(1) INDIANAPOLIS 98, (4) MEMPHIS 80: (Fort Wayne, Ind.) - In their first meeting with each other in league history, Indianapolis and Memphis put together a competitive playoff game early on in the first semifinal game of the 2018 CBA Postseason Tournament. It appeared Indianapolis, who finished the regular season with an undefeated record, recieved a brief scare as Memphis jumped out to an early advantage, leading by as many as eight points in the first quarter. But those that have been following the back-to-back regular season champions were fully aware that Indianapolis has not had good opening periods all season, trailing in six out of the eight regular season games through the first frame of the game. It was much of the same script against Memphis last night, as despite the early deficit, Indianapolis regained the lead in the second quarter and blew upon the game in the second half to earn their second consecutive championship berth. Although Memphis' Jameel Best earned his ninth double-double of the season, Indianapolis' William McClure's unofficial nine blocks in the contest stifled Memphis offensively in the paint, forcing Memphis to unsuccessfully shoot from the outside, where they shot a league-worst 26.9% from the three-point line during the regular season. Indianapolis, who is seeking their first championship title Sunday afternoon, had five players in double-digits, led by Tyler Bibbs (17 points) and Anthony White, Jr. (15 points), while Memphis (5-4) were led by Best with 27 points.
(3) FORT WAYNE 94, (2) MIDDLE TENNESSEE 86: (Fort Wayne, Ind.) - In the 2014 CBA Postseason Tournament, the two teams met in Nashville and competed in a thrilling double-overtime semifinal game with Middle Tennessee prevailing, and ultimately winning their first league title against St. Louis in the finals. Two years later in the 2016 CBA Postseason Tournament, Fort Wayne, on their home court, knocked off Middle Tennessee by 27 points in the championship game, to not only have the largest margin of victory in a league playoff contest, but also earning them their first championship title and becoming the first team to finish the season with an undefeated record. The third playoff contest between the two teams last night appeared headed towards a repeat of the 2016 title game, as a back-and-forth first half turned into a third-quarter rout, as Fort Wayne led by as many as 17 points. But Middle Tennessee put together a sensational rally in the final quarter, to not only erase the double-digit deficit and stun the crowd, but taking their first lead at 86-85 with five minutes to play. But with a shorthanded roster, the second-seeded team from Nashville ran out of gas, as Fort Wayne used a 9-0 run in the final five minutes of the matchup, to pull away and clinch a spot in the CBA championship game for a league-record fourth consecutive year. Fort Wayne, who will look to earn their third straight league title Sunday afternoon, had five players in double-digits, including Terrance Beasley with 21 points and Antonio Cannon with 19 points. Middle Tennessee, which fell to 1-4 against Fort Wayne on the road, were led by Myles Thrash (25 points), Joshua Sain (22 points) and Torye Pelham (20 points).
2018 CBA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (2:00 p.m. ET - Fort Wayne, Ind.)
(1) Indianapolis vs. (3) Fort Wayne
The two in-state rivals will face each other again for the second consecutive season, with top-seeded Indianapolis, who were the 1-seed last year as well, looking to exact revenge after their defeat to Fort Wayne in the 2017 CBA Championship game in Danville, Illinois.
Indianapolis will be striving for their first championship title and becoming the second team in league history with an undefeated record, while Fort Wayne, who will play in their fourth straight championship game, will be vying for their third consecutive league title.
Fort Wayne is 7-2 all-time in the postseason, including 4-1 at home, and 3-1 in championship games. Indianapolis is 3-2 all-time in the postseason, including 2-1 away from their home court, and 0-1 in championship games.
During their two regular season matchups this year, Indianapolis defeated Fort Wayne 95-94 on April 15th in Indianapolis, and then edged out Fort Wayne again in an overtime victory, 103-100, two weeks ago in Fort Wayne. The two teams have met twice in the playoffs, with Fort Wayne emerging out on top 103-89 in the semifinals of the 2016 CBA Postseason Tournament, and last year's 95-92 victory in the title game. Overall, Fort Wayne leads the series 5-3 over Indianapolis; however, Indianapolis has won three out of the last four games between the two clubs.
Statistically, both teams are quite competitive as demonstrated through the regular season figures below, with Indianapolis edging out Fort Wayne in most categories:
Field Goal Percentage: Indianapolis 46.3%, Fort Wayne 45.1%
Free Throw Percentage: Indianapolis 78.3%, Fort Wayne 69.4%
3-Point Percentage: Indianapolis 38.9%, Fort Wayne 35.0%
Rebounds Per Game: Fort Wayne 47.6, Indianapolis 47.4
Assists Per Game: Indianapolis 21.2, Fort Wayne 15.0
Steals Per Game: Indianapolis 13.0, Fort Wayne 7.6
Blocks Per Game: Indianapolis 4.8, Fort Wayne 2.6
Turnovers Per Game: Indianapolis 15.6, Fort Wayne 16.9
Forced Turnovers Per Game: Indianapolis 20.4, Fort Wayne 16.8
The following is the history of championship games in the CBA:
2013: (1) St. Louis 106, (2) Bowling Green 97
2014: (2) Middle Tennessee 106, (4) St. Louis 103
2015: (2) Bowling Green 97, (4) Fort Wayne 95
2016: (1) Fort Wayne 110, (2) Middle Tennessee 83
2017: (2) Fort Wayne 95, (1) Indianapolis 92
The 2018 CBA Championship game, which will conclude the Central Basketball Association's sixth year of competition, will be broadcast live this afternoon on multiple platforms this afternoon, as viewers can watch the contest on the CBA website, CBA Facebook page, and/or the CBA YouTube page.