With the BBL Cup done and dusted, the BBL Trophy down to its last four teams and the title race out of the equation for most, it’s all about the Play-Offs for those further down the Championship table.
And, who better to take a look at the race for a Play-Off place than ‘The Voice’ of British Basketball? Yes, Daniel Routledge believes that with only two months to go, we can’t count any team out of the running.
“I don’t think anyone from seventh to bottom is in or out right now,” he said.
“Basically, there are two defeats between the five teams who will be eyeing those last two spots.
“Obviously with 15 losses, Manchester are going to have a challenge to overtake at least four teams above them in the table, but if we’re honest, who had the Giants at 5-15 in September?
“With Flo Larkai they have some much needed beef inside, whether it’s enough for the Play-Offs remains to be seen, but we’ve seen them charge late on before.
“Yorick has done an amazing job in his first season as a coach and from what I’ve seen of them, they are a tough, gritty team who cause you match-up problems.”
He added, “Cheshire are great away, can they replicate that at home? Plymouth are on the up now for sure. Meanwhile Bristol, Leeds and Surrey all look like they have Play-Off potential too.
“Those last couple of spots are going to be really competitive; I can sit here now and make a case for all those teams making it and that assumes they can’t drag one of those higher-placed teams back in and make it three spots to fight for.”
On Twitter via @dan_routledge – the revered BBL observer is always coming up with great BBL-related stats and he’s been crunching the numbers for the one question that all the Play-Off chasing teams will want to know; just how many wins will be enough to secure a spot in the top eight?
“Last year, with 13 wins Bristol had a .361 win percentage which was unusually low in recent years for the final Play-Off berth and in the last 11 seasons, it’s only been that low twice,” he said.
“But usually there is a team or two cut adrift by now and that hasn’t happened.
“I always think you’d be unlucky not to make it with somewhere north of a .400 record, so you’re looking at 14, possibly 13, wins as the Play-Off line.”
“No-one has ever been above .500 and missed out, “ continued Routledge.
“So for sure, 17 is a lock and I have a feeling 17 will get you no lower than seventh place..
“If I’m Cheshire, Bristol or Surrey, I’m thinking if we go somewhere close to .500 we’ll be in, but if I’m one of those other teams I’m guessing .500 ball is the minimum requirement I’d be targeting to be sure.
“But hey, they still all have to play each other, so maybe a slightly lower number might be enough.
“I like to sit here and talk numbers, but it’s out on the court it is decided and there is still an awful lot of basketball to be played and for sure, someone will catch fire and someone will slump – that always happens at this time of year!”