The NBL Live cameras are also heading out and about for a debut showing in 2020/21, with Saturday's tie between Oaklands Wolves and Hemel Storm chosen as this season's curtain raiser.
You can find out more about the plans for NBL Live by clicking the button below, and there is a preview of all this weekend's games as well. Full links to live stats and live streams are available at the bottom of this page.
With both teams eager for a win this weekend, the NBL cameras will be ready and waiting to showcase what is sure to be a competitive match-up between old rivals Oaklands and Hemel.
The Wolves' only league game to date was a narrow 76-72 road loss against Nottingham Hoods, though that was some three weeks ago and has since been followed by a period of Covid-isolation.
Hemel have had no such issues, getting out on court last weekend as they saw off a competitive Reading side 112-103. Guard Mike Williams' performance of 37 points, four rebounds and a pair of assists was enough to nab him Player of the Week honours, whilst Storm teammate Greg Poleon was also chosen as part of the Rebound' Team of the Week for his play against the Rockets. Both will be a tough match-up for the Wolves tomorrow.
The teams have already met this season in the L Lynch Trophy where the hosts produced a fighting performance before being blown away in the final quarter as Storm won 107-80. Evan Walshe led the way for the Wolves in that game with 33 points, five rebounds and three assists but couldn't prevent Hemel from finishing the game on a 40-13 run to easily claim the W.
"It is great to be able to play again after our period of isolation," said Oaklands head coach Tom Baker.
"Playing Hemel is never easy and they were played extremely well last week against Reading, particularly in that blistering first quarter.
"We must be locked in, ready to compete from the get go, playing together and staying connected to our principles. Most importantly we have to go out an enjoy being able to play this game we love as who knows how many times this season we will get to do this."
Tomorrow's match-up on the South coast involves two undefeated sides battling for top spot in D1M.
Whilst Solent's rapid ascent to the top of the table is far from surprising, the early season form of coach Elderkin's Newcastle team has been a pleasant surprise to many NBL fans across the country.
Opening the season with an 83-73 victory against Derby, the Knight's then proceeded to show that their shock win over the Trailblazers was anything but a one-off. Last weekend the North East programme hit the road and won 84-76 in Leicester, showing that the newly promoted outfit are a side to be taken seriously.
Ronaldo Blain has already grabbed plenty of attention via the Rebound Team of the Week, but with former Team of the Week selection David Moya plus Charles Smith, Emmanuel Kagbenle and Brandon Federici, Newcastle have a solid core that looks comfortable at this level.
After two games Solent look every bit the team that went undefeated in the NBL last season and there's also the possibility they are even stronger than a year ago.
Travis Charles was selected as the league's Player of the Week last time the Kestrels played, and a number of the Solent roster feature heavily across the D1M stats leader boards. That includes Ian Smith (#4 for efficiency, assists), Orlan Jackman (#5 for efficiency), Brendan Okoronkwo (#8 for ppg) and Elliot Dadds (#6 for 3pt%, #8 for assists).
Four other games fill the weekend across D1M and the L Lynch Trophy, making it the busiest weekend of action so far this season.
Derby Trailblazers (1-1) host Reading Rockets (1-1) to kick off the weekend in what is sure to be a high-quality contest. Derby opened the season with a solid win against Worthing, before coming unstuck last time out against Newcastle. Reading also began their campaign with a victory against Worthing, before falling to defeat last weekend against Hemel.
The fitness of Reading guard O'Showen Williams will be an important factor after the American left the game last week with an injury, especially as the Rockets try to keep up with an explosive Trailblazers' offence led by Jacob Conway (NBL fifth best 22.0ppg) and former Player of the Week Blake Bowman.
“Reading are always tough," said Derby head coach Matt Shaw. "They’ve recruited well again and it’s quite a new look team, so we’ve got to work out a little bit more about some of their personnel, but we do know a bit about some of their players."
“I think it should be a really good game, because it gives us the chance to build on last weekend’s performance against Bradford in the L Lynch Trophy."
There's a Midland's derby to look forward to as Nottingham Hoods (1-0) welcome Loughborough Riders (0-2) at 6:00pm on Saturday.
Like former opponents Oaklands, Nottingham have also been in isolation for the last few weeks but return to action against a familiar foe in what should be a competitive game.
The Riders are yet to break into the win column in D1M following defeats to Solent and Barking, but the former NBL1 winners should be able to get up and running before too long. Especially if Team of the Week guard Kyle Jimenez can record his third triple-double in a row!
The only remaining game in D1M sees Leicester Warriors (0-1) face off against Thames Valley Cavaliers (0-0).
The Warriors haven't had much to cheer about so far this season between the league and the L Lynch Trophy, but their trio of Martyn Gayle, Leon Henry and captain Carl Pearson continues to gel and will no doubt push Leicester to better days sooner rather than later.
The Cavs are beginning their season this weekend, leaving Bradford as the sole D1M side yet to get their schedule underway. Last year's league runners up will no doubt want to begin their 2020/21 campaign with a statement win against an opponent they beat twice last year.
As we continue to box off the remaining L Lynch Trophy pool games, Sunday's only game sees BA London Lions going up against new GB call up Cameron Hildreth and the Worthing Thunder.
Leading the NBL in efficiency, points, and steals, Hildreth received a first Great Britain senior call-up by coach Marc Steutel this week, worthy recognition for the teenagers' efforts so far this season.
Whilst those performances haven't always translated into Thunder wins so far, the South Coast outfit head to Barking this weekend looking to go 2-0 in their pool. That might be easier said than done against a Lions team that are 1-1 themselves and coming off a solid 91-86 win against Loughborough in NBL1 last weekend.
3pm - Leicester Warriors v Thames Valley Cavaliers - LIVE STATS
6pm - Nottingham Hoods v Loughborough Riders - LIVE STATS
2pm - L Lynch Trophy - BA London Lions v Worthing Thunder - LIVE STATS
Main image credit - Joanne Charles
04 Dec 2020