One week remains in the Sal's NBL regular season and with the Final 4 locked in, all that remains to be decided is who will face who. The only true answer right now is ... who knows?
As it stands, Saints sit atop the table on 28 points with one game to play. Then comes the Giants on 26, Sharks on 24 and Hawks on 20, all of whom have two games to play this weekend.
The one thing we do know is the Hawks are locked in the four spot. Even if they win both and the Sharks lose both (don't say that out loud), the Sharks own the head-to-head on for-and-against, courtesy of the 30-point win in Invercargill, way back in Week Four of the competition in April.
The other three Finals slots are very much in play this weekend.
The two big games of the final round see the Saints host the Giants on Thursday night, with Nelson then having to back up at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill in the last game of the regular season on Sunday afternoon against the Sharks.
The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks could finish anywhere from 1st to 3rd. To finish top, they would need to win both their remaining games against the Airs in Taranaki on Friday and Sunday against Nelson and have the Giants win in Wellington on Thursday night. If that happens, the Sharks could finish first and face the Hawks in a semifinal on Saturday.
If the Saints win on Thursday, they finish top and will face the Hawks in the semi with the Sharks and Giants squaring off in the other clash.
If the Giants win in both Wellington and Invercargill, they finish top and will face the Hawks while the Sharks and Saints will line up on Saturday for a place in the final.
Short story is that to win the title this year, you are going to have to play very well twice, next weekend. We have four sides who, no matter who finishes where after this week, will all enter finals weekend knowing that they can lift the NBL trophy. That's a great situation for the League and means we are in for a nail-biting weekend in Wellington.
Will the Saints make it three in a row? Can the Sharks add a third title in their short history? Will the Giants or Hawks break droughts that stretch back eleven and twelve years respectively?
We will let you know on Sunday week!