NBL Playoffs: All the D1 & D2, D3 weekend action

The playoffs are here, and for some, they're already underway.

NBL Division One, Two and Three plus WNBL Division One and Two are all now battling towards Manchester's National Basketball Performance Centre for the Senior Playoff Finals on 27 & 28 April 2024.

The opening round of the 16-team D3 playoffs is in the books, plus one D2M game as St Helen's beat Richmond in a thriller, with the other competitions set to get underway this coming weekend.

We take a look forward to next week's match up, whilst also recapping the action from the last few days.

Live stats for D1M, D1W and D2M can be found HERE.

NBL Division One

Regular season champions Derby Trailblazers enter the post-season as the #1 seeds but won't have long to celebrate as they welcome local neighbours and #8 seeds Nottingham Hoods next weekend.

Essex Rebels took the title race to the final day of the season before coming up empty handed. They'll need to put that disappointment to one side as they entertain KitKing Trophy finalists Bradford Dragons and D1M's top scorer during the regular season, Ronald Blain (23.9PPG).

Hemel Storm may have lost their regular season crown but their playoff title defence starts with a home tie against #6 seeds Loughborough Riders, a team who surprised them on Opening Day back in October to record a surprise 92-87 victory.

The other tie for this weekend sees two well-matched teams in #4 Reading Rockets and #5 Newcastle University locking horns once again. That pair battled for a top four spot across the last few months of the regular season before Reading got the upper hand, no doubt Newcastle would love a bit of retribution for that one.

WNBL Division One

#8 seeds Bristol Academy Flyers have the difficult task of taking a trip to #1 Endeavour Ipswich Basketball this weekend, a side they lost 85-72 last month after Harriet Welham's 41 point outburst.

The winner of that contest will face either #4 seeds Brent Bulls or #5 seeds Loughborough Riders, with those two teams meeting in North West London to decide who will progress.

#2 Thames Valley Cavaliers highlight the bottom of the draw and entertain #7 Anglia Ruskin University, a team who won the playoffs as recently as 2018/19. TVC have had no problem with the Cambridge side this season though, beating them by 25 or more in both meetings this year.

2021/22 playoff champs CoLA Southwark Pride will also be looking to add to their tally of three post-season titles. That journey starts at home to #6 Reading Rockets, who went 11-10 during the regular season.

NBL Division Two

The D2M playoff bracket is confirmed, with one game already taking place as last season's finalists St Helens Saints booked their spot in the next round after a thrilling 81-80 victory against South #3 seeds Richmond Knights.

Elsewhere, North winners Bristol Hurricanes face a home tie against South #4 seeds Cardiff Met Archers, with South champs Milton Keynes Breakers doing the same against North #4 foes Teesside Lions.

That just leaves Team Solent Kestrels to entertain Manchester Magic in a battle between two former NBL Division One title winners.

The opportunity for a rematch of Solent against Milton Keynes in Manchester is also still on the cards, with the two sides in opposite sides of the bracket after battling each right to the very end of the regular season for top spot in the South.

#1 Bristol Hurricanes will no doubt have something to say about those kinds of predictions though, given their outstanding regular season.

WNBL Division Two

Sheffield Hatters II (18-0) completed their perfect season to win Pool 1, with Cobham Cobras (20-2) coming through to win Pool II.

As has been the case for much of the season, Cobham were pushed hard by London All Stars (19-3) before eventually prevailing as both teams now sail into the post-season.

Behind the Hatters' dominance was a group of Worcester Wolves (15-3), University of East Anglia (13-5) and Bromsgrove Bears (10-6), who all make it safely though.

East London Phoenix (16-6) and Thames Valley Cavaliers II (14-7) are the other Pool II teams to qualify for the playoffs. rounding out this year's field.

That means Sheffield Hatters' title defence will begin at home to Thames Valley Cavaliers II, with fellow league winners Cobham Cobras hosting Bromsgrove Bears.

Elsewhere, East London Phoenix will travel to Worcester Wolves gunning for an upset, whilst London All Star welcome University of East Anglia.

NBL Division Three

The opening round of the D3 playoffs is now completed, with 16 teams being whittled down to eight following this past weekend's action.

The only upset to be found was for #9 Nottingham Trent Hoods who beat #8 Leeds LDM 110-72, and their reward is to move on and face #1 seeds Essex Rebels II, who beat Tees Valley Mohawks 101-89.

Cardiff City found a way past Kent Crusaders 79-70, and they'll host #5 seeds Loughborough Riders, who beat Islington Panthers 99-92 behind 36 points from Chester Morrell.

#2 seeds seeds Barney Bulldogs are also safely through, they beat Plymouth Marjon Patriots in a 109-102 thriller, as are #3 seeds Liverpool, who knocked off University of Hertfordshire Storm 93-77.

That just leaves East London Phoenix, who will move on to play Barnet after their 76-67 triumph over Cheshire Wire, whilst Crawley Storm will travel to Liverpool after besting #11 seeds Greenhouse Sports 112-70.