NBL1 preview: 16/17 March - live streams, stats and more

It's getting tight at the top, though Derby just need to hold their nerve a little while longer.

Last weekend's loss to Hemel was a bump in the road but the Trailblazers still hold their title destiny in their own hands.

The battle for playoff seedings is also heating up and we've got the NBL Live cameras out and about to cover a key clash there, plus there are four teams within four points of each other for the eighth and final post-season spot.

Tomorrow also hosts the final of the KitKing Trophy between Derby and Bradford, and we've got a preview of that clash as well.

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

Loughborough Riders (11-9) vs Essex Rebels (16-3)

Title-chasing Essex head to Loughborough tomorrow hoping to put on a show for the NBL Live cameras.

Due to not owning the tiebreaker against leaders Derby, Essex know they need the Trailblazers to drop at least one of their remaining games between now and the end of the season, also ensuring they don't lose any themselves in the process

That includes tomorrow's test in Loughborough against a Riders side that are still trying to nail down a top six spot.

Victor Olarerin made the most recent Rebound Team of the Week thanks to his 25 point, 27 efficiency effort last time out, and the former Nottingham and Thames Valley guard will no doubt need to play another key role for his side tomorrow.

The Rebels currently lead D1M with a low of 79.4PPG allowed, and that defensive intensity will no doubt serve them well once again this weekend.

Loughborough are 2-3 across their last five and that form plus their midtable position suggests they have the quality to beat teams on their day but perhaps still need one or two pieces to be in the mix at D1M's summit.

In Elijah Bailey (20.1PPG) and Justin Hedley (19.3PPG, 4.8APG), Loughborough have two of the league's top ten scorers, and both will need to be at their best against an Essex team will no margin for error.

With five games to go, and with home and away dates will Hemel still to navigate, Essex can't afford a single slip up. Don't expect Loughborough to be welcoming hosts though as they continue their fight for playoff seedings.


Elsewhere this weekend

At 1-8 across their last nine games Nottingham Hoods (7-12) are now on the outside of the playoff picture. They'll try to pick up a much-needed win to start the weekend against London Elite (3-17).

Two teams who would prefer to look up rather than down are Worthing Thunder (6-13) and Thames Valley Cavaliers (7-14). Both sit close to the relegation places, the duo meet on the South coast tomorrow with potential playoff ideas still in mind should they hit form in their last few games.

City of Birmingham Rockets (8-12) are hitting form at just the right time to squeeze back into the playoff picture. That momentum will be put to the test this weekend with a visit from defending champs Hemel Storm (15-4).

Sunday's only game sees two teams locked in a top-four battle going head-to-head as Reading Rockets (13-7) welcome Newcastle University (13-7) in a clash that is valuable for the two points as well as deciding the tiebreaker between the two sides.

This weekend's fixtures:

Saturday 16 March

4pm - Loughborough Riders vs Essex Rebels - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM

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

7:30pm - Worthing Thunder vs Thames Valley Cavaliers - LIVE STATS

7:30pm - City of Birmingham Rockets vs Hemel Storm - LIVE STATS

KitKing Trophy Final - 7pm -  Bradford Dragons vs Derby Trailblazers - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM

Sunday 17 March

4pm - Reading Rockets vs Newcastle University - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM


Main image credit - Luke Simcock