- National Teams
The BUCS basketball season reaches its conclusion on Wednesday, with the Championship finals taking place at the University of Nottingham.
Loughborough University will be going for the three-peat, off the back of a 9-1 season, meanwhile it’s Northumbria University who will be hoping to pull off the upset.
Loughborough hold a 2-0 record against Northumbria this season, pulling off an 84-69 victory at home, before squeezing out an 82-81 victory at Northumbria. They have had multiple players step up all season, testament to their balance, but are led by Leicester Riders guard and last year’s BUCS Final MVP, Eric Robertson.
“It’s always an achievement to make another final and we hope to make the most of it,” Loughborough Head Coach Mark Jarram commented.
“Northumbria are very good team and we know we have to play a good brand of basketball to stand a chance against them. Anything can happen in a final and have to make sure the group are ready, but we will be looking to play the same way it took to get us here.”
Meanwhile, Northumbria Coach Marc Steutel is well aware of their underdog status, but is confident his team, led by Malcolm Smith, Blayne Freckleton, Lewis Champion and their new American Atif Russell, will be prepared.
“We are excited to be competing in the BUCS national final,” Steutel said. “It’s a testament to the quality of our programme and all of the people we have had involved in previous seasons that this is our third appearance in four years.
“We expect to face a talented, organised and disciplined group in Loughborough and have always had really exciting games against each other.”
Northumbria advanced to the final after a last second three-pointer in the semi-finals against Southampton Solent last week.
“After coming through a tough semi-final at Southampton last week in the final seconds I am beyond proud of this group’s resilience and togetherness,” Steutel continued. “We will have to be at our best tomorrow to be crowned national champions and I’m sure Loughborough are heavy favourites after not dropping a game all season.
“The inclusion of their BBL players adds some quality to their group, however, I believe fully in our team and I know how determined we are to finish the job. It’s set to be an exciting final and showcase British University Basketball.”
With both teams hailing from the North of the country, it continues the trend of Northern dominance over the past four years, with universities benefiting from links to the BBL and NBL.
Northumbria are also to feature in the women’s final, where they will face off against Durham; having split their regular season match ups to create an anticipated thriller from two sides hailing from the North East.
Meanwhile, in the BUCS Trophy Final, Middlesex have gone through the season unbeaten and their opponents Nottingham Trent lost just one game. Whilst in the women’s section, Sheffield Hallam lost one game and Bristol came on strong at the end of the season to win all their playoff games.
Entrance for spectators is by ticket only, with cost being £10 for adults and £5 for students and covers all four games. The games will be live streamed to YouTube, stay tuned for the links on Hoopsfix.
10.00: Sheffield Hallam v Bristol (Women’s Trophy)
12.30: Middlesex v Nottingham Trent (Men’s Trophy)
15.00: Northumbria v Durham (Women’s Championship)
17.30: Loughborough v Northumbria (Men’s Championship)