Xplorers' quest for repeat takes them to Green Bay
GREEN BAY, WI --- While the Louisville Fire team they defeated in the first round was a familiar opponent, the Memphis Xplorers face a team this Friday night that it has very little history with. The Xplorers play the Green Bay Blizzard in the af2 American Conference Semifinals this Friday night at 7:30 at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
The Xplorers' 83-61 win last week gave them a 6-3 overall record versus the Fire. By contrast, the game on Friday is just the second all-time meeting between the Xplorers and the Blizzard. Memphis won that only meeting, 48-14 on July 19, 2003.
The East Division Champion Blizzard had the best season in their four year existence, finishing 10-6 and receiving a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
For the Xplorers, this game is their second playoff game played in the other team's building in their post-season history. Overall, Memphis is 4-1 in the playoffs.
Memphis Head Coach Danton Barto is also chasing some history this week. A win on Friday would give him 50 career victories and would put him in the company of Chris Siegfried (54), Kevin Guy (52) and Bobby Humphrey (51) in the 50-win club. Siegfried, who coaches the Spokane Shock, is the only member of that group that is currently active in af2.
The Xplorers' offense is coming off a record-setting performance in last week's win. Their 83 points set the record for most points scored in an af2 post season game and tied the all-time team record. Individually, OS Kevin Prentiss shattered the league playoff records for TD receptions with 7, overall TD with 8 and points scored with 48.
Matching those numbers may be difficult this week against a Green Bay defense that ranked fourth in the regular season is scoring defense allowing just 44.9 points per game. Memphis finished the season as the stingiest team at 40.9 a game while Louisville ranked 17th at 53.4.
The Blizzard defense performed well when it matched up with the high-scoring teams in the league this season. When they faced Florida (top scoring team at 59.2/game), the Blizzard held the Firecats to 47 in a 48-47 win. Versus Oklahoma City (#2 in scoring at 58.4/game), Green Bay held the Yard Dawgz to 44 in a 44-32 loss.
The Xplorers were fourth in scoring offense in the regular season at 56.9 a game. When you average out their four post-season games over the last two years, Memphis is averaging 70.2 points scored per game.
While the Blizzard's defense has been key to several of their wins, the team's offense is no slouch, averaging just under 50 points a game.
The Xplorers/Blizzard game on Friday can be heard live on the radio home of the X-men, 730 ESPN.
The winner of Friday's game moves on to the American Conference Finals next week. A Memphis win would send the Xplorers to their second straight conference finals with the possibility of hosting the Manchester Wolves on Friday, 8/18 or traveling to Florida for a Saturday, 8/19 game. The Firecats host the Wolves in the other conference semifinal game on Saturday night at 6:30.
This season's ArenaCup Championship will be contested in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Saturday, 8/26.
Listen to all the action on the radio home of the Xplorers, 730 ESPN.
Be sure to head to O'Charley's on Goodman Road in Southaven after every Xplorers home game for the official post game party.
Listen to the Danton Barto Show every Monday at 6pm on 730 ESPN live from The Fox and Hound in Southaven.
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