NBL1 & National Cup preview: 9/10 December - live streams, NBL Live, stats and more

There's plenty to like across the league this weekend, with a number of exciting league games tomorrow before a pair of Cup ties on Sunday.

12 of the league's 13 teams are all in action tomorrow, highlighted by a top four clash between Essex and Loughborough, before the last two Round of 16 games in the NBL National Cup move to the fore 24 hours later.

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

Essex Rebels (7-1) vs Loughborough Riders (6-3)

Surprise leaders Essex Rebels will look to keep the good times rolling tomorrow as they welcome fellow top four outfit Loughborough Riders.

After missing the playoffs and finishing with an 8-18 record a year ago, few would have pegged the Rebels to be leading the standings as the campaign nears the halfway stage, but Essex have been good value for their lofty position after solid wins over the likes of Reading, Bradford and Nottingham Hoods.

Loughborough were on course for topping the standings themselves before a home-and-away double header weekend against the Hoods where Johde Campbell drove Nottingham to a pair of wins. That left the Riders with three losses to their name and needing the likes of Essex, Derby and Reading to drop points in the title race.

The Riders have that mission in their own hands tomorrow, but to seal what would be a valuable win they'll have to find a way to solve Essex's league-best defence. The Rebels allow just 80.4PPG this season, whilst still shooting an impressive 46.2% from the field at the other end.

Dynamic duo Elias Poorman and Luke Busumbru were both in the most recent Rebound Team of the Week and are a pair in form right now, and sharpshooting Connor Nelson was also a Player of the Week last month.

The Riders have plenty of talent on their roster as well. Elijah Bailey (21.0PPG) is in the league's top ten scorers, and Justin Hedley (19.7PPG, 8.0RPG, 4.9APG) is one of the D1M's most dynamic guards.

Loughborough need a win to keep their title charge alive, but Essex are a tough nut to crack, especially on their own court. That'll all add to what should be a high-quality contest tomorrow evening.


Elsewhere this weekend

Reigning Rebound Player of the Week and D1M's top scorer Logan Rooney (24.8PPG) will lead Newcastle University (4-2) at home against in-form Reading Rockets (6-1). With only two losses to their name and with games in hand, a strong December could really set the North East side up for a title push in 2024.

Bradford Dragons (3-6) entertain another in-form side in the shape of Derby Trailblazers (6-2), who look to have one of the signings of the season at the half way stage in the shape of American guard Sam Masten (23.5PPG, 5.8APG, 5.3RPG)

London Elite (2-6) picked up a vital win against City of Birmingham last time out and will look to build on that this weekend with a home tie against Nottingham Hoods (5-4).

Two teams who sit inside the bottom four also face off tomorrow as Thames Valley Cavaliers (2-7) welcome Worthing Thunder (2-5).

Despite lofty ambitions and recent successes heading into this year, neither side has been able to find form in the first half for season and will be hoping for a serious course correction in 2024.

The day closes with reigning champs Hemel Storm (5-3) trying to keep pace with the leading pack, with City of Birmingham Rockets (4-3) standing in Hemel's way of a sixth win of the season.

National Cup

The round of 16 is nearly completed, with just two ties needing a resolution to confirm the field for the quarter-finals.

There's an all-D1M clash on Sunday as Newcastle University host KitKing Trophy finalists Bradford Dragons in the North East, and the round wraps up with D3 South standouts Barnet Bulldogs trying to stage an upset of D1 strugglers Thames Valley Cavaliers.

Derby Trailblazers, Reading Rockets, Essex Rebels and Barking Abbey have already got their names in the hat for the next round, with Worthing Thunder ending the run of defending champs Hemel Storm to do the same.

Last weekend's tie between Milton Keynes Breakers and Nottingham Hoods has been conceded by the Hoods.

The draw for the quarter-finals will be conducted early next week once the current round has concluded, with QF ties to be played on 17/12/2023.

This weekend's fixtures:

Saturday 9 December - D1M

2pm - Newcastle University vs Reading Rockets - LIVE STATS

6:15pm - Bradford Dragons vs Derby Trailblazers - LIVE STATS

6:30pm - London Elite vs Nottingham Hoods - LIVE STATS

6:30pm - Thames Valley Cavaliers vs Worthing Thunder - LIVE STATS

6:30pm - Essex Rebels vs Loughborough Riders - LIVE STATS

7pm - Hemel Storm vs City of Birmingham Rockets - LIVE STATS

Sunday 10 December - NBL National Cup

3pm - Newcastle University vs Bradford Dragons

3pm - Thames Valley Cavaliers vs Barnet Bulldogs


Main image credit - Kay Lu