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BBP: The UK Basketball Hub's BBL Preview

To cap what have been a few interesting interviews we bring you our preview to finish our BIG BBL PREVIEW!

The new BBL season looks to be one of the most interesting in recent years, with no one quite sure just who will be crowned the champions.

We start with the Leicester Riders and it is crucial that the majority of their roster have returned and in Rob Paternostro they have continuity and proven success.

The 2012/13 season obviously proved to be a trophy winning campaign with an appearance in every final possible, winning the BBL Cup, BBL league and play-off final.

Their biggest rivals last season were Newcastle who featured in the BBL title race, finishing second and lost both the BBL Cup and play-off final to Leicester.

The Newcastle Eagles will be keen to match-up to Leicester and the two will both be hoping that the trophies arrive at their respective arenas.

Glasgow Rocks and Plymouth Raiders will both be hoping to challenge following a decent season, the Rocks having GB International Gareth Murray on their books.

The Raiders have changed coach with Gavin Love departing and being replaced internally, which should - theoretically - allow the work done to continue.

Then we have Surrey United (formerly Heat) who have gone through massive changes and present perhaps the biggest unknown quantity.

A fourth place finish is success for the team but with multiple changes in coaching staff and playing staff, perhaps consistency will be the first ask of the team.

The Worcester Wolves will be hoping that they can improve on a fifth place finish and perhaps even clinch a piece of silverware.

Sheffield meanwhile, have a piece of silverware to defend and despite the retirement of Andrew Bridge will be hoping that they can continue to grow.

The London Lions have moved home and signed a range of players which they hope will make them a big player in the BBL.

Manchester missed out on the play-offs to the Lions in their first season in the BBL and will be hoping to go that extra step.

Durham have changed coach and are targeting long-term success as well as at least a play-off spot this coming season.

Cheshire come into the season in relatively calm fashion following turbulent times last time out, but they will be hoping to compete at the top.

Finally, Birmingham have a new representative in the BBL and the Knights will be hoping they can avoid the bottom spot held by the expelled Mersey Tigers last season.

Prediction:

1 - Leicester Riders - While everyone else will be hoping to claim the top spot in the BBL, Leicester have done it last season and will be sure favourites to do it again, perhaps not going out on a whim, but Leicester go in as favourites - expect them to lose more games this season in the league.

2 - Newcastle Eagles - The historic BBL club want their crown back but I think it will continue to beyond them. The Eagles will always be in the mix and they will push the Riders all the way once again.

3 - London Lions - Perhaps the biggest surprise in our prediction, The Lions appear to have signed well, bringing in a few former Surrey players and with a large crowd behind them, the home form could be one of the best in the league.

4 - Glasgow Rocks - The Rocks always play hard and they have an array of talent under the guidance of Sterling Davis. Scotland's BBL representative will once again be a cert for play-offs and will surely be title chasing.

5 - Worcester Wolves - Slightly unlikely with the Prezzie-Blue issues that occurred last season hampered their title opportunities. But with his departure and a number of what appear good signings, Worcester will be in the play-off race.

6 - Plymouth Raiders - The previously mentioned departure of Gavin Love may affect the team to begin with - given he signed the players in the team it may take a while to settle under a different coach.

7 - Sheffield Sharks - The Sharks were a solid team in the league last season but the biggest achievement was obviously the BBL Trophy win over Leicester. A few more performances like that could push them higher up the league.

8 - Cheshire Phoenix -  Given the struggles they faced last season, Cheshire did well to finish 6 points off the play-offs. They now have a good base to kick on and knick the final play-off spot, the future looks slightly more bright for Phoenix.

9 - Surrey United - With all the uncertainty about the team it's hard to see them being as successful as they were last time around. This position could be extremely harsh on United, they could finish anywhere!

10 - Manchester Giants - The Giants' missed out on the BBL play-off spot last season in a showdown with the London Lions. The BBL appears to be stronger but have the Giants strengthened enough to get the play-offs?

11 - Durham Wildcats - The play-offs will be the aim for Durham and despite being down in 11th in our prediction, the BBL table is likely to be close and they could miss out by two points or so.

12 - Birmingham Knights - It will always be difficult for a new team entering any league and while they will no doubt improve on the Mersey Tigers 0 points, the Knights will take some time to adjust.

BBL Cup winners: Glasgow Rocks
BBL Trophy winners: Newcastle Eagles
BBL play-off winners: Leicester Riders. 

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