7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals at a glance

Feb 08, 2019 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals at a glance

The 2019 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals are full of familiar faces with five former champions and only one team – MoraBanc Andorra – competing in this stage for the first time. Five of the quarterfinalists won at least five games in the Top 16 and this stage will be full of teams and players who are among the EuroCup's statistical leaders this season.

ALBA Berlin vs Unicaja Malaga

It should be a high-scoring series with Group E winner ALBA (87.4 ppg.) ranking second in the competition in scoring this season and Group G runner-up Unicaja (86.1 ppg.) third. ALBA comes in on a four-game winning streak and a 6-2 record at home this season. Former EuroCup-winning coach Aito Garcia Reneses of ALBA will meet his former team; Aito spent three seasons on the Unicaja bench from 2008 through 2011. ALBA leads the EuroCup in steals (9.1 spg.). Swingman Rokas Giedraitis was the Top 16's leading scorer (15.3 ppg.) and guard Martin Hermannsson ranked third (14.7 ppg.), while forward Luke Sikma has the highest average performance index rating (18.3) among players still active in the quarterfinals. Unicaja, which is 4-4 on the road this season, has five players on its current roster who won three straight series without the home-court advantage en route to capturing the EuroCup crown in 2017. Swingman Dragan Milosavljevic spent two seasons with ALBA before he joined Unicaja in 2017 and helped the club win its most-recent trophy, the German Cup in 2016.

LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne vs MoraBanc Andorra

Group F winner ASVEL will compete in the quarterfinals for the second time – and first since 2006. MoraBanc, the Group H runner-up, has reached this stage for the first time in what is its second-ever EuroCup season. ASVEL (77.3 ppg.) is the lowest-scoring team to reach the quarterfinals, but has been successful by virtue of its defense, which has allowed a EuroCup-low 71.9 points per game. Coach Zvezdan Mitrovic's team has been successful thanks to its hustle; ASVEL is second in the EuroCup – and first among quarterfinalists – in both offensive rebounds (12.4 orpg.) and blocks (3.4 bpg.). His team is also tough to beat at home; ASVEL is 7-1 on its court this season. MoraBanc saw a six-game winning streak snapped in the Top 16 finale and had won three of its last four on the road before that defeat. The club from Andorra is led by a Frenchman; point guard Andrew Albicy is second in the EuroCup in steals (2.1 spg.) this season and was third in the Top 16 in assists (6.2 apg.) and fourth in scoring (14.6 ppg.).

Valencia Basket vs Rytas Vilnius

After these teams met twice before in the EuroCup semifinals, Valencia and Rytas will duel to get to that stage. In 2005, Rytas bested Valencia in a two-game series en route to its first EuroCup crown. Seven years later, Valencia KO'd Rytas in a single-game semifinal in Moscow before losing to Khimki Moscow Region in the championship game. Group G winner Valencia enters the quarterfinals on a competition-best 10-game winning streak and was the only undefeated team in the Top 16. Rytas was seconds away from elimination in Round 5 of the Top 16, but survived on a last-second Art Parakhouski jumper and a victory in a do-or-die Round 6 game. No team has committed fewer turnovers this season than Valencia's 11.3 per game and no team has made more three-pointers than its 168. Valencia big man Bojan Dubljevic, the EuroCup career scoring leader, ranked fourth in the Top 16 in both performance index rating (19.5) and rebounding (7.3 rpg.). Rytas leads the EuroCup in rebounding (36.8 rpg.) and its star center, Parakhouski, who joined the team prior to the Top 16, led that stage in PIR (21.2), was second in scoring (15.0 ppg.) and third in rebounding (8.7 rpg.). Point guard Chris Kramer led the Top 16 in steals (2.5 spg.).

UNICS Kazan vs Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar

This won't be the first time that Group H winner UNICS and Group F runner-up Lokomotiv meet in the EuroCup Quarterfinals or the first time they meet this season! UNICS bested Lokomotiv in the two-game total-points quarterfinals series in 2015 before falling to Herbalife Gran Canaria in the semis. They last squared off earlier this season in the VTB United League in Kazan, where UNICS won 79-75 behind 14 points and 6 assists from EuroCup Regular Season MVP Pierria Henry. Defense is the motto of both teams; UNICS has allowed the second-fewest points in the competition this season (74.3 ppg. allowed) and Lokomotiv is third with just a single point more scored against it in 16 games. UNICS comes into the quarterfinals on a four-game winning streak and is undefeated at home this season. Coach Dimitris Priftis's side has committed the second-fewest turnovers (11.8 per game) in the EuroCup this season. Lokomotiv, which is 7-1 on the road this season, is the most accurate three-point shooting (43.1%) and free-throw shooting (82.0%) team in the EuroCup.