Basketball in the United States has long been associated with ‘March Madness’ but there is a touch of insanity to the Sharks fixtures this month too.
College basketball across the Pond traditionally reaches a climax with the NCAA tournament – known as March Madness – this month and the Sharks will probably enter April feeling light headed.
A brutal schedule of nine matches in 27 days, including a stretch of seven in 16 days, will make or break the One Health-sponsored club’s season.
Beginning on Friday night at the EIS against Leicester Riders, the Sharks cannot afford to lose any more matches if they are to challenge for the BBL Championship.
With 13 wins and seven losses, they have handed the initiative to Newcastle Eagles, Mersey Tigers and Cheshire Jets. It seems Newcastle and Mersey will fight it out but Jets could still have a say.
Player-coach Atiba Lyons is already talking more about contending for a top-four berth than mounting a serious challenge to the top three:
“If it comes down to us Jets and the Eagles, they have head to head. We play Tigers three more times so can influence them. And we have the (Glasgow) Rocks twice as well.
“We’re not in driver’s seat but we will do the best we can. We want to get a top-four spot, so we’ll focus on that.”
Lyons is being more realistic in his observations than pessimistic. And he knows the BBL this year can change very quickly: “Everyone is beating everyone else this season. It is a crazy up-and-down league so anything can still happen.”