The business end for the Sal's NBL season will soon be upon us so it's all hands on deck as we look at the five biggest questions coming up in R11.
Fast Five - Question 1
Q: Can we give the wooden spoon to the loser of Rangers vs Jets?
A: Let's not forget the Airs are still in the race for the wooden spoon as well, but certainly the winner of Rangers vs Jets will for the moment step out of that race and have some breathing room, for now. It hasn't been a good season for all three, yet they can all turn it on and play some very competitive basketball, however as we have seen many times this season it just comes down to how long they can keep the good stuff going for. For the Rangers and Jets they will be hoping a full 40-minutes is delivered in Thursday Night Lights.
Fast Five - Question 2
Q: If the Hawks or Rams can beat the Saints will we be talking about a new championship favourite?
A: It would make for great conversation, but that's about it. The task of going through a full season unbeaten is always a hard one. The Saints have loaded up on talent this season and they have literally escaped thus far with no injuries to talk about, at least none that have kept players out of action. Such luxuries usually point to a greater chance of success, but clearly they have two big games ahead of them this round that will give us some insight into all three teams. Win or lose, the Saints will still sit atop the ladder and will remain title favourites.
Fast Five - Question 3
Q: Is the battle for fourth place officially done if the Sharks beat the Airs.
A: Not quite, but as good as, especially with the news that Huskies star guard Tre Nichols has headed home to the USA with a foot injury. If the Sharks can get past the Airs down at the Shark Tank you can start booking tickets to the Final 4 with confidence. And though they have the week off, let's not forget the Huskies have lost their last four games, they look banged up and the road ahead still includes another trip to Invercargill.
Fast Five - Question 4
Q: Who is more important to their team - Brandon Bowman or Nick Kay?
A: Good question, especially with the two stars locking horns on Saturday night. Both Bowman and Kay have been in ripping form and no doubt they are all class and incredibly hard to stop when they get on a roll. Bowman has the likes of Singler, Rusbatch, Kenny, Prewster and Kickert around him, while Kay is supported by Ili, Te Rangi, Ngatai, Loe and Dech. Question is, if either Bowman or Kay were to put in a quiet game what would the result have on those around them? Too hard to answer - bad question!
Fast Five - Question 5
Q: Is it fair to suggest the Rams are flying under the radar?
A: When you're sitting third on the ladder and have eight straight wins under your belt you can't be flying too low under the radar, but there is little doubt the Saints and Hawks have more eyes on them and more people talking about them. The Rams are clearly the best defensive team in the Sal's NBL and it will be that strength they will be relying on at the Final 4. While we all love quick and flowing offence, it could well be the grinding defence of the Rams that catches everyone by surprise. This Sunday's game against the Saints will be fascinating.