Already qualified LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne (6-2) welcomes Partizan NIS Belgrade (2-6) in Round 9. Partizan will be eliminated from the Top 16 race if it loses regardless of other outcomes. ASVEL won its last game against Turk Telekom Ankara thanks to 23 points and 7 rebounds from veteran big man Miro Bilan. Partizan has dropped its last two games, most recently against Valencia, despite Vanja Marinkovic's 15 points.
Earlier this season
In the only other previous encounter between the teams in the EuroCup, ASVEL triumphed 78-89 on the road in Round 4. Charles Kahudi had 21 points and Amine Noua contributed 14 to the winning effort. For Partizan, Jock Landale led the way with 12 points. ASVEL's 25 assists with only 9 turnovers allowed the visitors to take a valuable win.
One of the main duels in the backcourt will be highlighted by Mantas Kalnietis and Vanja Marinkovic. The veteran Kalnietis has only gotten stronger with time for ASVEL and is now averaging12.1 points, 6.8 assists and 1.3 steals in leading the team into the Top 16. Marinkovic is the main contributor for Partizan, with 14.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
Keys to victory: ASVEL
ASVEL is in the Top 16, so the pressure levels won't be critical for this game. The hosts average less than 80 points per game, but they are playing against the weakest offense in the league (73.8 ppg.). ASVEL also receives almost 6 points less than Partizan per game, so on paper, things look good for the hosts. Maybe a different rotation of players could shake things up a bit.
Keys to victory: Partizan
Partizan is in a dire situation. It has the weakest offense in the league, the worst numbers from behind the arc (31.5%) and also the fewest steals in the competition (4.1 spg.) so the visitors have a lot to work on at both ends of the court. The fact that Partizan also depends on the result of this game to stay alive doesn't make things any easier, but the perennial mix of youth, experience and talent in this team can wield any results, especially since Coach Trinchieri arrived to inject a new philosophy.