top 108-101 in January, but Leicester are a different beast these days.

A pair of victories last weekend means BA London Lions (6-8) are another team in form, winning four of their last five.

They travel to Essex Rebels (5-9), a side the Lions have already beaten 118-72 to begin their schedule in 2021. A repeat score line seems unlikely here, with the Rebels playing much better in recent weeks.

Team Newcastle University (10-5) suffered defeat last weekend to playoff rivals Derby, and will need to bounce back at they entertain Worthing Thunder (5-10).

A near six hour trip up the country will be a difficult one for Worthing, who are 1-3 in their last four but did win last weekend at home to Essex.

Newcastle have been strong at home, going 7-1 this season on their own court and the Knights haven't lost in the North East since November. That'll make Worthing's trip even more daunting.

The weekend closes with Loughborough and Essex completing double-headers as they face off on Sunday afternoon

These sides are yet to meet this season, though only two points separates the Riders (sixth) from the Rebels (11th) in the standings. That's sure to make for an exciting match up to wrap the weekend.

This weekend's fixtures:

Saturday 27 March

1:30pm - Loughborough Riders v Bradford Dragons - LIVE STATS/ LIVE STREAM
3pm - Leicester Warriors v Oaklands Wolves - LIVE STATS
3pm - Essex Rebels v BA London Lions - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM
4pm - Team Newcastle University v Worthing Thunder - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM LOCATION
5pm - Hemel Storm v Reading Rockets - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM
6:30pm - Thames Valley Cavaliers v Team Solent Kestrels - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM

Sunday 28 March

3:30pm - Oaklands Wolves v Derby Trailblazers - LIVE STATS/ LIVE STREAM
3:30pm - Essex Rebels v Loughborough Riders - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM

Main image credit - Luke Simcock