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2021/22 British Basketball League Playoffs preview: When is it, format, top teams and more

The BBL season is close to its conclusion with the eight best teams in Britain set to battle it out in the 2021/22 Playoffs.

The Leicester Riders will fancy their chances of striking playoff success after a historic season, meanwhile, the Newcastle Eagles do not have a chance to defend their crown after being one of two ball clubs to miss out on post-season basketball.

Leicester Riders heavily fancied

The Riders are chasing a treble after clinching the BBL Cup and BBL Championship already this campaign. They enter the playoffs as the 1-seed after winning the title by the biggest margin in league history, 16 points. They secured the league against their playoff opponents, the Plymouth Patriots.

Leicester were very dominant, averaging 91 points scored and 72 points conceded per game in 21/22. Patrick Whelan and reigning BBL and BBL Cup MVP Geno Crandall have led the team this year and will be pivotal if they win this season's playoffs.

As for the Patriots, they have reached the playoffs in their first-ever season in the BBL despite losing their opening eight league games. They will rely heavily on Antonio Williams - who averaged 18.6 PPG - if they are to pull off an upset.

Who else is in action?

The Manchester Giants and the Bristol Flyers will tip off the 2022 Playoffs on Thursday evening.
Bristol will hope that Marcus Evans can elevate his game to another level after averaging 17 PPG this season.

Both teams go into the playoffs in contrasting form. The Giants have lost four of their last five games - including a blowout loss to their playoff opponents. The Flyers, on the other hand, have won four of their last five.

The London Lions and the Sheffield Sharks are two teams who can potentially cause the Riders some problems further down the line. The Lions face Cheshire Phoenix and have Isaiah Reese - who led the league in PPG with 19.3 in 30.7 minutes a game - on their side.

The Lions go into the playoffs on a three-game win streak, including a victory against the Phoenix. The first of their two-legged tie tips off on Friday at 19:30.

Second-seed Sharks take on the Glasgow Rocks and get their post-season underway on Friday night. Glasgow point-guard Jordan Johnson is one to watch in this series after he dropped 15 assists and 15 points in the last meeting between these two teams. Johnson averaged 18.4 PPG and 8.4 APG this season.

Sheffield will fancy their chances but it will not be an easy ride for Atiba Lyons' side.

The playoff format

Teams play each other home and away over two legs with the winners decided by aggregate score. The winners advance to the semi-finals where the highest remaining seed will play the lowest remaining seed over two legs. The two other quarter final winners will face off in the other semi.
Semi-final victors advance to the final that will take place at The O2 in London on Sunday, May 15.

The women are also in playoff action

The playoffs in the Women's BBL are also close to tipping off. The London Lions won all 24 games in the regular season and are heavily favoured for playoff success. They take on the Durham Palatinates.

Elsewhere, the Riders face the Nottingham Wildcats - who have the 21/22 top average scorer, Brooklyn Pannell. The Sheffield Hatters take on Caledonia Pride and the 2-seed Sevenoaks Suns will lock horns with the Essex Rebels.

Both teams only play each other once in each round in the WBBL playoffs.

The women's final also takes place on May 15. The tip off is at 13:15, three hours before the men's final. The Lions are looking to go back-to-back after lifting their first playoff trophy last season.

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