D-League Power Rankings: March 19, 2008
Melissa MajchrzakNBAE/Getty Images
by Matthew Brennan, D-League.com
The Idaho Stampede continue to lead the Power Rankings after reaching 30 victories over the weekend. Idaho leads Los Angeles in the West Division by two games as the season enters it's final four weeks. As the two teams are first and second when it comes to the D-League's best record, the winner of the West will likely gain home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Utah Flash are another 9.5 games behind Los Angeles in third place but remain in the hunt for a wild-card spot.
In the Southwest Division, the Austin Toros have lost four straight but hold a 1.5 game lead over Tulsa. Austin would also receive a first-round bye if the season ended today as one of the division leaders with the two best records. The 66ers have overtaken Colorado for second place in the division by a half-game, although both teams would qualify for the playoffs with the fourth and fifth-best records.
In the Central Division, the Dakota Wizards and the Sioux Falls Skyforce, should battle down to the wire for the division title. The two teams currently have the sixth and seventh-best records in the league, so the second-place finisher will likely be on the outside looking in at playoff time. (Three division winners and the next top three remaining teams will qualify). Dakota currently leads by one game over SIoux Falls, with the Iowa Energy another 3.5 games behind in third place.
|TEAM (LAST WK)||REC.||BREAKDOWN|
|1||Idaho (1)||30-10||The Stampede swept Utah last week to win their third and fourth straight and become the first team to reach the 30-victroy mark this season. Idaho will visit Anaheim on Friday and Saturday and look to bounce back from their last meeting with the Arsenal, a 107-91 loss on February 23. Portland's Josh McRoberts has been assigned to Idaho for the second time this season and should be in action on Friday. He will look to pick up the slack for the loss of center Lance Allred, who was signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers last Thursday.|
|2||Los Angeles (2)||28-12||The D-Fenders are still chasing the Stampede for the West Division title and currently trail by two games with ten remaining. They will play their next six games at STAPLES Center, culminating in a visit from Idaho on April 2. First up on Friday is a visit from Bakersfield, the only team besides the Stampede to leave Los Angeles with a victory this season.|
|3||Tulsa (6)||23-16||The 66ers continue to excel in the second half of the season and are now in second place in the Southwest Division after winning three straight games. However the rest of the schedule is daunting with eight of the last 11 games on the road, including a six-game trip that begins on Thursday against the surging Thunderbirds. Tulsa is one of only three D-League teams with a winning record on the road, compiling a 9-8 mark this season.|
|4||Dakota (4)||23-18||The Wizards lost their second straight game to a sub-.500 team when they fell to Anaheim on Tuesday, but are still leading the Central Division by one game over the Skyforce. They will host the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for three straight games starting on Friday before closing out the regular season with six games on the road against divisional opponents..|
|5||Austin (3)||25-15||The Toros are on a four-game losing streak but still maintain their hold on first place in the Southwest Division by 1.5 games. Thursday and Friday they will host Rio Grande Valley, who are 2-4 against the Toros this season after a win in McAllen on Saturday. Guard Andre Barrett is averaging 17.0 points in his first three games since returning from a GATORADE Call-Up to the Clippers.|
|6||Colorado (5)||23-17||The 14ers have dropped two straight games to fall to third place in the Southwest Division, half a game behind the Tulsa 66ers. Colorado is 1-4 in March and will visit Utah on Friday, their only game scheduled for this week. Guard Eddie Gill is averaging season highs of 21.8 points and 6.6 assists for the month of March.|
|7||Sioux Falls (7)||23-20||The Skyforce trail Dakota by one game and will play their next six games at home against Central Division opponents. They will host the Iowa Energy on Friday and Saturday and look to avenge last week's 111-108 loss. The Skyforce are one of the league's best teams at home with a 14-5 record.|
|8||Albuquerque (10)||18-22||The new-look Thunderbirds have ripped off four straight wins since trading for point guard Will Conroy. Suns rookie Alando Tucker is also back with the team and joins D-League Performer of the Week Julius Hodgeand Conroy in a potent offensive attack. The T-Birds still trail Colorado by five games for the final playoff spot with ten games remaining. They will host Tulsa for two games this week as they try to gain more ground.|
|9||Utah (9)||19-22||The Flash snapped a five-game losing streak on Sunday in Bakersfield to improve to 19-22 on the season. They dropped two home games against Idaho earlier in the week and now stand 11.5 games out of first in the West Division with nine left to play. Utah hosts Colorado on Friday before starting a five-game road trip. Boston's Gabe Pruitt is averaging 21.0 points and 4.5 assists since he was re-assigned to Utah a few weeks ago.|
|10||Iowa (8)||18-22||The Energy are coming off of a five-game road trip where they compiled a 3-2 record, but they still trail Sioux Falls by 3.5 games for second place in the Central Division. A new pair of NBA-assigned players arrived in Iowa on Saturday when Chicago sent second-year players Shannon Brownand Cedric Simmons to the Energy. Both players saw time in the D-League earlier this season with Rio Grande Valley when they were members of the Cleveland Cavaliers.|
|11||Rio Grande Valley (11)||16-26||The Vipers defeated Austin on Sunday and will face the Toros for another two games on Thursday and Friday. Desmon Farmercontinues to spark the offensive attack, averaging 34.5 points over his past four games. Rio Grande Valley trails the final playoff qualifier, Colorado, by eight games with eight left to play on their schedule.|
|12||Anaheim (12)||16-25||The Arsenal are in the middle of a six-game road trip, and are up 3-2 after defeating the Wizards on Tuesday. They close out the trip in Iowa before returning home, where they will face the D-League's three best teams (Idaho, Los Angeles, Austin) over the next week and a half. Guard Mike Efevberhais averaging 16.0 points in his first two games since he was acquired via trade.|
|13||Fort Wayne (13)||15-25||The Mad Ants defeated Dakota on Sunday to snap a four-game losing streak. They are 7.5 games out in the Central Division with ten remaining on the schedule, but still have plenty of chances to gain ground with all of their games against division opponents. They visit Dakota on Friday to start three straight games in Bismarck against the Wizards.|
|14||Bakersfield (14)||7-34||The Jam lost to division rivals Los Angeles and Utah last week, and have now lost nine of their last ten games. One of only two teams to defeat Los Angeles at STAPLES Center this season, Bakersfield will try to repeat the feat when they face the D-Fenders on Friday afternoon.|