We're all set for another epic of Irish basketball as DBS Eanna look to remain unbeaten and a full slate of Women's SuperLeague fixtures, including a mouthwatering tie between high-flying DCU Mercy and reigning Hula Hoops National Cup champs Fr Mathews.
Here's our big preview of every SuperLeague game.
And then there was one.
In the Men’s Super League just one team remain unbeaten as DBS Eanna sit atop the Super League alone on 15 points. As we start November, the contenders will begin to be separated from the pretenders in what should be a fascinating couple of weeks of basketball.
Abbey Seals Dublin Lions v Keanes SuperValu Killorglin (Saturday, Colaise Bride, 5.30pm)
Dublin Lions are still searching for their first win in the Super League but it is undoubtedly getting closer and closer. Last weekend, they led for much of their game away to Moycullen but were undone by a strong fourth quarter display from the home team. In their last home game, they only narrowly lost out to Killester and this weekend they welcome a Killorglin team that have struggled on the road so far this season. Killroglin have bolstered their lineup with the signing of Rami Ghanem who gives them more depth at the guard spot and they will be confident after a good home win against Belfast Star last weekend. Pranas Skurdauskas had his best game of the year so far with 21 points and 13 boards in that win and if Colin O’Reilly can regularly get contributions like that out of him, it will lead to more wins for the Kerry side. Expect a tight game this week and it could come down to home advantage versus the savvy experience of Colin O’Reilly to see who will take the points.
Coughlan C&S Neptune v Pyrobel Killester (Saturday, Neptune Stadium, 7pm)
Neptune come into this game off the back of their first loss of the season, at the hands of Templeogue. This in itself isn’t a bad loss and not many teams will be able to compete with Templeogue on their home floor. This weekend Neptune welcome a Killester team who themselves will be licking their wounds after a 28-point home loss to Tralee. The question over Killester for the opening month is how they would look like with an American and worryingly for Brian O’Malley, they may have looked worse with an American. A matchup to keep an eye on will be the battle of the two big Spaniards as Tomas Fernandez and Nils Sabata go head to head in what should be a good showdown.
DCU Saints v DBS Éanna (Saturday, DCU, 7pm)
DCU had a good cup win over Lions before dropping their league game away to UCD last weekend. Trailing by as many as 11 with five minutes to play, they almost pulled a remarkable comeback off but just couldn’t get it over the line. The absence of Charlie Coombes and Kev Lacey was definitely felt for them last weekend and the question remains whether DCU have the guard play to compete with the top teams. This weekend, they welcome unbeaten DBS Éanna to DCU for what should be a good Dublin derby battle. Éanna have much better balance and guard play but they lack a major inside presence. Maree asked questions of Éanna last weekend, but weren’t able to do enough to get over the line. Mike Bonaparte and Martins Provizors will provide a challenge for Éanna but whether or not DCU can matchup with Éanna’s explosive guards on the perimeter could ultimately be the main question this weekend.
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors v Moycullen (Saturday, Tralee Sports Complex, 7.30pm)
Ever since Paul Dick and Kieran Donaghy have lined out alongside each other this season, Tralee have looked unstoppable. Wins by almost 40 points away to DCU and almost 30 against Killester show just how incredibly dominant they have been. Over the last three league games, they have given up just 64 points per game while scoring 91. In their opening games, they had been giving up 82 points per game so Pat Price has clearly made adjustments. Their opponents Moycullen face a tough challenge this weekend. They will be encouraged by their second win of the season last weekend but they face a very different set of match up worries this weekend. Moycullen will need to run and shoot well to compete, but they don’t have the depth or firepower that Tralee has, so that tactic may play directly into Tralee’s hands. It’s hard to see past a home victory as Tralee look to build up their title challenge.
Maree vs Griffith College Templeogue (Saturday, Calsanctius College, 8pm)
Maree had a tough weekend last weekend getting knocked out of the cup by Belfast Star before losing out to Éanna on the road in the league. Maree led for the majority of the game but needed to play zone in the final quarter and were picked apart by Éanna’s shooting. Templeogue have bounced back from their road loss to Tralee and looked in ominous form as they bounced UCD out of the cup with ease before handing Neptune their first loss of the season last weekend. Lorcan Murphy was peerless in their cup win as he scored from inside and out and Darren Townes had his best game of the season so far against his old team Neptune. Templeogue are the only team in the country that can match Tralee’s depth and they will expect to come away from Galway with three points.
Belfast Star v UCD Marian (Saturday, De La Salle, 8pm)
Both teams had mixed weekends last weekend, winning one and losing their second game. UCD Marian’s quest to get back to the Hula Hoops Cup final was ended quite easily by Templeogue in Dublin on Saturday. The Dublin team never got going and were exposed on offense. They did bounce back though with a good home win on Sunday against DCU and that leaves them in joint second spot with just one loss. Belfast on the other hand managed to survive the loss of Delaney Blaylock to win their cup match away to Maree. New signing Ben Marello had 20 points in both games last weekend and Star will need him to replace Blaylock’s overall game while he’s out injured. Star’s loss on Sunday was likely a ‘schedule loss’ as they had less than 24 hours to recover from their cup game in Galway as they headed to Kerry to face a Killorglin team that had an extra day’s rest. They will still be disappointed that they lost, especially as they had a chance to pull out the win at the death. So far this season, nobody has gone to Belfast and won and UCD Marian have not won in Belfast over the last two seasons. This game is must win for Star as they sit at 3-3 and it will give an early barometer of just how good this UCD team is.
Women’s Super League
After a bye week in the league last weekend, all of the teams are back in action this weekend and there are some cracking games to look forward to.
Fr Mathews v DCU Mercy (Saturday, Fr Mathews Arena, 5pm)
One of the biggest tests for DCU’s title ambitions will have been circled early on the calendar as they head to Cork to face the 2019 Champions Trophy winners, Fr Mathews. Mathews had a bye in the cup last week, so have had two weeks to prepare for this game and they will be looking to test the unbeaten Dubliners. For Mercy, they were given a good game at home by Maree in the Cup but were able to put together a great fourth quarter to pull away. Mercy’s strength and depth is the envy of teams all over the country and they have been able to find a different combination each week to get the job done. Mathews are more reliant on a strong experienced core and will need a big home crowd to spur them on this weekend. Mercy will come in as favourites but this will definitely be a test for the Northsiders.
Pyrobel Killester v IT Carlow Basketball (Saturday, IWA Clontarf, 6pm)
Both teams had a bye in the cup and will have enjoyed a week’s rest. Killester are coming off a narrow loss two weeks ago against Wildcats which highlighted just how close to the top of the table they are. They have a 2-2 record but both losses have been competitive games against top level teams. Carlow are still looking for their first win of the season. They will be hoping to replicate their performance away to Fr Mathews where they lost narrowly and could have won. They will need Kaitlyn Slagus in form once more in order for that to be a possibility this weekend.
Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics v Ambassador UCC Glanmire (Saturday, Leixlip Amenities, 7.15pm)
One week after Glanmire dumped defending champions Liffey Celtics out of the Hula Hoops Cup, the two teams go face to face again this week, except Liffey will now enjoy home advantage. Liffey will be concerned that they gave up 101 points last weekend and they will have to find a way to tighten their defense this weekend. Mark Scannell will be delighted in both the veteran leadership of Aine McKenna and Casey Grace but also the performances of his Americans last weekend. Tatum Neubert had her best game since arriving in Ireland and Scannell will be hoping for more of the same this weekend. For Liffey, Sorcha Tiernan was a huge loss for last weekend and her absence created a lot of issues. Liffey will need to adjust to life without her if she is set to be on the sideline for long.
Maxol WIT Wildcats v Maree (Saturday, Mercy Gym, 7pm)
This is one of the other big matchups of the weekend as both teams sit on 3-1. Wildcats’ only loss came at the hands of DCU Mercy in Dublin and they have looked like they are ready to compete with the top teams this season. Maree’s only league loss came at home to Liffey but they also crashed out of the Hula Hoops Cup to DCU last weekend. Both teams are statistically very similar as they both give up the same amount of points with Wildcats averaging slightly more points per game. Mercy gym has been a fortress so far this year for the cats though and this will be a big test for Maree. However, it will also give a clearer picture of who is most likely to challenge DCU this season.
Singleton SuperValu Brunell v Marble City Hawks (Sunday, Parochial Hall, 2.45pm)
Brunell return home to face Marble City Hawks in a battle of two teams without a win so far this season. Brunell came close to beating Liffey in their last game and were bolstered by Greta Tamasauskaite making her debut and scoring 17. Brunell have quality throughout their team and still have the capabilities to reach the playoffs this season. Hawks will need an improved offensive display if they are going to come away with their first win of the year. Their 51 points per game is the lowest in the league and will make winning on the road in particular very difficult. Katie Fox will need to be in strong form once more for the Hawks if they are to see home a win.