NBL1 preview: 18/19 March 2023 - live streams, stats and more

With the KitKing Trophy final now completed, all eyes are back on D1M and the end of the regular season.

Hemel could claim the title this weekend if results go their way, but if they don't it only appears a matter of time until Storm are confirmed as winners given their current unbeaten record.

Hemel's trip to bottom side Westminster is part of nine games across the weekend, with second place Worthing in double-header action as well.

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

Reading Rockets (13-9) vs Manchester Magic (4-18)

Reading have another opportunity to further their top-four aspirations on Sunday as they host Manchester Magic.

The former D2 North winners have had a rough reintroduction to the top tier, struggling near the foot of the table for most of the campaign.

With just four games left on their season and a four-point deficit to make up on London Lions II in 12th, Manchester could be facing the potential of an immediate return to D2. The Lions also control the head-to-head tiebreaker between the sides, meaning Magic likely need to win at least three of their remaining games to avoid finishing in the bottom two.

That tall order begin this weekend with a trip to Reading, who are chasing a spot in the top four and a home opener in the playoffs.

At 4-1 across their last five games, the Rockets are hitting form at just the right time. American Troy Cracknell made the most recent Rebound Team of the Week after his 28 point, 19 rebound performance against Westminster last time out, and he'll be hoping for more of the same this weekend.

That said, the Berkshire side lost to Magic last time they played, a 67-66 thriller back in mid-December. Manchester captain Andre Gayle had 17 points and 14 boards that day, and averages 16.7PPG and 9.5RPG as the Magic's standout player on the season.

If the North West side can get the better of the Rockets for a second time remains to be seen, but if they can't, it could be curtains for Manchester's brief return to D1M.


Elsewhere this weekend

Worthing Thunder (18-3) need to put the disappointment of last weekend's KitKing Trophy final loss to bed as they open the weekend with a long trip North to Team Newcastle University (11-11), who are fighting hard to cement a playoff spot.

Thunder make a stop in the capital on Sunday, playing a London Lions II (6-16) team that are within touching distance of guaranteeing their place in D1M for next season.

The Lions are also in double-header action, starting their weekend tomorrow with a visit from Thames Valley Cavaliers (11-12) and reigning Player of the Week Bode Adeluola.

There's a top-plays-bottom clash as Westminster Warriors (2-20) entertain Hemel Storm (22-0), with the unstoppable Aaryn Rai set to continue his push for Player of the Season honours.

Essex Rebels (7-15) have little left to play for, unlikely to make the playoffs but safe from the relegation fight below. They host Loughborough Riders (12-10), who are still in touch with the top four.

Nottingham Hoods (11-14) will be the first team to finish their schedule tomorrow as they host Team Solent Kestrels (11-11), and Saturday ends with third place Derby Trailblazers (16-5) hosting playoff-chasing Bradford Dragons (11-11).

Sunday contains Reading vs Manchester and Worthing vs London as mentioned above, plus one other game as Bradford and Essex both double up to complete two game weekends.

This weekend's fixtures:

Saturday 18 March

3pm - Team Newcastle University vs Worthing Thunder - LIVE STATS

5pm - London Lions II vs Thames Valley Cavaliers - LIVE STATS

5:30pm - Westminster Warriors vs Hemel Storm - LIVE STATS

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

6:30pm - Nottingham Hoods vs Team Solent Kestrels - LIVE STATS

7:30pm - Derby Trailblazers vs Bradford Dragons - LIVE STATS

Sunday 19 March

3pm - London Lions II vs Worthing Thunder - LIVE STATS

4pm - Reading Rockets vs Manchester Magic - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM

4:15pm - Bradford Dragons vs Essex Rebels - LIVE STATS


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Main image credit - Luke Simcock