The Run Down on the Run Home

The Run Down on the Run Home

With only six rounds left in the 2017/18 NBL season, it’s starting to get tight at the top.  Each team will be fighting for a different reason to finish strong.  Whether it be jostling for playoff positions, playing for pride or even playing the spoiler, every team has a reason to play every game at the maximum.

 

Perth Wildcats

Record: 12-6

Remaining Games: Melbourne (Home), Brisbane (Away), Sydney (H), Sydney (A), New Zealand (H), Adelaide (H), Adelaide (A), Cairns (H), Melbourne (A), Cairns (H)

Strength of Opponents: 0.4867 (2nd best)

Reason for Playing: Three-peat!

 

The Wildcats have the second easiest schedule on the run home, with three games in a row against the last and second last teams in the league.  The first game on the list, home against Melbourne, will go a long way in telling the story of Perth’s end of year success.  If they can stop the rampaging United, then the rest of the schedule should be fairly manageable.

 

Melbourne United

Record: 12-6

Remaining Games: Perth (A), Cairns (H), Brisbane (A), New Zealand (A), Sydney (A), Brisbane (H), New Zealand (H), New Zealand (A), Perth (H), Illawarra (H)

Strength of Opponents: 0.5158 (5)

Reason for Playing: Validation

 

As said before, the away game against Perth has massive implications for the rest of the year.  Especially when after that one, Melbourne has Cairns at home and then a three-game road trip.  It’s not the hardest road trip, but it could cause fatigue to build, making the remaining games harder.

 

New Zealand Breakers

Record: 12-6

Remaining Games: Illawarra (H), Cairns (A), Melbourne (H), Perth (A), Illawarra (A), Illawarra (H), Melbourne (A), Melbourne (H), Illawarra (H), Sydney (A)

Strength of Opponents: 0.5123 (3)

Reason for Playing: Show their fast start was no fluke

 

The Breakers better like playing Melbourne and Illawarra because of their last ten games of the season, they battle against those two teams seven times.  It seems like a scheduling glitch, but the NZB are going to have to take it.  The team has the third easiest end to the season due to all the games against the Hawks, so they should be in contention for home-court advantage in the postseason if they can get past all those games against Melbourne.

 

Adelaide 36ers

Record: 11-8

Remaining Games: Cairns (H), Sydney (A), Illawarra (H), Illawarra (A), Brisbane (A), Perth (H), Perth (H), Illawarra (A), Brisbane (H)

Strength of Opponents: 0.4494 (1)

Reason for Playing: To make up for last season

 

The Sixers are in the box seat schedule-wise, as they have by far the easiest run home.  Out of the nine games left, Adelaide only plays a team in the top four twice, and that’s against Perth in a home and home.  It would be a disappointing end to the season if they can’t make moves up the standings with this kind of remaining schedule.

 

Illawarra Hawks

Record: 8-10

Remaining Games: New Zealand (A), Adelaide (A), Adelaide (H), Cairns (H), New Zealand (H), New Zealand (A), Brisbane (A), Adelaide (H), New Zealand (A), Melbourne (A)

Strength of Opponents: 0.5851 (8)

Reason for Playing: To break their drought (2001)

 

Way back in 2001 was the last time the Hawks won it all, second only to Cairns for longest drought in the NBL (the Taipans began in 1999 but have not won a championship).  It most likely won’t be this season either, as Illawarra has the hardest upcoming schedule of all eight teams.  Only two games from ten are against teams out of the postseason picture right now, with the Hawks playing the Breakers four times, the Sixers three times and the United once.  It could get ugly for Illawarra.

 

Cairns Taipans

Record: 9-12

Remaining Games: Adelaide (A), Melbourne (A), New Zealand (H), Illawarra (A), Sydney (H), Perth (A), Perth (A)

Strength of Opponents: 0.5630 (7)

Reason for Playing: To win their first

 

Only two wins separate sixth-placed Cairns and fourth-placed Adelaide, but unfortunately, it’s going to take a hell of a lot of work to gain that ground.  Their title-less streak will most likely come to fruition, as Cairns has played the most games this season out of any team so far, and five of the seven remaining games are away from home.  To also rub salt in the wounds, their last two games are against the Wildcats in Perth.  Ouch.

 

Brisbane Bullets

Record: 7-13

Remaining Games: Perth (H), Melbourne (H), Adelaide (H), Melbourne (A), Illawarra (H), Sydney (A), Sydney (H), Adelaide (A)

Strength of Opponents: 0.5128 (4)

Reason for Playing: To play spoiler

 

It may be technically possible for the Bullets to play in the postseason, but in all reality, the door has well and truly shut.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything to play for.  With five of the eight remaining games at home and five against playoff-bound teams, Brisbane could spoil the success of the more successful teams.

 

Sydney Kings

Record: 5-15

Remaining Games: Adelaide (H), Perth (A), Perth (H), Melbourne (H), Cairns (A), Brisbane (H), Brisbane (A), New Zealand (H)

Strength of Opponents: 0.5470 (6)

Reason for Playing: Pride

 

A lot has been said about Sydney’s season so far, so it is pointless rehashing.  What needs to be said is that the Kings must finish the season strong to give their fans something to cheer for.  Play hard, play with pride and even if they lose, at least people will see that they are giving it their all.

 

Author: Kyle Abbott (84 Posts)

Kyle has barracked for the North Melbourne Giants, Victoria Titans, Victoria Giants and the South Dragons. He's hoping the Melbourne United don't fold like the rest of them