Go Big (Preview: 36ers v Tigers Gm 1 27/3/14)

In this week's podcast, the consensus was Luke Schenscher stands out as the likely x-factor in Adelaide's playoff run.

Joey Wright has managed the big fella well during the year and Schensch has hit some solid form of late, averaging 12.8 points and 9.3 rebounds over the last four games in just under 22 minutes a game. Those are substantial jumps from his season averages of 6.9 points, 5.5 boards and 15.11 minutes. It's a huge luxury for Adelaide to bring off the bench a guy who's played in a NCAA championship game, played in the NBA, played overseas and represented his country (in fact, while we're plugging the podcast, here's our interview with him here ). Basically, he's the most overqualified bench player in the league and few teams can bring 7 footers off their bench, let alone one with Luke's credentials. And according to recent studies, 7 footers are not only 7 foot at the start of games, they are also seven foot at the end of games. Thanks Steve and Brad.

While Luke could be the difference in the series, Adelaide also needs a few other things to go right, such as....

The Tigers superstar will likely get covered by Adam Gibson but the Tigers will run him through lots of screens and pick and rolls and hope to get Gary Ervin or one of Adelaide's bigs switched to him. He only needs a little room to score (watch this if you need a reminder) and is happy getting to the rim or throwing up threes from anywhere. Adelaide will need to ensure he's largely watched by Gibbo, Carter and Creek. Hold Goulding under 20 and you're half way there.

Adelaide is at it's best when Gary is getting to the rack (and scoring) and DJ is scoring from the post and mid-range. Some teams guard Gary better than others and those that have success normally manage to get two bodies on him once he's under the basket. Melbourne had it's best success against him Sunday but he still scored 16 (albeit on 4/15 shooting). Ervin averages 19.5 versus the Tigers, DJ averages 22. Ervin's points have come at a very good 51%, DJ's at another-worldly 60%. Adelaide isn't as reliant on these two as Melbourne is on Goulding and Worthington but if one is down it makes it that much harder.

Adelaide boasts the best bench in the league, bringing Schenscher,Creek,Cadee, Carter and Anthony off it's bench. There's a good mix of offense and defense there and Adelaide can cover injury or foul issues better than most. At home, expect Creek, Carter and Schensch to all have a big Game 1.

Melbourne have had some success guarding the three but are the worst at defending the paint. So basically they're stuffed against Adelaide, who are the league's best team in the paint and worst from the perimeter.

It should be an entertaining game but no way Adelaide drops this.

My Tip: Adelaide by 14

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