Sat, Mar 12, 9:47am by Kevin Pitstock
Current Ladder Positions:
Wollongong – 4th (13-12), Adelaide – 8th (8-15)
Wollongong’s Last Five Games:
Round 22 – defeated Gold Coast (80-68)
Round 21 – defeated Townsville (87-77)
Round 20 – defeated New Zealand (104-81)
Round 19 – lost to Townsville (75-56)
Round 18 – defeated Perth (105-73)
Adelaide’s Last Five Games:
Round 21 – lost to Cairns (75-70)
Round 19 – lost to Perth (82-62)
Round 19 – lost to Melbourne (86-83)
Round 18 – lost to Gold Coast (95-79)
Round 17 – lost to Sydney (99-90)
Head-To-Head Encounters in 2011:
Round 3 – Wollongong defeated Adelaide (96-82)
Round 9 – Wollongong defeated Adelaide (81-79)
Round 12 – Adelaide defeated Wollongong (98-83)
Adam Ballinger has been around the NBL for a long time now, but is still producing standout performances on a week-to-week basis. Now in his eighth season, the 31-year-old is carrying the majority of his team’s scoring load, averaging 16 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Not only will Ballinger be needed on the offensive side of the court this Saturday night, he’ll also be required to play relentless defence on in-form Hawk Larry Davidson.
Oscar Forman has played every game for the Hawks in the 2010/11 season, but not every game has been a good one. The 29-year-old has been extremely inconsistent, accumulating double figure points and rebounds one week, then barley touching the basketball the next. However there is no doubt the Hawks are a much better unit when he is looking dangerous. Against a weak 36ers side, Forman will be keen to get a big game under his belt with the playoffs a matter of weeks away.
Wollongong’s Possible Starting Five:
PG – Gary Ervine
SG – Matthew Campbell
SF – Glen Saville
PF – Oscar Forman
C – Larry Davidson
Adelaide’s Possible Starting Five:
PG – Eddie Shannon
SG – Brad Hill
SF – Jacob Holmes
PF – Adam Ballinger
C – Daniel Johnson
This season has been a year to forget for Adelaide. For so long, the 36ers dominated the NBL, winning championship after championship. Now they hover around the bottom of the ladder – a pill their loyal supporters must be finding very hard to swallow.
Perhaps the 36ers’ lowest point of the season came against Cairns last week. They led the Taipans by 15 points at the start of the final quarter, but somehow found a way to squander that lead to a team which had been out of form in the previous rounds. The 36ers only scored seven points in the last quarter – a new franchise low. Ouch.
Conversely, Wollongong will be up and about for this game, especially after its 12-point win over Gold Coast on Friday night, which saw it climb into the top four on the ladder. The Hawks have now won their past three games in a row and look bound for the playoffs.
These two teams have met three times this season. Wollongong won the first two encounters, but Adelaide bounced back in round 12 with a commanding 15-point win at home. However, that victory seems like a lifetime ago now.
The 36ers have no genuine matchups for a lot of the Hawks’ players. Gary Ervine should run wild, while big men Davidson and Forman will cause plenty of defensive headaches for the Sixers.
In front of their home crowd and with just one game separating them from third spot, it’s hard to see the Hawks dropping this one. In fact it’s hard to see the Hawks winning by anything less than 15 points.
This one could get ugly folks.
Wollongong by over 10.5 ($1.77 – Centrebet)
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