Two of the Nivea for Men’s SuperLeague powerhouses will go head to head tomorrow as last season’s league finalists, DCU Saints and UL Eagles, meet at DCU (7pm).
The game will see 6ft 11ins inside powerhouses Conor Grace and Jason Killeen mark one another.
Grace signed for the Saints last week and Eagles head coach Mark Keenan warned he will be a man to watch.
“DCU Saints with Conor Grace now in their ranks will be very tough opposition. We will need another good team performance if we are to maintain our position,” said Keenan.
The league’s new boys meet tonight for the first time as Dublin Inter and Moycullen face off at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght (7.45pm).
Both teams come into the game after suffering cup losses, ratcheting up the pressure.
“The cup is over and we have two very important games before Christmas against Dublin Inter,” said Moycullen head coach Salva Camps.
“Every team has their own goals and for us, finishing fourth in the league would be a massive achievement. Two wins from two against Inter might be the difference between doing that and not come March.”
Killester will be aiming to get their season back on track with a home tie against in-form Bord Gais Neptune. Neptune have won seven of their last eight games, including a SuperLeague Cup quarter-final last weekend.
Neptune will face UCC Demons next month in the cup semi-final.
On Sunday, Demons will host UCD Marian at the Mardyke Arena.
UCC Demons have injury worries as starting guard Shane Duggan, who head coach Paul Kelleher described as “our most consistent performer all year”, is out for five weeks with a dislocated knee.
Nevertheless, UCD head coach Sasa Punosevac knows a fierce test is in store, warning: “Demons are a very experienced team who know how to play big games and they have the best supporters in the league which makes it very tough to play and win in Cork.”
In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, one of the most highly anticipated games of the season so far pits undefeated UL Huskies against one-loss and second-placed DCU Mercy in Dublin.
“All the pressure is on UL to maintain their unbeaten streak. We are relishing the challenge,” said an optimistic Mercy head coach Mark Ingle.
“You can over-prepare for a big game like this. I will be focusing our team on the mental side of things.
“We are at home and we probably have a stronger starting five than we did last year.”
UL head coach James Weldon is well aware of the challenge Mercy pose in their DCU Sports Complex.
“It’s always a tough game. They have a great coach in Mark and have added Megan Hoffman after losing one or two players but it is still the same nucleus of their team that has had a lot of success over recent years.”
Elsewhere, WIT Wildcats host Singleton SuperValu Brunell while Killester and Liffey Celtics face Team Montenotte Hotel Cork and Meteors respectively.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved