14ers Top Power Rankings for 3rd Straight Week
The NBA D-League schedule is only one month away from the playoffs, which will get started shortly after the regular season ends on April 11. In this year's playoffs, the three division winners plus the next five best teams will qualify, so as of last night's results the seedings would be from 1 to 8: Colorado (Southwest Division), Idaho (West Division), Iowa (Central Division), Austin, Utah, Dakota, Erie, and Bakersfield. These won't be the actual matchups as the top division winners will be able to choose their opponents in the first round.
The Colorado 14ers retain the top spot in the Power Rankings for the third straight week and lead the Austin Toros by one and a half game for the league's best record. Albuquerque is five games behind Austin in the Southwest and is less than a game out of the final playoff spot.
In the Central Division, the Iowa Energy continue to lead the division over Dakota, but Erie and Sioux Falls are both still in contention for the lead. The Idaho Stampede continue to fend off Utah for the lead in the West Division, while Bakersfield is close behind as they look to make the playoffs for the first time in their history.
TEAM (LAST WK) REC. BREAKDOWN
1 Colorado (1) 27-12 The 14ers have bounced back from a brief losing streak and are now 9-2 in the month of March. They will be at home this weekend for back-to-back games against Dakota and Anaheim. Sonny Weems, on assignment from Denver, is averaging 22.0 points this month.
2 Iowa (3) 24-15 The Energy edged Dakota on Tuesday to reassert their dominance in the Central Division, which they have led for nearly all season. Starting tonight, they head out west for four straight games, starting with a visit to STAPLES Center. The Energy will face the D-Fenders for the first time, but defeated all three of the other opponents (Bakersfield, Anaheim, Reno) at home this season.
3 Dakota (6) 23-17 The Wizards' loss to Iowa on Tuesday snapped a three-game winning streak, but they are still a threat to overtake Iowa and win the Central Division for the third straight year. They will join the Energy out west on a three-game road trip this weekend, although they have already lost home games to Bakersfield and Colorado, their first two opponents. The Wizards are 11-9 on the road this season.
4 Idaho (2) 26-16 The Stampede have lost two of their last three games but continue to command the West Division. Idaho, which is looking to finish with the D-League's best record for the third straight year, plays their next three games against the Reno Bighorns. The Stampede is 2-1 against Reno this season.
5 Utah (7) 23-15 The Flash have won two of three, but their lone loss was their third straight to Idaho, which is making things difficult in terms of gaining any ground in the West Division. Morris Almond is back on assignment from the Jazz and has lit up opponents for 24.2 points in his first five NBA D-League games. The Flash host Erie on Friday night in their only game this week.
6 Erie (4) 23-19 The BayHawks easily defeated Austin on Wednesday to snap a two-game losing streak. Now 10-3 since the beginning of February, Erie heads out west this weekend to visit Utah and Albuquerque. Former NBA player Quincy Douby is averaging 16.0 points after his first three games with the team.
7 Austin (5) 26-14 The Toros have fallen apart in March, winning only one of six games with their only win an overtime victory over a Tulsa team they have beaten six times. Their four remaining games this month are all on the road, starting with a trip to Fort Wayne on Thursday night. Despite their recent struggles, the Toros are still 13-7 away from home this season.
8 Bakersfield (8) 22-19 The Jam have only won two of their last seven but are sticking around in the West Division, three and a half games out of first place. Three teams from the Central Division make their annual trips to Bakersfield this weekend, starting with Dakota on Thursday. Bakersfield is 2-5 against Central Division foes so far this year.
9 Sioux Falls (9) 22-21 The Skyforce have won their last two games on their west coast trip, snapping a four-game losing streak that was hurting their chances of a playoff spot. They wrap up the trip on Saturday in Bakersfield before six days off. Frank Williams is bringing the offense in March, averaging 21.6 points in eight games.
10 Albuquerque (10) 21-19 The Thunderbirds, 4-5 in March, are currently a half game out of the last playoff spot that is currently held by Bakersfield. If they tie Bakersfield, the Thunderbirds would be in by virtue of their 2-0 head-to-head record against the Jam this season. The Thunderbirds host Rio Grande Valley and Erie this weekend before playing six straight on the road, where they are 8-11 in 2008-09.
11 Reno (11) 18-22 The Bighorns suffered a big loss this week when Patrick Ewing Jr. went out with a knee injury. Ewing was averaging 20.8 points and 11.0 rebounds in March. Without him the Bighorns snapped a three-game winning streak with a last-second loss to Utah on Wednesday, and they now face a brutal slate of four games all against Idaho and Iowa. The Bighorns, 5-16 on the road, will have their hands full with two games in Boise against a Stampede team that has only lost four times at home this season.
12 Rio Grande Valley (14) 16-24 The Vipers pulled off a big road win in Idaho, which improved their record to 4-3 in March. They visit Albuquerque on Thursday to complete a six-game road trip. Jared Jordan has dished out double figures in assists in six of his last nine games.
13 Fort Wayne (12) 16-26 The Mad Ants lost to Dakota at home by three points in their only game last week, dropping their record against the Wizards this season to 1-5. They host Austin on tonight before a week off.
14 Anaheim (13) 15-27 The Arsenal have lost four straight games and need to beat Iowa on Friday to avoid tying their longest losing streak of the season. After Friday's game, six of their final seven games this season are on the road. Cedric Bozeman has picked up the scoring load after James White's call-up, averaing 23.7 points over his last seven games.
14 Los Angeles (15) 14-27 The D-Fenders won in Colorado on Sunday, but then fell to Sioux Falls to drop to 3-4 in March. They host Iowa tonight before heading out for four straight road games. Los Angeles is 6-14 on the road but their away wins this season include Colorado, Austin, and Dakota.
14 Tulsa (16) 9-32 Tulsa has lost their last two games after going 2-1 last week, but will be at home to face Dakota and Los Angeles this weekend. They received some NBA help yesterday when the Thunder assigned rookie forward D.J. White.
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