Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2016 NBLC Playoffs: Central Division Semi-Final Previews

LONDON (1) vs. ORANGEVILLE (4)

Season Series: London 7-3*
Players To Watch: Stephen Maxwell, Justin Moss
Prediction: London Wins 3-1

Even though Orangeville gave London fits in the second half of the season, it’s hard to look over the Central Division's top team in this one.

This series will be won or lost beyond the three-point line. Orangeville has relied on the three-ball to get past London in almost every meeting this year. When it works, they look unstoppable (went 13-24 for three in their April 22 win over London). Look for players like Justin Moss and current NBLC assist leader Da’Quan Brooks to try and stretch the floor and make room for their shooters.

For Kyle Julius, this series is all about utilizing depth. If he can get good perimeter defense from his swings and guards, which he has managed to do against Orangeville, he should be looking a Central Division Finals appearance. However, the loss of Nick Evans will leave a big hole for London down low, especially with Justin Moss suiting up for the opponents.


WINDSOR (2) vs. NIAGARA (3)

Season Series: Windsor 6-4* 
Players To Watch: Brandon Robinson, Sammy Zeglinski 
Prediction: Niagara Wins 3-2


If I had to pick one semi-final series to go five games, I would pick this one in a heartbeat. That being said, it was hard to choose Niagara over Windsor Niagara’s starting lineup, led by standouts Sammy Zeglinski and Logan Stutz, is finally playing the basketball many expected they could. The River Lions have better players starter-for-starter than the Express. That being said, they are coming up against a very experienced Windsor squad, highlighted by Coach Tony Jones. This series will be a huge coaching challenge for the young Grâce Lokole. Windsor’s league-leading defense will prove to be the most important part of this matchup. If players like Brandon Robinson, Kirk Williams Jr., and Chris Commons can shut down the inside (specifically Stutz), the River Lions will be in trouble. Home court advantage will prove to be a massive boost for the Express, who boast a 13-6 home record heading into the last weekend of the season.


*One regular season meeting remaining