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It's Rivalry Week in the D-League, Too

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Come on Bakersfield, give these ladies something to cheer about.
Come on Bakersfield, give these ladies something to cheer about.

Not only were college football teams playing their in-state or otherwise hated rivals this weekend (USC/UCLA, Grambling St./Southern, Oklahoma/OK State...uh, Syracuse/Connecticut) but we have some regional rivalries in the D-League on tap for tonight.  Let's preview 'em.

Bakersfield Jam at Los Angeles D-Fenders

Los Angeles has to fly back to, well, Los Angeles for this one after playing in New Mexico last night, so don't be surprised if they get off to a rough start.  They have enough talent to compensate, though, especially matched up against the Jam, who played pretty poorly.  Reece Gaines had a decent offensive game the other night but he's never been consistent with that.  Jared Newson should do alright, but he's one guy.  Robert Swift, as we've seen, is still a work in progress on offense.  Bakersfield's hope should be that the D-Fenders are so tired they get off to a terrible start, and that the Jam's three-point shooters repeat their opening night performance.

Sioux Falls Skyforce at Dakota Wizards

Dakota is coming off of a disappointing loss last night, whereas the Skyforce are not only rested but are playing well.  The Wizards have some nice interior defenders, but I'm not sure they have anyone who can keep up with Reggie WilliamsJoe Krabbenhoft looks like a nice all-around player for Sioux Falls as well.  Then again, the Skyforce don't have a ton of people who can match up with Curtis WithersKeith Brumbaugh isn't much for defense, and while Raymond Sykes might be able to give it a shot, Withers looked very impressive last night.  Dakota will certainly be motivated to win this game and keep from starting 0-2, and if they can keep the fatigue to a minimum this could be a very good game.

Erie BayHawks at Fort Wayne Mad Ants

That's right, it's the third game in nine days for these two teams (including the preseason).  Fort Wayne shot the ball pretty poorly in the regular season opener, and I expect that to improve for a few reasons.  First, I can't imagine that Ron Howard's going to have the green light again after shooting 5-16, assuming he did in the first place.  Second, Rob Kurz can't possibly go another whole game without a field goal attempt, and Kurz is a good shooter.  Erie still has Donell Taylor, who plays some pretty good perimeter defense, but things should go a little more Fort Wayne's way.  Add to that the fact that I'm skeptical that Jackie Manuel can replicate his first game performance and the Mad Ants could pull this one off.  The John Bryant-Sean Sonderleiter matchup will be one to watch again, as they each recorded double-doubles last time out.