The second meetings of the season between group opponents and the first possibilities for qualification to the Last 32 highlight a big Regular Season Round 6 in the Eurocup. Three big games on Tuesday start the action, then 15 more keep the party going on Wednesday
On Tuesday, JSF Nanterre (3-2) hosts Dominion Bilbao Basket (3-2) in the French capital, with the winner assured of at least a share of first place in the Group A standings. Nanterre won their first game in Bilbao 73-76, however, Bilbao has won all three of its road games since then and through five games has knocked down a Eurocup-leading 58 three-point shots. In an all-German showdown, EWE Baskets Oldenburg (2-3) hosts Telekom Baskets Bonn (2-3). After starting its Eurocup campaign with three double-digit defeats, Oldenburg has won two straight games by a combined margin of 4 points in the last two weeks. The hosts go into the game allowing 84.8 points per game, the fourth-most in the competition, while Bonn has allowed even more, 88.2 points per game, more than all but one other Eurocup team. Dolomiti Energia Trento (3-2) plays at home against Union Olimpija Ljubljana (2-3). In a shootout to start the season, Olimpija celebrated a 98-97 win, but it could be a different game this time around, because Trento has been really solid defensively at home, holding opponents to just 68 points, the lowest average for teams that have already played three home games.
In a clash of fellow German clubs on Tuesday, ALBA Berlin (4-1) welcomes MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg (3-2). Ludwigsburg comfortably won their Round 1 match 79-60, but ALBA has been on a four-game winning streak ever since, including a pair of four-point road wins. In Tuesday’s other game, group co-leader Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas (4-1) plays host to Le Mans Sarthe Basket (1-4). A win would all but mathematically secure a place in the Last 32 for Gran Canaria, which scores the second-most points at home in the competition, 91.3, and leads the Eurocup with 13 three-point shots made per game. A Le Mans loss together with a win for ALBA would also put the Berliners on the verge of qualification. In an all-Italian showdown, winless newcomer Enel Basket Brindisi (0-5) hosts Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia (3-2). In both pervious home losses Brindisi has not eclipsed 70 points, ranking it second-to-last in that category.
Looking to get its first win of the season, Proximus Spirou Charleroi (0-5) hosts CAI Zaragoza (4-1). Spirou has the Eurocup’s top rebounder in Kevin Tumba (10.6), and third-best scorer in Billy Baron (20.8), but has no wins to show for it. Meanwhile, through five games, CAI has scored 374 points and conceded 369, but has won four games, two away from home. Valencia Basket (5-0) welcomes SLUC Nancy (1-4) knowing it would already qualify to the Last 32 with a win. The two teams have played five times, with Valencia winning all five contests, including last season’s 77-46 drubbing in Valencia, and this season’s 71-74 win on a late three-pointer from Sam Van Rossom. Umana Reyer Venice (2-3) is at home against ratiopharm Ulm (3-2). The hosts are looking to snap a two-game losing streak, while also hoping to improve their offensive display, having averaged just 69.4 points in the competition. Ulm won the first clash at home 87-68, and another win against the same opponent would go a long way towards earning it a place in the Last 32.
Aris Thessaloniki (3-2) hosts Trabzonspor Medical Park (3-2) for the first time ever. Aris is perfect at home, allowing visitors to score a mere 61.5 points, and shoot just 20% from long range, the latter of which is second-lowest rate for home teams in the Eurocup. Trabzonsport, which edged Aris 74-71 in their Round 1 clash, is still searching for its first road win. The best offensive-rebounding team in the competition, Banvit Bandirma (2-3) plays host to Buducnost VOLI Podgorica (2-3). This is fourth time in the last five seasons these two teams square off. Banvit holds 4-3 record in those head-to-head matches, but Buducnost has not had much success on Turkish soil, holding a 10-2 all-time record, and having lost the past eight games in that country, with the last win coming 16 years ago. Steaua CSM Eximbak Bucharest (2-3) welcomes Unics Kazan (3-2). It’s the first time Unics is playing in Romania. Their clash in Round 1 was one-sided, with Unics comfortably cruising to 94-68 win, but both teams have played to a 2-2 record since then.
In an all-Russian clash, unbeaten Zenit St. Petersburg (5-0) plays at home against Avtodor Saratov (3-2) . The visitors have the most productive offense in the competition, averaging 90.8 points per game, but have not had success against Zenit this season. The two teams have played each other twice already this year. In their Eurocup opener, Zenit won on the road 85-90, and Zenit also won a VTB League clash in St. Petersburg earlier this month, 90-74. A win combined by losses to both Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius and Szolnoki Olaj would secure Zenit a place in the Last 32. The Hungarian champ Szolnoki Olaj (1-4) welcomes PAOK Thessaloniki (2-3) in what feels as a must-win game for both sides. PAOK hopes to keep its perfect 7-0 record against Hungarian teams intact, while is looking to build on its last week’s win over Avtodor, when the team held Eurocup’s highest scoring offense bellow 80 points. Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul (3-2) is at home against Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (1-4), looking for a win that would trace its path towards the Last 32. These two teams played each other five teams in the past decade, and it was the road team that has won four of those contests, including each of the last three. Besiktas won in the Lithuanian capital 87-91 to start this campaign.
Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd (1-4) is at home against AEK Athens (3-2). In their opening-round clash five weeks ago, Loukas Mavrokefalidis had one of the greatest individual performances in competition history when he scored 42 points and finished with a performance index rating of 55. Mavrokefalidis not only earned weekly MVP honors for that performance, but he was also a co-MVP of Round 5 last week. On the other side, Oktyabr’s D.J. Cooper leads Eurocup with 10.6 assists, the only player in double-figures in that category. Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul (5-0) hosts Neptuans Kleipeda (2-3). The hosts are not only unbeaten, but also have Eurocup’s second best scoring offense with 89 points per game. Galatasaray’s Errick McCollum scores 21.2 points per game, second best in the competition. The two teams played in Euroleague regular season last year, splitting home victories. Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem (2-3) and the Round 5 co-MVP E.J. Rowland welcome Nizhny Novgorod (2-3) in what looks like a key game for both teams. Jerusalem leads the competition with 19.4 assists per game, and the team has two wins in as many home games this season. The visitors won the Round 1 clash by a 21-point margin, but now are looking to snap a three-game losing streak that includes a pair of dramatic last-minute losses against Neptunas and Galatasaray in the past two weeks.
Catch all the action in Regular Season Round 6 on Eurosport and right here at Eurocupbasketball.com!
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