Week 20 Preview – Southern Conference

Justinas Gedvilas - Zalgiris

It’s a very busy final week in the Southern Conference as teams are working hard to conclude their schedules ahead of the regular season deadline. We take a look at all the games on offer, and what various results would mean for the final standings.

Canterbury Academy (9-6) v John Madejski Academy (12-2)

JMA could still grab the #1 seed in the South, but it would require an unlikely collapse from the unbeaten leaders in Barking Abbey. They can’t slip lower than their current 2nd place, but the Rockets would still settle for a win against an opponent that ran them close the first time these sides met.

The bigger story here is the race for the 4th and final playoff spot, with Canterbury holding the advantage as things stand. The only way Canterbury can miss out on the post season from here is a loss tomorrow, a CoLA loss against Barking and Itchen beating both USP and BA. That would put Itchen and Canterbury on nine wins, with Itchen holding the head-to-head between the sides.

Previous meeting in 2019/20 – John Madejski Academy 99 – 96 Canterbury Academy

City of London Academy (8-7) v Barking Abbey (13-0)

With a single game to go, CoLA can no longer make the post season but they can play spoiler to Barking’s perfect season should they be able to protect home court with a solid performance tomorrow.

Without the tiebreaker against 4th place Canterbury and no way to top the Kent programme’s nine wins, CoLA’s other avenue to the playoffs could have been for all three chasing sides to finish on nine wins for a mini-league table. Unfortunately that wouldn’t help the London side either – Canterbury would come out on top in that scenario as well.

Previous meeting in 2019/20 – Barking Abbey 83 – 59 City of London Academy

Itchen College (7-7) v USP College (0-15)

Update – This game has now been forfeited 20-0 to Itchen College.

A must win game for Itchen’s playoff hopes, but it will still require results to go their way elsewhere to complete an unlikely comeback.

Starting the season 0-4, Itchen have been a form team since that point to still leave themselves with a glimmer of hope for playing play-off basketball.

Their route to doing so is straightforward but certainly not easy. Beat USP tomorrow, beat Barking on the road Thursday and hope Canterbury and CoLA both lose to Barking themselves. Far from straight forward, but based on how they began the year, Itchen will take it.

Previous meeting in 2019/20 – USP College 0 – 20 Itchen College

BHASVIC (2-12) v Oaklands College (2-12)

These two teams can’t make the post season but meet on back-to-back days to complete their schedules.

Both teams have quality in their ranks, with Josh Last (18.9ppg) enjoying a productive season for BHASVIC and Toby Gastaldi-Davies (15.4ppg) a clear standout for Oaklands. That should make for two interesting games even if there’s only pride on the line.

Barking Abbey (13-0) v Itchen College (7-7)

This one could be a dead rubber by the time Thursday rolls around if results elsewhere don’t fall Itchen’s way, but it could also be a game that defines if Coach Guymon’s team make the post season or miss out.

Barking will be wanting to keep their momentum regardless, whilst also giving themselves the opportunity to make their final game of the season with JMA irrelevant to the final standings. That would provide Coach Vear with an opening to rest any players ahead of the playoffs, should it be needed.

Previous meeting in 2019/20 – Itchen College 42 – 89 Barking Abbey

John Madejski Academy (12-2) v Barking Abbey School (13-0)

There is a possibility that this game could be a Southern Conference title decider, if Barking falter in their games against CoLA and Itchen, but it could also be nothing more than an exhibition ahead of more important playoff fixtures.

Playing three games in quick succession won’t be ideal for BA, particularly given their recent excursion to Lithuania for the Adidas Next Generation Tournament, but Coach Vear has a deep and talented roster at his disposal.

Previous meeting in 2019/20 – Barking Abbey 73 – 59 John Madejski Academy

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