March 3, 2016 - Eurocup Eighthfinals, Game 2 MVP: Errick McCollum, Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul
first of the elimination rounds is already behind us. As always, the
series were packed with thrilling games, upsets and surprises. At the
end of it all, when the dust settled, Errick McCollum of Galatasaray
Odeabank Istanbul emerged as the weekly MVP thanks to his index rating
performance of 29, the highest among all winning players this week.
McCollum scored 21 points (10 of 10 free throws), pulled 5 boards,
dished 7 assists and drew 8 fouls to lead his team into the
quarterfinals in Game 2. Julian Wright of Dolomiti Energia Trento was
next this week as he also led his team to a win and the next round with
his index rating performance of 27 (21 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists
and 3 blocks). Completing the best performances of the week, Dee Bost
of Stelmet Zielona Gora and Jamel McLean of EA7 Emporio Armani Milan
had performances of 25 apiece. Read more here.
March 1, 2016 - Eighthfinals Game 2: Only eight teams will be left standing
The Eurocup eighthfinals come to an end this week.
All eight teams which plays on the road return home - some to defend a
lead in their two-way series, some other to try to rally and advance to
the quarterfinals, and two archrivals - FC Bayern Munich and ALBA
Berlin - which tied in the German capital and are in a do-or-die,
winner-takes-all showdown. Four games will be played on Tuesday,
followed by four more on Wednesday. Read more here.
Here is the schedule for Game 2:
FC Bayern Munich vs. ALBA Berlin 84-75
Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas vs. Limoges CSP 77-78
EWE Baskets Oldenburg vs. Strasbourg 64-93
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan vs. Banvit Bandirma 79-76
Dolomiti Energia Trento vs. CAI Zaragoza 79-65
Zenit St Petersburg vs. Nizhny Novgorod 89-74
Unics Kazan vs. Stelmet Zielona Gora 54-71
Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul vs. Pinar Karsiyaka 93-65
February 25, 2016 - Eighthfinals, Game 1 MVP: Victor Rudd, Nizhny Novgorod
Eighthfinals started with a bang this week with half the games being
won by visitors. It was not the case, however, of Nizhny Novgorod, who
managed to thrash Zenit St. Petersburg at home to gain a 26-point
advantage for Game 2 next week. The main contributor in Nizhny
Novgorod's win was Victor Rudd, who earned weekly MVP honors thanks to
his index rating performance of 32, the highest among all winning
players this week. Rudd netted 28 points - including 5 of 8 threes -,
pulled 8 rebounds, dished 4 assists, had 1 steal and drew 4 fouls for a
great all-around performance. The game marked personal bests for Rudd
in three categories: index rating, points and offensive rebounds (2).
Errick McCollum of Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul also racked up a 32
index rating, but he was not eligible for the accolade because of his
team losing. Read more here.
February 24, 2016 - Eighthfinals, Game 1: Series openers to be crucial
The Eurocup Eighthfinals, the first step on the now
fully marked path to a title at season's end, begins with the openers
in all of its two-game series on Wednesday, February 24. The winners of
each series will be the teams that have better aggregate scores after
playing home and away games against the same opponent in successive
weeks. The team that finished higher in the Last 32 plays the second
game at home in each series.
Here is the schedule for Game 1:
ALBA Berlin vs. FC Bayern Munich 82-82
Limoges CSP vs. Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas 65-82
Strasbourg vs. EWE Baskets Oldenburg 76-78
Banvit Bandirma vs. EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 69-72
CAI Zaragoza vs. Dolomiti Energia Trento 85-83
Nizhny Novgorod vs. Zenit St Petersburg 102-76
Stelmet Zielona Gora vs. Unics Kazan 68-72
Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir vs. Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul 67-64
February 23, 2016 - Inside the eighthfinals
EWE Baskets Oldenburg vs. Strasbourg
It is undeniable that
Oldenburg has done really well against French teams this season. The
club started the Eurocup regular season with a 0-3 record, but bounced
back with an 84-81 home win against JSF Nanterre. In the penultimate
regular season game, Oldenburg upset Nanterre 83-92 in what eventually
became the go-ahead win for the German side. Oldenburg opened the Last
32 with a 78-87 road win against Limoges CSP in which Chris Kramer had
8 steals. Oldenburg also beat Limoges 92-88 to book its place in the
eighthfinals for the first time ever. Brian Qvale is averaging a
team-high 14.8 points this season, but his numbers jumped to 16.5 in
his team's four wins against French teams. Will Oldenburg be able to
keep it going? Read more here.
Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul - Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir
Looking back at its last couple of games, you can
tell Karsiyaka is a very competitive team, as it set defensive and
offensive records in do-or-die situations. Entering the game with a 1-3
Last 32 record, Karsiyaka allowed 43 points, the third-best defensive
effort ever in the Eurocup, on the road against Trabzonspor Medical
Park. Then, in a need of a win, Karsiyaka went on to score a Eurocup
season-high 109 points against Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia. Most
importantly, Karsiyaka not only won both games, but did it by an
average margin of 38 points, so it faces Galatasaray in very good form.
Read more here.
Zenit St. Petersburg - Nizhny Novgorod
Zenit has had impressive success on the road this
season. On the way to winning first place in both regular season Group
E and Last 32 Group L, Zenit went 6-2 on the road. Zenit also picked up
a road win in the VTB League clash at Nizhny in mid-December, when it
won 84-88 behind 23 points and 7 assists from Ryan Toolson. Nizhny and
Zenit (or its predecessor Triumph Lyubertsy) have played each other 17
times in official games since 2011 in the VTB League, Russian League
and Russian Cup, with Zenit holding a 10-7 edge. Zenit also won five of
the last six times it visited Nizhny, but that one Nizhny home win,
came last season in the VTB League playoff quarterfinals. The team from
Novgorod clinched that series with a road win in St. Petersburg in a
deciding fifth game. Read more here.
Unics Kazan - Stelmet Zielona Gora
These teams face each other for the fourth
consecutive season. Their first-ever matchup came in the 2012-13
Eurocup, in which they traded road wins - Zielona Gora won 67-74 in
Kazan and Unics returned the favor with a 76-91 road win. The following
season, Zielona Gora and Unics did not meet until the Eurocup Last 32.
Unics won in Poland 72-77 behind 17 points from Andrew Goudelock and
downed Zielona Gora 82-64 at home led by 19 points from Ian Vougioukas.
Last season, Unics and Zielona Gora played in the Turkish Airlines
Euroleague Qualifying Round. Unics prevailed 90-86 and went on to
qualify for the Euroleague. Once again, Zielona Gora and Unics meet in
a make-or-break situation. Read more here.
Dolomiti Energia Trento - CAI Zaragoza
Both teams are shining in the Eurocup and only one
of them will write an even better page in the club's history books. CAI
Zaragoza needed three Eurocup seasons to advance to the eighthfinals
for the first time. CAI had made it to the Last 32 in the last two
seasons, but a combined 3-9 record stopped it from going further. This
time, CAI won four Last 32 games – or more than it its last two seasons
combined! Trento is in its first Eurocup season and qualified for the
eighthfinals in style by winning a tough Last 32 group that featured
more-experienced teams like Karsiyaka, Trabzonspor and Reggio Emilia.
It is a golden opportunity for both teams! Read more here.
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan - Banvit Bandirma
No team that qualified for the eighthfinals had two
players score more in the Last 32 than Banvit with power forward Adrien
Moerman (113 points) and shooting guard Dominique Johnson (104).
However, as much as these two players carried the extra load in the
Last 32, Banvit actually has five different players – all of whom
played in all 16 games – who average double digits in scoring.
Alongside Johnson (15.1 ppg.) and Moerman (13.9 ppg., 8.5 rpg.), Banvit
relies heavily on do-it-all point guard Courtney Fortson (13.8 ppg.,
5.6 apg., 4.2 rpg.), while big man Gasper Vidmar (10.1 ppg., 6.2 rpg.)
is a force inside and A.J. Slaughter (10.9 ppg.) brings scoring punch
off the bench. Read more here.
Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas - Limoges CSP
Two legendary coaches meet for the first time since
2009 in this series. Dusko Vujosevic joined Limoges early in the Last
32 and led the club to the eighthfinals by knocking off mighty Valencia
Basket in the process. Vujosevic has led Partizan to 22 domestic titles
plus the 1989 Korac Cup plus Euroleague Final Four appearances in 1988
and 2010. Aito has won four different European club competitions in his
career - Saporta Cup, Korac Cup, FIBA Eurocup and ULEB Cup - and
reached three Euroleague finals with Barcelona (1990, 1996 and 1997).
Aito also won nine Spanish League titles with Barcelona. Expect a great
tactical battle in both games with these great coaches. Read more here.
FC Bayern Munich – ALBA Berlin
Two of the glamour teams of German basketball,
Bayern and ALBA are classic rivals for all the trophies in their
country and could potentially clash for another before this series!
Bayern has gotten the best of ALBA in the recent German League
playoffs; it won the 2014 finals 3-1 and outlasted ALBA 3-2 in last
season’s semifinals by winning Game 5 in overtime in the German capital
behind 30 points from Nihad Djedovic. ALBA took out Bayern in the 2013
German Cup semifinals and last season’s quarterfinals. They have met
only once this season; ALBA won 90-74 in the German League in November
led by Elmedin Kikanovic’s double-double. They are next scheduled to
meet in domestic action on February 28 – smack in between their two
eighthfinals games – and could potentially meet in the German Cup final
this weekend; both play other teams in the semifinals on Saturday and
would clash in Sunday’s final if both win. Read more here.
February 13, 2016 - Eurocup Eighthfinals at a glance
Eighthfinal A: FC Bayern Munich (G1) vs. ALBA Berlin (J2)
FC Bayern Munich is back in the Eurocup Eighthfinals
for the second straight season and eager to make club history by
advancing one step further. Bayern entered the Last 32 after starting
the season in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and narrowly missing the
Top 16. Coach Svetislav Pesic’s men rebounded well to win Group G with
a 4-2 record.
Eighthfinal B: Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas (H1) vs. Limoges CSP (I2)
After making it to the Eurocup Finals last season,
Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas has the ambition to reach even
further this time. Gran Canaria led the Last 32 in index rating (104
per game) and assists (21.5 apg.), while tying for first place in
scoring (88.5 ppg.). It was also first in two-point shooting (59.2%).
Gran Canaria lost sharp shooter Kyle Kuric during the season, who was
diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Eighthfinal C: EWE Baskets Oldenburg (I1) vs. Strasbourg (H2)
After a strong Last 32 in which EWE Baskets
Oldenburg won Group I with a 4-2 record, this team will play in the
Eurocup Eighthfinals for the first time. Oldenburg raised virtually all
of its offensive statistics from the regular season to the Last 32,
which it finished fifth in scoring (82.3 ppg.). Coach Mladen Drijencic
enjoys a balanced attack with four players at different spots
contributing big numbers in the Last 32.
Eighthfinal D: EA7 Emporio Armani Milan (J1) vs. Banvit Bandirma (G2)
Playing in the Eurocup for the first time in a
decade, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan used a four-game winning streak in the
midst of the Last 32 to win Group J with a 4-2 record. Milan started
its season in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague before joining the
Eurocup for the Last 32. Coach Jasmin Repesa’s team was perfect at home
in the Last 32 and its 67.7 points allowed in home games rank third in
Eighthfinal E: Dolomiti Energia Trento (K1) vs. CAI Zaragoza (N2)
After displaying offensive fireworks in the regular
season by posting a second-best 87.5 points, newcomer Dolomiti Energia
Trento’s offense slowed down in the Last 32 to 78.3 points per game,
but it still clinched first place in its group before final round.
Trento has had its ups and downs, having made three streaks of at least
three consecutive wins, but also three of its five losses this Eurocup
season have been by 13 points or more.
Eighthfinal F: Zenit St. Petersburg (L1) vs. Nizhny Novgorod (M2)
In the Last 32, Zenit was ranked among the top five
in rebounding (37 rpg.) and scoring on the road (82.7 ppg.). Zenit
needed only five games to clinch first place in Group L, and for those
games averaged above 40% three-point accuracy; the competitions’ top
three-point marksman Ryan Toolson (3.2 made triples on 54.6% shooting)
and Janis Timma went on to make a combined 29 triples in the Last 32.
Eighthfinal G: Unics Kazan (M1) vs. Stelmet Zielona Gora (L2)
The only team that was undefeated in the Last 32,
Unics Kazan is currently on an eight-game winning streak and will have
home-court advantage throughout the remaining rounds. Led by Last 32
scoring leader Keith Langford (22 ppg.) and assists leader Quino Colom
(7.8 apg.), Unics got itself in this position thanks to the defense
that allowed just 68.7 points on its home floor and an offense that put
up 87 points away from home in the Last 32.
Eighthfinal H: Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul (N1) vs. Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir (K2)
By winning both its regular season and Last 32
groups, Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul has been spectacular so far.
Galatasaray leads all qualified teams in performance index rating (98.4
per game) and is second in scoring (85 ppg.), free throw shooting
percentage (80.9%) and blocks (3.06 bpg.). The team kept winning
despite losing scoring leader Errick McCollum (19.3 ppg.), who is
expected to return soon. Read more here.
February 11, 2016 - Eurocup Eighthfinals pairings
After a strong finish to the Last 32, the pairings
for the Eurocup Eighthfinals are highlighted by a trio of national
derbies, assuring that Germany, Russia and Turkey will all have teams
in the quarterfinals. Each of those countries has third eighthfinals
qualifiers, as well, while pairs from Italy, France and Spain play in
separate series, and Poland has one representative, too. Only one
former champion, Unics Kazan, is left among the final 16 teams and its
6-0 record in the Last 32 assures it home-court advantage in all
two-game series going forward. The two games of the eighthfinals will
be held on consecutive weeks starting Tuesday, February 23 and ending
Wednesday, March 2. All teams that finished first in their Last 32
groups will play the second game of each series on their home courts.
Check out the eighthfinals pairings below. Read more here.