Eurocup Quarterfinals, Game 1: Race for title resumes!

The quest to become a first-time Eurocup champion resumes when eight survivors open the two-game quarterfinals starting March 15. The only remaining team that has won any international trophies, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, has done so nine times. For three other contenders – Nizhny Novgorod of Russia, Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas of Spain and Dolomiti Energia Trento – the Eurocup would be the first trophy of any kind for their clubs

All the rest have won at least one national league or cup before, but a Eurocup title would mark their biggest achievement outside their own countries. The fun begins with two games each on Tuesday and Wednesday at the home courts of the teams that finishes lower in the Last 32 group stage.

Quarterfinal A: FC Bayern Munich vs. Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul

Tuesdays quarterfinals opener marks the fifth meeting between these teams. The other four came during the 2013-14 Turkish Airlines Euroleague season, and Galatasaray won three of those games, including the last one in Munich. This is the first Eurocup quarterfinals appearance for Bayern, and first time since 2008 Galatasaray reached this stage. Bayern has won three of four home games this Eurocup campaign, with victories coming by margins of 14, 15 and 9 points, while Galatasaray is 1-5 in its last six Eurocup road games. However, Galatasaray has the best performance index rating (PIR) among eight teams still in the competition (97.9), leads all quarterfinalists in free throw accuracy (81.1%) and blocks (3.5), while ranking second in scoring (84.3). Errick McCollum scores 19.5 points per game, while three other Galatasaray players average double-digits in scoring. Bayern scores 80.3 points per contest, however, and boasts a deep squad with nine different players averaging at least 6.5 points.

Quarterfinal B: Stelmet Zielona Gora vs. Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas

Their game Wednesday marks the first meeting ever between Stelmet Zielona Gora and Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas. Going into the quarterfinals, Zielona Gora has yet to win a Eurocup game this season on its home floor, having gone 0-4 since joining the competition in the Last 32. Meanwhile, Gran Canaria pays its first visit to Poland in six years having won six straight games on the road this season. It also arrives as the top quarterfinals team in scoring (88.4), assists (19.2) and rebounds (36.9), ranking second in offensive rebounds (12.1), behind only Zielona Gora (12.6). One of the hosts’ strengths is taking good care of the ball, with the fewest turnovers (11.5) among teams still playing. But what allowed Zielon Gora to reach the quarterfinals is its defense, which allows just 73.6 points per game, second-best among quarterfinalists.

Quarterfinal C: Nizhny Novgorod vs. Strasbourg

Also on Wednesday, Nizhny Novgorod welcomes Strasbourg for Game 1 of their series. Nizhny has been one of the best performers this season when it comes to playing at home, where it blew out Zenit St. Petersburg 102-76 in Game 1 of the eighthfinals . In home games, Nizhny ranks first among quarterfinalists in behind-the-arc accuracy (41.9%), tied for first in triples made (10.6), and fourth in scoring 84.8 points. However, only one quarterfinal team averages more points on the road than Strasbourg’s 84.3 per game. Strasbourg is 1-6 all-time on Russian soil, but has won three of four road games this Eurocup season, including a 64-93 drubbing of EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Game 2 of the eighthfinals to clinch a place in this stage. Strasbourg is ranked second in assists (18.8) and free throw accuracy (79.6%), as well as third in steals (8.4) among the quarterfinal teams.

Quarterfinal D: Dolomiti Energia Trento vs. EA7 Emporio Armani Milan

It’s an all-Italian clash on Tuesday as Dolomiti Energia Trento hosts EA7 Emporio Armani Milan. In its rich history, Milan played 27 times against other Italian teams in European competition, but not once since 1997. Meanwhile, Trento is playing its first European competition ever, but has already faced Italian side Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia during the Last 32, sweeping both games. In the Italian league earlier this season, Trento downed Milan 80-73 behind 19 points and 7 rebounds from Julian Wright. The same player posted 30 points and 9 rebounds in mid-January when Milan beat Trento 83-79 at the Mediolanum Forum. Milan Macvan collected 24 points and 10 rebounds and Krunoslav Simon netted 20 on 5-for-10 three-point shooting to lead Milan in that victory. Trento leads all quarterfinalists in steals (9.3) and Milan is next (8.5). Trento also forces the most turnovers (17.3), while Milan’s strength is three-point shooting, as it ranks second-best among teams still in competition in accuracy behind the arc (38%).

Be sure to follow the Eurocup Quarterfinals on live broadcasts at Eurosport and right here on!

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