The penultimate stages of the 2012 BBL Championship season is about to unfold today as the remaining four teams start their drive to the title.
The top-seeded Newcastle Eagles, who are looking to justify their dominance this season, will be going up against the Cheshire Jets, while the Glasgow Rocks and the Leicester Riders slug it out on the other semifinals pairing.
The Eagles are expected to be the heavy favorite heading into their matchup against the Jets, but Newcastle guard Andrew Bridge said that they have no time to rest on their laurels against a dangerous squad like Cheshire, a team that defeated them recently.
“Jets usually run a pretty short rotation,” Bridge said. “If they all stay out of foul trouble you know who’ll play. They play well as a team with different top scorers, which is good for them. But we’ll be ready after they beat us last time, and apparently they wanted to play against us.”
Jets forward Colin O’Reilly, on the other hand, also admitted that beating the top-seeded Eagles is a gargantuan task, but they will up to the challenge despite the tall odds against them.
“It’s the toughest match-up we could have got, and we have to play a perfect game over the two legs,” O’Reilly said. “Even if we do that, it will still be tight at the end, but if you want to win it, you have to beat the best on the way.”
The Eagles will host the Jets on Friday at the Sports Central before travelling to the Northgate Arena on Sunday for the second leg.
Meanwhile, the Glasgow Rocks and the Leicester Riders will also start their semis showdown today with Glasgow hosting Leicester in the first leg.
The Rocks are seeded higher, but the Riders have defeated them twice in their three showdowns this season, making Riders guard Bradd Wierzbicki cautious about their matchup.
“We’re very familiar with them,” Wierzbicki said, “They’ve beaten us twice and the only time we beat them they weren’t at full strength. To me, they’re not a five seed. If they’d been healthy all season they’d have been challenging for a top spot for sure.”
The Riders will host the second leg on Sunday at the Loughborough University.