UCC Demons will be bidding to make it four wins from four when they host Hoops this Bank Holiday weekend, while DART Killester can make it a perfect start to the weekend away to winless Ulster Elks.
Abrakebabra Tralee Tigers return to action with a clash at home to DCU Saints with UCD/Marian and Belfast Star entertaining Limerick Lions and Neptune respectively.
In a busy weekend, it’s a double header for Limerick Lions and Abrakebabra Tigers, who meet on Bank Holiday Monday, while DCU Saints and DART Killester meet at the DCU Sports Complex on Monday at DCU’s Sports Complex.
UCC Demons managed to overcome a battling DCU Saints in their last outing and Head Coach, Douglas Leichner, is expecting more of the same at home to Hoops on Sunday.
“We recently played them in a pre-season friendly and coach Ahmad Smith has them playing good basketball having won their last two games,” said Leichner.
“Hoops have the best two-man pick and roll combination in the SuperLeague. We must be able to defend this fundamental play.“
Hoops coach Ahmad Smith, is relishing the opportunity to sample the atmosphere of the Mardyke Arena but is not travelling to the impressive Demons in fear with a full strength squad in tow.
“I’ve seen UCC play and the atmosphere they create around basketball is amazing and it creates an obstacle for an away game, but I am confident in our experienced players like Jonathan Reed and Clint Deas will raise the level for the team,” he said.
DART Killester had to mount a serious comeback in their clash at home to Limerick and had to do so without the services of Paddy Kelly, who was sent off in the third quarter.
Last season’s National Cup final MVP Kelly is expected to feature this weekend for the trip to Ulster Elks, but the Northsiders will definitely be without Kieran O’Brien, who is struggling due to injury.
Ulster Elks have yet to collect their first win of the season with coach Deirdre Brennan admitting the side left the game with Hoops last Friday behind them.
Abrakebabra Tigers make a return to action after a turbulent week for the club and face a resurgent DCU Saints on Saturday before making the trip to UL on Monday to face Limerick Lions.
The Tigers will be without Kieran Donaghy, who is on international rules duty with Ireland, while Michael Quirke is also ruled out due to GAA commitments.
DCU Saints prepare for their mammoth weekend with a full strength squad and will be confident of causing an upset against either Abrakebabra Tigers or DART Killester after their display against DCU Saints last weekend.
Belfast Star are sweating over the fitness of American Dion Sherrell, who is struggling with a groin injury ahead of their game with Neptune.
Neptune are close to signing American player Ed Millard. With a full squad of players, head coach Steven McCarthy has confidence in his Cork panel.
“We hope with the arrival of our new American, that he gets sorted and settled in for the games this weekend,” said McCarthy.
“We are a fit team and we hope that he can adapt quickly to our style of play.”
Limerick Lions have reported no injury worries ahead of their weekend clashes with UCD/Marian and Abrakebabra Tigers and coach Sasa Punosevac will be looking for a repeat display that almost stunned DART at the weekend.
Gary Edge is UCD’s only main injury worry with an ankle problem but UCD/Marian coach Cormac Connor is confident he will be fit in time to start.
In Basketball Ireland’s Women’s SuperLeague, reigning champions Team Montenotte Hotel Cork meet fellow bright starters UL Aughinish on Monday in what is expected to be the game of the weekend.
Mark Ingle’s DCU Mercy charges have recorded two wins out of two and will be favourites to extend that at home to Meteors, while Tolka Rovers will be looking to follow on from their first win in 10 months (away to DART Killester last weekend) when they take on Waterford Wildcats.
Wildcats have given their chances of success a major boost with the signing of Melanie Thomas from the University of Connecticut. Thomas is a major coup for the club and end’s their worries of signing an American.
League newcomers LeisureWorld Churchfield Iona are proving able opponents and pushed Montenotte all the way and could secure their first win of the season on Saturday at home to DART Killester.