7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season, Round 3
The challenges grow in the 7DAYS EuroCup from round to round. This week the four undefeated teams will try to maintain their respective lead atop the four groups, the four winless teams will try to get a mark in the victory column and the remaining 16 squads with 1-1 records will target a spot in the top half of those groups. It's only mid-October and already every game takes on implications for the races to reach the Top 16.
All three Group A games will be on Tuesday. The only undefeated team in the group, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade (2-0), looks to keep pace atop the table when it hosts MoraBanc Andorra (1-1), which has several ties to the home team. Both center Oliver Stevic and guard Dylan Ennis played for Zvezda in the past; Ennis as recently as last season. The EuroCup's top scorer, Nigel Hayes (22.5 ppg.) and Galatasaray Istanbul meet Germani Brescia Leonessa (0-2) in an interesting encounter. It will be the first game ever between the clubs. Second place is at stake when ratiopharm Ulm (1-1) and AS Monaco (1-1) square off. Star big men could be at the center of this duel; Monaco's Elmedin Kikanovic (21 ppg.) is second in scoring this season, but Ulm's Isaac Fotu (17.5 ppg.) may be his match.
The always stellar defense of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar (2-0) will be put to the test by Round 2 MVP Kenny Kadji and guard Diante Garrett and the rest of Tofas Bursa's (1-1) high-powered attack. Kadji and Garrett are tied for third in scoring this season with 20 points each, but has held opponents to a mere 68.5 points per game thus far. In search of its first win, Arka Gdynia (0-2) hosts Cedevita Zagreb, which ventures to Poland for the first time. These teams have shot the most three-pointers in the league this season (Arka 63, Cedevita 62) and whichever gets hot from downtown could pull away. In a battle between teams that won in Round 1 and lost in Round 2, Limoges CSP (1-1) takes on ALBA Berlin (1-1). This marks the second straight season they play in the EuroCup regular season; last season the visiting team won each time.
In the only Tuesday game in Group C, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne (1-1) plays Turk Telekom Ankara (0-2) in a game that will be highlighted by the battle between old-school centers Miro Bilan of the home team and Vladimir Stimac of the visitors. This game will be Turk Telekom's 200th in European competition. Group leader Valencia Basket (2-0) will be tested by Partizan Nis Belgrade (1-1) in a special game for the home team's star Bojan Dubljevic, who will make his 100th EuroCup appearance and enter the top 10 all-time in appearances in the competition. He won't have it easy against Partizan's big frontline with Joc Landale and Rade Zagorac. The winner of the game between Dolomiti Energia Trento (1-1) and injury-plagued Zenit St. Petersburg (1-1) will have at least a share of second place at the round's end. These teams played twice in the EuroCup last season and each won at home.
The only game between an unbeaten team and a winless team occurs in Group D where UNICS Kazan (2-0) hosts Fiat Turin (0-2). While UNICS, led by Round 1 MVP Maurice N'Dour, has comfortably won its two games, Fiat is no easy mark; its two losses have been in overtime and then by just 4 points. Mornar Bar (1-1) and 2017 former champion Unicaja Malaga (1-1) meet with a share of second place in the group on the line. It will be Mornar's first ever game against a Spanish foe; Unicaja is undefeated in its only two previous games in Montenegro. Rytas Vilnius (1-1) hosts Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (1-1) in a matchup of teams with well-balanced offenses. Both teams won their opener and lost in Round 2, so they will be eager to get back on the winning path.