The NBL Division One invitational competition, which is run and administered by NBL1 clubs and sanctioned by BE, completed the initial group stage this past weekend and will now move on to a knockout format later this month.
Defending NBL champs Solent topped group one to qualify, sporting an unbeaten record, with South coast neighbours Worthing Thunder also progressing.
Group two was hard-fought, with Reading, Thames Valley and Hemel all closing with a 2-1 record. However, tiebreakers put the Rockets top of the group, followed by the Cavaliers, with Hemel left on the outside looking in.
Nottingham Hoods finished bottom of D1M last season but look a different team this year, winning their group with three wins from three, as Loughborough also move on.
Finally, Team Newcastle University and Derby Trailblazers have moved on from group four. The deciding contest between the two sides to settle their order as #1 and #2 seeds was originally postponed, and with the group stage now finished, this game has been voided. A decision was made to flip a coin to separate the pair of 2-1 sides, with Newcastle emerging victorious.
Solent v Thames Valley is a repeat of last season’s final, where the Kestrels emerged as 87-78 winners, with Andre Arissol sealing the MVP award with a 24 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals stat line.
Loughborough made it to the semi-finals last year and will be hoping to go one step further in 2021/22, though a road trip to Reading a tough match-up for any team.
There’s a local derby between two Midlands sides as the resurgent Hoods take on the Trailblazers.
Main image credit - Todd Lindley