A FOURTH consecutive British Universities and Colleges Sport basketball title could move a step closer to reality for the University of Worcester this weekend.
The men's first team, national champions for the last three years, head to the University of East London where the field will be whittled down to just two.
Worcester take on University College London in the quarter-finals today, with a place in tomorrow's semi-finals against either Durham or Northumbria at stake. The final will take place at Surrey Sports Park on Wednesday, March 26.
Worcester's team comprises a mixture of players from Worcester Wolves' British Basketball League team, such as American centre Will Creekmore and forward Kalil Irving, as well as several up and coming students.
Director of basketball Paul James said: "We're really delighted with the way that's gone this year, we've won a few and lost a few and on any given day anybody can beat anybody else - that's the way it should be.
"We've got a few players who are on the fringes of the BBL team who are all going to be playing major parts in the BUCS Championships this weekend.
"It's a chance for them to put their mark on the team and we are going for our fourth victory in a row so there's a little bit of pressure on those boys but we will go and give it our best shot."
He added: "The BUCS competition has got stronger and stronger each year and this year is the strongest it's been since I've been involved.
"It's a competition we've done very well in over the years and we've got a great track record in it.
"It's always exciting playing these tournaments, it's another goal to go for so the guys are really up for it."
Worcester's forumla of mixing BBL talent with promising students has served them well in the past but other universities are beginning to follow suit, with Durham's team featuring stars from their BBL Wildcats side.
"We are going to have to look at how to reinvent the wheel again because people are gradually catching up with what we're doing," James said.
"It's just a matter now of how we recruit people to the university and the quality of player and student.
"It makes it fantastic for the BUCS Championship, it's a very tough league now and every game you play is tough.
"The quality is there and that's what you want. You want to be in competitive situations all the time, that's how we develop players for the BBL team."
Alongside Creekmore and Irving, Wolves squad players Harry Turner, Daniel Belgrave, Calvin Morant-Hudson and Caylin Raftopoulos are also involved.