Two teams at opposite ends of the BBL meet at Sport Central on Friday, as Newcastle Eagles host local rivals Durham Wildcats.
The Eagles have lost just one league game all season, while Durham have managed just two wins in their first ever season in the BBL, meaning you’ve got better chance in the mobile casinos than if you put a bet on the Wildcats this season.
Fab Flournoy’s men won the two BBL Trophy clashes early on in the season, but were made to work hard for their recent league victory at Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre.
Fab said: “We have played Durham three times this year and on each occasion they have made shots against us. They have a number of guards who can shoot the three and have the ability to cause teams match-up trouble when playing with four guys on the perimeter.
“We know enough about them to know that despite their league position they can beat any team in the league on any given night.
“We have shot the ball well against them this year but at times have struggled to stop them. We have to be willing to extend our defence and utilise ball pressure all over the court.”
Wildcats coach Dave Elderkin is aware of the challenge, and knows that the Eagles are the team to beat.
He said: “Newcastle are clearly number one and any team hoping to collect silverware has to find a way past the Eagles.
“Thinking the Eagles have four key players is a big mistake, they have seven. Yes, Charles Smith, Joe Chapman, Paul Gause and Andrew Thompson can put points on the board big time, but they all contribute to every aspect of what the Eagles programme is all about. Fab can score and is one of the toughest defenders around, Darius Defoe is an ever-present threat in the paint at both ends and there’s Andrew Bridge – he should never be referred to as ‘underrated’ – he’s a major player.”