It’s Sunday night again and that can only mean one thing,
Dancing on Ice! TCC’s weekly premier league preview! With only a few weeks to go until the playoffs by this time next week we will have a much clearer picture of who is in contention for the League title, the top four spots and if another team will be dragged into the relegation race. Let us know what you think of the predictions in the comments below!
Monday 6th Feb
Ballymena Blackstone @ Down Tropics
Tropics have won three on the bounce and the addition of Zane Bloy has added some much needed depth to their squad. Perhaps the most impressive element of their latest win, away to Kilkeel, was to hold them to a meagre 59 points, the lowest total for the Knights all season. After a comprehensive win over Tigers Blackstone lost out by 10 away to LYIT last week. It’s always tough to beat LYIT at home but Blackstone would have been hoping to build some momentum for a run at a playoff spot.
I think this will be a high scoring game with guards on both sides that can put up big numbers and two teams that play at a high pace. Blackstone have failed to win away from St Pat’s all season and Tropics are on a roll now so everything points to a win for Dave Cullen’s squad on Monday night. However I think it won’t be that straight forward and Blackstone will run them close.
Line: Tropics: -4.5
Wednesday 8th Feb
LYIT @ Belfast Star
LYIT have been indifferent this season flirting with the relegation spots but always managing to get that vital win when needed to ensure that they remain in the playoff spots. Their latest win versus Ballymena should now put to rest any slight relegation fears as they have 6 wins and better head to head records than both Tigers and Blackstone. The focus will now be on trying to get as high up the table as possible to secure a preferable playoff seed. Belfast Star suffered a shock defeat to Tigers on Saturday. (A shock only in the sense of the teams records, we predicted the result here last week!) They have only played two games since the Christmas break and with a record of 4-6 they need this win to kick-start their season.
LYIT will have a long trip on a weeknight and will likely be without Seamus Hickey once again. Michael McKillop has only discovered TCC this week so look out for some spectacular plays as he tries to make his mark in our ‘Top 10’ competition! At home Star will most probably have a full 12 man roster and this could be the difference versus a shallow LYIT squad. I can see it being a tight game from the start but Star to finish stronger with fresh legs coming off the bench.
Line: Belfast Star -6.5
Thursday 9th Feb
Andytown Tigers @ Queens Hornets
Tigers kept their dreams of remaining in the Premier League alive with a win over Star last week and it will be a great confidence boost to the squad after so many close losses this season. Queen’s suffered a heavy defeat away to the Dugnannon Cavs today but have been excellent at home this season.
If Queen’s have any hopes of a title challenge it will be essential that they get a win here. I think the Tigers will need at least two more wins this season but it will be too much for the Tigers to follow up their great win versus Star with another away to Queens.
Line: Queens -9.5
Saturday 11th Feb
UU Elks @ Kilkeel Knights
The Elks had a convincing win versus North Star this week and
the addition of Michael Greer to the panel and his increased minutes have gave them another capable scorer who can shoot and get to the rim. [warning]TCC have just learned that Michael Greer has left the Elks. More to follow soon . . .[/warning]Kilkeel have now lost two in a row and need a win to stop the slide and keep their title hopes alive.
A Kilkeel win here would be great for the league. It would leave us with 5 or 6 teams with realistic chances of a league title run and for the sake of an exciting finish to the season I hope the Knights can pull it off. If they are to get the W then they will need to use their size advantage and hope that the Elks outside shots aren’t falling versus their zone defense. In saying all of that I can’t see the Elks letting this one go. They defeated the Knights by 20 earlier in the season and I think they just have too many scoring options not to pick up the W.
Updated Line: Kilkeel Knights + 4.5
Saturday 11th Feb
Dungannon Cavaliers @ North Star
The League have asked for this game to be rearranged due to clash with Referee course in Strabane – if anything changes we will update!
[important]BONUS GAME! Tropics @ Elks was not on schedule but is on Wednesday night in UUJ[/important]
Wednesday 8th Feb
Tropics @ Elks
The Tropics have two games in three days and two wins will put them right up there with the favourites to win the league. Of course it will be no formality as they are up against the team with the leagues best winning percentage in the Elks. We already know that Mike Calo is looking forward to this game and will be up against Daryl Shazier of the Elks. Both players have range on their shot and while Shazier has an advantage with his quickness Calo has superior size and strength so it makes for an intruiging match-up. I can see both of these players cancelling each other out so the game will be won or lost on how the other players perform.
Matt McColgan is an injury doubt for the Elks and it will be a worry for coach O’Neill as he has been in fantastic form this season. The loss of Greer, O’Dornan and possibly McColgan may be too much for the Elks. (Unless Gary Connolly can roll back the years and Paddy McGaharn has another big game!) With two full rosters I would probably lean for the Elks here as they have more scoring options and have players who have been playing as a team for a lot longer. However with the above players out and the Tropics on a roll I can see them squeak out a close victory in J-Town and blow the title race wide open!
Line: Elks +2.5