So the National Basketball League of Canada has just wrapped up its seventh regular season, and now begins its seventh postseason.
Point of order – I am the director of statistics and player clearances for the NBL, so let’s get that out of the way right now.
As the NBL begins its playoff run, eight teams battle for the honor – sorry, honour – of claiming the NBL Canada championship.
The bracket looks like this.
First round is a best of five, second round and finals are best of seven.
So let’s start in the Atlantic Division, with four teams in the Maritimes.
The #1 seed Halifax (N.S.) Hurricanes will take on the #4 seed Island Storm (Charlottetown, PEI). The Storm are struggling, they lost their last four games of the regular season to actually fall into the fourth seed. Halifax has the best record in the NBL and are seemingly on cruise control. Halifax in four games to advance.
The other contest in the Atlantic Division will see the #2 Moncton (N.B.) Magic against the #3 Saint John (N.B.) Riptide. The Riptide have played very inspired basketball this year, but the Magic – led by longtime NBL Canada coach Joe Salerno and a slew of talented veterans – will take the battle of New Brunswick in five games.
So that puts Halifax against Moncton for the Atlantic Division championship. Best of seven. Moncton will certainly make a run of this, but I’m seeing a Halifax title in six games.
Central Division – three teams from Ontario and one from Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s a scheduling thing, you wouldn’t understand.
The #1 seed London Lightning will battle the #4 Niagara River Lions. The St. Catharines crew are making their first postseason appearance since 2016, when they were swept in three games. I sense another sweep, Lightning in three.
This will be followed by the #2 St. John’s (N.L.) Edge against the Windsor Express. The Edge have scorers Carl English and Charles Hinkle, and may have a very strong advantage over a Windsor squad that has battled injuries all season. I’ll give the edge to the Edge in four. Yes, you saw what I did there.
London versus St. John’s for the Central Division title – this will be a war. An all-out war. But I’m going to break away from the chalk in this bracket … and give the series, which should go seven games … to the expansion Edge franchise.
Championship round. Edge versus Hurricanes. This is going to be epic.
Again, another battle, another seven-game stretch, with each victory hard-fought and maybe even an overtime contest… going to Game 7…
And in a last second shot made by Charles Hinkle…
St. John’s Edge, I predict, will win the NBL championship.
Mind you, these wagers are just for fun, and if you’re actually putting money on who wins these games, you’re probably still hurting over your NCAA bracket getting busted last month.
And also mind you, these are just predictions. I could be wrong. And I have been wrong in the past.
But I’m putting my proverbial loonies and toonies on the St. John’s Edge to take the 2018 NBL Canada championship.
And to all the other teams in the postseason, I say …
Prove me wrong and break my bracket.