BBL Power Rankings: Road to The O2 - Week 7 -

BBL Power Rankings: Road to The O2 – Week 7

The BBL Cup group phase is almost over as we continue our Power Rankings; looking at all 12 teams’ progression throughout the 2019-20 campaign.

London City Royals have since been joined in the last eight by Bristol Flyers and Worcester Wolves in the South, while Sheffield Sharks and Leicester Riders have locked up top-four spots in the North.

[last week’s position]

[icon name=”minus” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] 1 [1]: London City Royals (6-1)

The unbeaten run is over following a pretty major lapse down the stretch as the Royals surrendered a commanding lead to lose to their capital rivals. A 15-0 close saw London Lions prevail in a 100-99 thriller with Orlan Jackman and Ed Lucas combining for 41 points in their first defeat of the campaign.

On the verge of a top-two finish, the Royals will look for an immediate return to winning ways having announced Andrew Lawrence is set to return as they host Surrey on Saturday. Six wins from seven is still impressive and Lloyd Gardner was also named Coach of the Month for September/October following the 6-0 start.

Permutations: Qualified for the quarter-finals. One win is enough to secure a home tie in the last eight with a 2-0 H2H over Worcester and combined 3-0 record over Worcester/Bristol as things stand.

[icon name=”minus” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] 2 [2]: Leicester Riders (6-2)

Revenge against Newcastle was indeed served as Rob Paternostro’s side make it three straight wins since dropping back-to-back games at the start of October. Darrien Nelson-Henry had another strong game with 22 points in the 69-76 victory at the ECA with Namon Wright adding 19 points.

Kyron Cartwright looks almost back up to full speed after contributing 12 points, eight rebounds and nine assists as the Riders produced a strong second half effort to take the win. They finish their group schedule by hosting Glasgow on Friday before a trip to Sheffield on Sunday with the chance to wrap up the North.

Permutations: Qualified for the quarter-finals. Top-two finish very likely – one win makes sure as they just need to avoid a tie with Newcastle. If they beat Sheffield in their final game, they are guaranteed top spot, regardless of what happens in the other games.

[icon name=”minus” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] 3 [3]: Sheffield Sharks (6-2)

Sheffield put last week’s loss behind them with a comfortable 70-88 win away at Manchester Giants on Friday night. Nick Lewis led the way with 22 points with Mackey McKnight handing out 10 assists to go with 17 points to get the Sharks back on track.

A big game at home to Leicester this weekend will likely decide who wins the group and the Sharks will want to continue their impressive form at Ponds Forge ahead of the knockout phases.

Permutations: Qualified for the quarter-finals. Unlike Leicester, a top-two finish is also already secured given their head-to-head records over Cheshire/Newcastle. They could have missed out in a 3-way tie with Leicester/Cheshire but not possible given they play the Riders. Two wins seals top spot OR beating Leicester by 22 points if they lose their next game.

[icon name=”arrow-up” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] 4 [5]: Cheshire Phoenix (5-4)

Ben Thomas’ side have completed a remarkable turnaround from losing their opening four games to surging into a winning record at 5-4. Their latest victory came courtesy of another derby victory against Manchester as they came through a high-scoring game to win 96-85.

Ben Mockford shone again with 26 points with Jalen Hayes scoring 24 points as the duo both played the full 40 minutes, while Momcilo Latinovic returned from his spell on the sidelines. Karim Mouliom remains out having had surgery on his foot injury with Mike Ocherobia also out as Phoenix ran with a six-man rotation. A much needed week of rest follows before their final game.

Permutations: Cheshire are on the verge of qualification. Any loss for Glasgow would be enough and with the two teams still to play, even a one-point loss would see Phoenix finish above the Rocks on H2H. No top-two finish is possible as Leicester/Sheffield both hold the H2H records on points having split the two meetings with both sides.

[icon name=”arrow-down” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] 5 [4]: Newcastle Eagles (4-4)

Another defeat for the Eagles sees them drop to fourth, though qualification is still very much in their hands as they close out with a home and away double against Manchester. Newcastle started brightly against Leicester before falling away in the second half to go down 69-76.

Mike Morsell netted 22 points in the loss with a double-double for John Mitchell, while Rodney Glasgow sat out the clash as he awaits a new passport. Three defeats on the bounce for Ian MacLeod to contend with this as they now look to re-gain some momentum heading into the knockout rounds – should they put an end to their losing run.

Permutations: One win enough to qualify for the quarter-finals, but could advance before they play again as Glasgow need to win out due to their inferior H2H with Newcastle. A home quarter-final tie is still an outside chance as the Eagles hold the H2H over Leicester by a single point, but would need their rivals to lose both games this weekend and then win out themselves.

[icon name=”arrow-up” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] 6 [7]: Worcester Wolves (5-3)

An important win for Worcester to get back on track as they locked up a quarter-final spot. They held off Bristol in a 74-70 home success which also sealed a double over the Flyers with the head-to-head potentially deciding who gets the home tie in the last eight.

American guards Mark Hughes and Cortez Edwards netted 17 points apiece in the win, while Kofi Josephs had a tough 2 of 15 shooting night. Worcester put a second quarter blip behind them as they took the fourth 25-10 to race to the finish line, overturning a 59-67 deficit inside the final five minutes.

Permutations: Qualified for the quarter-finals. Will finish second if they better or match Bristol’s final two results, while top spot is still a possibility with two wins as long as London City drop their final three games.

[icon name=”arrow-up” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] 7 [8]: London Lions (3-4)

Here come the Lions. Back-to-back wins for the first time this season sees the defending champions jump into the top four of the South group. Jorge Romero hit the game-winner to cap a 15-0 run to snatch a 100-99 victory over previously unbeaten London City Royals before following up the result with a 80-90 triumph on the road at Plymouth Raiders.

Brandon Peel posted 23 points and 11 rebounds before being named Player of the Month for September/October with Justin Robinson adding 20 points. Back at UEL on Friday as they welcome Worcester with the aim of maintaining their new found momentum.

Permutations: The Lions have a win advantage over Plymouth as well as a game in hand, whilst also holding the head-to-head meaning that one win would be enough. However, Surrey still have a chance of getting to five wins – the two teams meet again – with the chance of a three-way tie also ensuing. With games against Worcester/Bristol at home, the chance of a home quarter-final still exists.

[icon name=”arrow-down” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] 8 [6]: Bristol Flyers (5-3)

The Flyers are advancing to the last eight in the Cup after splitting their weekend double-header. Bristol did have a 15-point lead at one stage against Worcester before falling short as they were held to just 10 points in the final quarter.

Gentrey Thomas top scored with 20 points in the loss as 22 turnovers harmed their chances of victory, but Andreas Kapoulas saw his side bounce back with a 64-71 success away at Surrey to seal qualification and they now have a weekend off with more time to prepare for their run-in.

Permutations: Qualified for the quarter-finals. Need to better Worcester’s final two results having lost both games against them, while like the Wolves they would likely need the Royals to lose their final three games – they do meet the league leaders again, though a 28-point win would be needed to claim the head-to-head.

[icon name=”minus” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] 9 [9]: Glasgow Rocks (2-5)

The good news for Glasgow was they didn’t lose at the weekend, but their top-four hopes are looking increasingly bleak as Cheshire added to their win streak. The Rocks need to win out to stand any chance and a trip to Leicester could provide the perfect platform to mount a charge into the last eight.

Permutations: Three wins needed. Anything less and the Rocks won’t be returning to the Cup final, and even then it may still not be enough. If they manage to overcome the top two in the group in their next two outings, a final showdown away at Cheshire will be decisive in determining the final spot – although a three-way tie could also develop if Newcastle split their final two.

[icon name=”minus” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] 10 [10]: Plymouth Raiders (2-6)

Make that five defeats from their last six for the Raiders as their top-four hopes continue to diminish. The Raiders were beaten by 10 at home to London Lions, despite 23 points from Rashad Hassan, while Josh Palmer enjoyed his time off the bench with four triples in a 15-point outing.

Plymouth will know more about their chances with a week off as they prepare for a make-or-break road trip to take on London City and Surrey within 24 hours. Being without Josh Wilcher has certainly proved a major blow in recent weeks.

Permutations: A double-header on the road next week has to equate to two victories or Plymouth’s competition is done. A three-way tie with Surrey could provide a lifeline with points difference a potential factor at 2-2 records.

[icon name=”minus” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] 11 [11]: Surrey Scorchers (1-5)

After picking up their first win, the Scorchers were unable to make it two from two as they were beaten at home to Bristol. Another single digit margin of defeat in going down 64-71 with their quarter-final hopes hanging by a thread. A slow start proved decisive with the Scorchers unable to really recover, despite battling back from 22 down.

Tayo Ogedengbe had 14 points in the loss with Surrey needing more firepower for their run-in and the (re) addition of Ryan Richards on a short-term deal could make a huge difference with the former NBA draft pick lighting up the BBL on his debut last season. A tough introduction with a trip to London City Royals will be one to relish.

Permutations: Not eliminated just yet. The fact their sole win came against London Lions could help in possible tie-break situations given they play again, also. Two wins from four is the bare minimum target, but even three might not be enough.

[icon name=”minus” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] 12 [12]: Manchester Giants (1-7)

The wait continues for a first ‘proper’ win of the season for the Giants and with two games to play, Danny Byrne will already have more than half an eye on the upcoming league campaign. Del’vin Dickerson put up 25 points and 10 rebounds in the 70-88 home loss to Sheffield on Friday night before adding a team-high 18 points in the 96-85 loss at Cheshire two days later.

Manchester added another Latvian to their ranks with the addition of Ronalds Elksnis in hopes of improving their fortunes having had a tough start off the court with injuries and roster changes. Two games to go and both coming against Newcastle home and away so it would be a significant scalp if the Giants are to break their duck.

Permutations: Eliminated.

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