The McLeod Factor has the Adelaide 36ers on edge ahead of tomorrow’s battle with Wollongong at Adelaide Arena.
Both teams suffered round-one losses and are under pressure to avoid a 0-2 start.
Adelaide hope to have Olympian Adam Gibson back after a hamstring injury forced him out of the 36ers’ three-point loss to Perth, while import Jarrid Frye was expected to make his debut after he overcame an ankle injury.
The Sixers are favourites to win.
Wollongong added new import Kevin Tiggs to the mix on Monday and remain hopeful that he will receive immigration clearance in time to make his NBL debut against the Sixers.
The Hawks fly to Adelaide today and the inclusion of Tiggs would put them at full strength.
Adelaide forward Anthony Petrie, who played with Wollongong in the 2008-09 season, expects Hawks coach Gordie McLeod to have his team finely tuned to spring an upset.
‘‘You know with any of Gordie’s teams that they’re going to play hard and play smart, and they know what everyone’s doing and where to get their stuff,’’ he said.
‘‘They had a tough start, having to cross the ditch to play the three-time defending champions [New Zealand Breakers] but they’ve still got some great players and it’s going to be tough.
‘‘You know what happens if you go to sleep on Wollongong. We’re ready for a pretty big battle.’’
Adelaide are one of the NBL’s most successful clubs with four titles yet they have finished with the wooden spoon three times in the past four years and missed the play-offs six times in the past seven seasons.
New coach Joey Wright got his tenure with the Sixers off to a losing start against Perth but he won a title with Brisbane and steered the now-defunct Gold Coast Blaze to two semi-finals.
Many NBL watchers have tipped the Sixers to finally return to the post-season in 2013-14.
‘‘It’s a town dying for the 36ers to do well,’’ Petrie said.
‘‘Everyone around town loves the 36ers and wants to see them be successful. We’ve got support in all the right places and it’s just a matter of us doing it on the floor.
‘‘Joey is all about playing as hard as you can on every possession defensively, and having that freedom offensively.
‘‘If you make a positive mistake, so be it. If you make a read out of something and make a play, he backs you to do that.’’