The best eight teams made it to the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals and many of them used the same recipe: defense. All eight teams that advanced had winning records in the six-game Top 16 and not one of them needed a tiebreaker to squeeze through. The six teams that allowed the fewest points per game in the competition all reached this stage, as did the three squads with the best attacks.
Darussafaka Istanbul vs. Buducnost VOLI Podgorica
Darussafaka reached the quarterfinals as the Group E winner; it won its first five games before falling in Round 6. Buducnost was second in Group G at 4-2, only losing to Lokomotiv. Regular Season MVP Scottie Wilbekin, who is third in the competition in scoring with 16.6 points per game, is Darussafaka’s go-to guy, while swingman Howard Sant-Roos came up big in the Top 16, which he led in steals (2.8 spg.) and ranked fifth in performance index rating (21). Buducnost does not lack for experience with four players in their 30s, including former EuroCup champion and EuroCup Finals MVP Justin Doellman. The Montenegrin champs have three players averaging double figures in scoring: Nikola Ivanovic (13.4 ppg.), Kyle Gibson (12.8 ppg.) and Nemanja Gordic (12.0 ppg.). Both teams have great experience on the sidelines, too. Buducnost coach Aleksandar Dzikic guided Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius to the EuroCup semifinals in 2012 and David Blatt took Maccabi Tel Aviv the EuroLeague crown in 2014.
FC Bayern Munich vs. UNICS Kazan
These teams will meet for the first time in their respective histories. Bayern comes in on a five-game winning streak and is undefeated at home this season. It won Top 16 Group F with a 5-1 record. UNICS, which placed second in Group H at 4-2, did not receive its quarterfinals ticket until Round 6. Both teams have great experience. Bayern is making its third straight quarterfinals appearance, but UNICS, which won the EuroCup in 2011, has been to at least the semifinals in two of its past three EuroCup campaigns. Bayern is the EuroCuo leader in two-point shooting (57.1%), which is a big reason it ranks third in scoring (87.9 ppg.). Each team is led by a dominant big man; Devin Booker (13.3 ppg.) shines for Bayern and former EuroCup champion Stephane Lasme (15.1 ppg.) leads UNICS and is the competition’s leader in blocked shots (2.5 bpg.). UNICS Shooting guard Jamar Smith, who won the EuroCup last season with Unicaja Malaga, is the only defending champion remaining in the competition.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar vs. Herbalife Gran Canaria
Lokomotiv storms into the quarterfinals with a perfect record this season. Its 16-game winning streak is the second-longest in competition history after its 20-game run, which encompassed most of the 2014-15 season. Gran Canaria reached the quarters by placing second in Group E with a 4-2 record. These teams are among the winningest in EuroCup history; Gran Canaria’s 108 victories is third most and Lokomotiv is eighth with 67. The two teams have met before in the EuroCup, including last season when they split road wins. Ryan Broekhoff scored 17 points in a 71-86 Lokomotiv win in the Top 16 opener. Bo McCalebb’s late free throws gave Gran Canaria a 66-68 victory in Russia a month later. The two teams have been among the most productive in the EuroCup this season - Gran Canaria is second with 20.3 per game and Lokomotiv is third with 19.3 – but they have done it in different ways. Lokomotiv has the EuroCup’s top defense with just 69.1 points allowed per game and Gran Canaria has the best attck with 89.5 points scored per game.
Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
Reggio Emilia comes into the quarterfinals after beating ASVEL Villeurbanne in the Top 16 finale to win Group H. Zenit also advanced in Round 6 of the Top 16 with a road win at Fiat Turin; it placed second in Group F with a 4-2 record. This series will feature two of the most electrifying scorers in the EuroCup: Reggio Emilia’s Amedeo Della Valle leads all players in scoring with 18.6 points per game this season and Zenit’s Kyle Kuric was the Top 16’s best scorer with 22.5 points per game and its leader in performance index rating at 23.7. The teams play with much different styles; Reggio Emilia has allowed the third-fewest points in the EuroCup this season (73.4 ppg. allowed and 69.0 in the Top 16), but has scored the fewest points (74.6 ppg.). Zenit has scored the second-most points (88.2 ppg. and the most in the Top 16 with 91.5), but has allowed the fourth-most (87.0 ppg.).