MINERDOME fans can start preparing for blockbuster showdowns in the 2014 South East Australian Basketball League season.
Ballarat Miners and Rush have locked in double-headers against arch-rivals Bendigo and Geelong in school holidays.
Bendigo Pioneers will again make a midweek trip to the Minerdome, on April 9.
The fixture thrilled fans last year with the Miners securing victory in overtime.
Geelong Supercats make the trek to the Minerdome on June 21 and Ballarat will return the favour in the home-and-away season finale at the Arena on August 16.
The Miners tip-off their season against Mt Gambier at the Icehouse on a Friday night, March 21, and Rush will launch its campaign a week later when both Ballarat teams travel to Brisbane.
Ballarat Basketball spokesman Jimmy Hunt said the club was happy with the draw and could hardly wait to get started.
“As far as the schedule goes, we have the usual exciting games against Geelong and Bendigo,” Hunt said.
“We’re also pumped to play the (Basketball Australia) Centre of Excellence, which used to be the Australian Institute of Sport, in a game ... the kind of guys that have played for this previously are the likes of Andrew Bogut and Patty Mills.”
The CoE will play a reduced season, due to player commitments with national and international duty, and will not participate in play-offs.
But results against the CoE count in the SEABL ladder.
Ballarat will have an extended stay in its annual road-trip to Tasmania, starting with a Hobart double-header on Friday, May 9, with Rush to face Launceston on the Saturday. The Miners must wait until the Sunday to play NW Tasmania.
Ballarat Miners and Rush have been moved to east conference pools in men’s and women’s competition under a SEABL structure review to balance fairness and evenness.
The club’s new pool rivals will be Dandenong, Geelong, Knox, Nunawading, Albury/Wodonga, Brisbane and the CoE.
Rush star Alice Kunek and former Ballarat Lady Miner Rachel Jarry have been named in a 22-player Australian Opals training squad for next month,
The camp is a key part of preparations for the Opals’ 2014 FIBA World Championship campaign.
BALLARAT MINERS AND RUSH DRAW
Fri, March 21: v Mt Gambier (a), Miners only
Sat, March 29: v Brisbane (a)
Sat, April 5: v Nunawading (h)
Wed, April 9: v Bendigo (h)
Sat, April 12: v Frankston (a), Rush only
Sat, April 26: v Frankston (h), Miners only
Sat, May 3: v Albury-Wodonga (h)
Fri, May 9: v Hobart (a)
Sat, May 10: v NW Tasmania (a), Miners only
Sun, May 11: v Launceston (a), Rush only
Sat, May 17: Rush v Frankston, Miners v Mt Gambier (h)
Sun, May 18: v Dandenong (a)
Sat, May 24: v Canberra (a)
Sun, May 25: v Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (a)
Sat, May 31: v Albury-Wodonga (a)
Sun, June 15: v Sandringham (h)
Sat, June 21: v Geelong (h)
Sat, June 28: v Nunawading (a)
Sat, June 29: v Knox (h)
Sat, July 5: v Dandenong (h)
Fri, July 11: v Bendigo (a)
Sat, July 12: v Brisbane (h)
Sun, July 20: Rush v Launceston, Miners v NW Tasmania (h)
Sat, July 26: v Sandringham (a), Miners only
Sat, August 2: v Knox (a)
Sun, August 3: v Kilsyth (h)
Sat, August 9: v Canberra (h)
Sat, August 16: v Geelong (a)