Four clubs are just eighty minutes from the first final of the season, after the BBL Cup semi-finalists were confirmed at the weekend.
The first semi-final sees Worcester Wolves take on Plymouth Raiders.
The Wolves are in their first ever BBL Cup semi-final, while Plymouth ended Sheffield’s control over the competition last week with a dramatic 87-85 victory at EIS Sheffield, the Sharks having won the competition in each of the last two seasons.
Worcester thrashed last year’s finalists Mersey Tigers 91-62 on Friday and are now in touching distance of their first final since joining the BBL in 2006.
Plymouth, part of the BBL since 2004, do have final experience, but it came in the form of a 103-49 hiding at the hands of the then Everton Tigers, which remains the biggest ever Cup final defeat.
Only Newcastle stand in the way of a new name on the BBL Cup this season, and they take on Leicester in the second semi-final.
Despite their dominance of the BBL in recent times, the Eagles have only recorded their name on the cup once, back in the 2005/06 season, when they defeated London Towers 83-69 in the final.
If anyone knows their way around a two-legged semi-final it’s Newcastle, although the Eagles did suffer semi-final defeats in both the BBL Cup and BBL Trophy last season, both times against Mersey Tigers.
Besides a semi-final appearance two seasons ago, the Riders haven’t threatened the cup trophy engravers but they enter the last four in fine form, and boasting arguably the strongest roster in the BBL.
They flexed their muscles in a 95-74 victory over the Cheshire Jets in the quarter-finals, and will prove tough opponents for the Eagles, who remain the only one of last season’s top four in the competition.
Newcastle defeated rivals Glasgow Rocks 78-75 in the quarter-finals on Friday.
BBL Cup Winners
2003/04 – Sheffield Sharks
2004/05 – Brighton Bears
2005/06 – Newcastle Eagles
2006/07 – Guildford Heat
2007/08 – Milton Keynes Lions
2008/09 – Everton Tigers
2009/10 – Sheffield Sharks
2010/11 – Sheffield Sharks