Tuesday, May 03, 2016

2016 NBLC Playoffs: Atlantic Division Semi-Final Previews

HALIFAX (1) vs. ISLAND (4)

Season Series: Halifax 9-2
Players To Watch: Mike Glover, Tirrell Baines
Prediction: Halifax Wins 3-0

There's a reason why the Island Storm and Moncton Miracles both desperately wanted the third seed in the Atlantic -- fourth seed had to take on the blistering Halifax Hurricanes.

Arguably the best all-around squad we've seen in the NBLC since the 2012-13 London Lightning, Halifax brings a depth that the Storm simply cannot match. If they are able to keep control of the boards (league-best 42 defensive rpg), and avoid coughing up the ball (-1.1 turnover ratio), they should be on pace to advance.

The Storm will need to get their shooters going in order to have a shot. Their second-worst offense (103ppg) is going to have a lot of trouble against a league-best defense (100ppg) at the other end of the court. Shooters like Brent Jennings (15ppg) and Rashad Whack (12ppg) will have to find the three-ball in order to close the gap the Hurricanes will create.


Season Series: Saint John 7-4
Players To Watch: Gabe Freeman, James Justice
Prediction: Saint John Wins 3-1

While Moncton was able to snatch third and the ability to play Saint John, their matchup isn't much better than what the Storm ended up with.

The Saint John Mill Rats have arguably the most experienced team in NBLC history. While they have had some trouble with Moncton in the past, the Mill Rats have the leaders (Anthony Anderson, Gabe Freeman, Doug Herring Jr. etc.) to help them advance out of the first round for the first time in NBLC history. Moncton could get the job done this time around, but it is going to be very difficult. Before the team's disastrous run in March and April (3-12 since March 6), they beat Saint John in back-to-back meetings. In both games, they played great defense down low. Getting guys like Tydran Beaty and Cordell Jeanty to shut-down plays at the rim, and send the shots out towards Moncton's already effective perimeter defense, will be key to their success this series.