D-League Power Rankings: February 27, 2008

Sean Banks and the D-Fenders are looking to catch Idaho in the West Division.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

by Matthew Brennan, D-League.com

The Idaho Stampede stay on top of the D-League Power Rankings this week as they continue to lead the standings with a 25-8 record. Los Angeles has the second-best record in the league at 22-10, but are still 2.5 games behind the Stampede in the West Division. The D-Fenders will get a golden opportunity to close ground when they host the Stampede for two games this week. The Utah Flash are likely out of the divison race at 8.5 games out, but are still in contention for a playoff berth with the league's eighth best record (the three division winners and the next three best records will qualify).

In the Southwest Division, the Austin Toros remain in front with a 21-10 record, although the Colorado 14ers have closed to within one game as they currently ride the D-League's longest winning streak at six games. The Tulsa 66ers, who would be the last team to qualify for the playoffs with the D-League's sixth best record, are 3.5 games out of first with an 18-15 mark on the season.

In the Central Division, there is a new leader with the Sioux Falls Skyforce leading the way at 20-16. The Skyforce took advantage of their schedule by defeating former leaders Dakota in four different meetings over the past two weeks to close the gap and take a half-game lead. The teams will meet again on Wednesday night. Dakota has gone 2-7 in February and will be locked in a battle with Tulsa for the final playoff spot if they fail to regain the division lead.

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    1 Idaho (1) 25-8 The Stampede suffered their second home loss of the season on Saturday, a 107-91 drubbing by Anaheim, but still hold the D-League's best record at 25-8 and lead the West Division by 2.5 games. Forward Luke Jackson has returned to the Stampede after playing two months with the Miami Heat, and will be in action as the team heads to Califonria for two showdowns with the D-Fenders at STAPLES Center.
    2 Los Angeles (3) 22-10 The D-Fenders took care of business at home over the weekend, dispatching Tulsa and Anaheim. They have now won seven of their last ten after snapping a four-game losing streak in late January. After beating the Stampede once in four attempts in Boise, the D-Fenders will get another crack at Idaho on their home floor this week. Idaho won 118-111 in their first game in Los Angeles back on November 27.
    3 Austin (2) 21-11 The Toros added another player with NBA experience to their lineup when they traded for Bakersfield's Andre Barrett on Monday. Barrett is second in the league in assists and could see his totals increase even higher when he can pass the ball to proven scorers like Keith Langford and DerMarr Johnson in Austin. The Toros crushed Dakota on Saturday and host Fort Wayne and Anaheim this weekend before playing six straight on the road.
    4 Sioux Falls (5) 20-16 The Skyforce have taken over first place in Central Division after defeating Dakota on Monday, which was their fifth straight win and 11th in thirteen games. Sioux Falls, who has beaten the Wizards four times in the past two weeks, will face Dakota again on Wednesday night. Kasib Powell became the first Skyforce member to be named D-League Performer of the Week on Monday and is averaging 22.0 points in February.
    5 Colorado (4) 20-16 The 14ers have won six straight games, all against teams with losing records. Colorado will face a tough travel schedule this weekend, traveling to Albuquerque on Friday before returning home to face Tulsa on Saturday. The 14ers are now only one game out of first place in the Southwest Division.
    6 Tulsa (7) 18-15 The 66ers have cooled off a bit as of late, compiling a 5-4 record in February after ripping through January with a 9-2 mark. Tulsa currently stands 3.5 games out of first place in the Southwest, and still has six games remaining against the team above them in the standings, the Colorado 14ers. They will visit division foes Colorado and Albuquerque this week before playing four straight home games.
    7 Dakota (6) 19-16 The Wizards finally fell out of first place on Monday after their fourth loss to Sioux Falls in February. Dakota will meet Sioux Falls again on Wednesday, and try to avoid finishing February with a 2-8 record. Guard Blake Ahearn is averaging 26.6 points and 5.1 assists since being inserted into the starting lineup nine games ago.
    8 Utah (8) 17-17 The Flash continue to hover around .500, and have still not won or lost more than two games in a row this season. After splitting road games over the weekend by beating Tulsa and losing to Fort Wayne, the Flash will host Anaheim on Friday in their only game of the week. The remaining schedule will be a challenge with nine of the final 16 games against either Idaho or Los Angeles.
    9 Iowa (9) 15-19 The Energy received some NBA reinforcements on Wednesday in the form of Miami Heat rookies Joel Anthony and Daequan Cook. They will be racking up the frequent flier miles as Iowa will play it's next six games on the road, starting on Sunday in Albuquerque before wrapping up in Fort Wayne on March 18. Iowa has lost four of their last five but is still in reach of the Central Division lead, standing four games out of first with 16 to play.
    10 Anaheim (10) 13-20 After coming close in their previous trip, the Arsenal defeated Idaho in Boise on Saturday for their 13th win of the season. Currently in the middle of five straight road games, Anaheim will finish off their trip with games in Utah and Austin on Friday and Saturday. Anaheim is 12 games out of first in the West Division with 17 left on the schedule.
    11 Rio Grande Valley (12) 14-24 The Vipers have show some spark after a rough January, going 4-3 after snapping a ten-game losing streak. They will host division rival Colorado on Sunday and Monday and will look for more offense from Desmon Farmer, who has carried the team with 21.2 points in 21 games.
    12 Albuquerque (11) 13-18 The Thunderbirds have lost four of five games, all against divisional opponents. Their upcoming schedule stays in the Southwest Division with home games against Tulsa and Colorado this weekend. Albuquerque is currently 7.5 games out of first place in the Southwest.
    13 Fort Wayne (13) 12-20 Fort Wayne has been sparked by the play of Earl Calloway, who is averaging 25.8 points over his past five games. The Mad Ants visit Austin this week before returning home to host red-hot Sioux Falls for two games. Fort Wayne is 2-3 against the Skyforce this season, with the home team winning every game.
    14 Bakersfield (14) 6-29 The Jam shook up their roster when they traded for former NBA forward Justin Reedand re-acquired veteran Mateen Cleaves, who averaged 16.5 points in 22 games for the Jam last season. The Jam will take a look at their new lineup in action and try to snap a five-game losing streak when they visit Sioux Falls and Dakota over the weekend. Bakersfield is 1-20 on the road this season.