Both teams can qualify for the Top 16 in this pivotal showdown. UNICS punches its Top 16 ticket with a win but also qualifies if it loses by fewer than 20 points and Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana beats Nanterre, if it loses by fewer than 43 points and both Olimpija and Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul win, or if both Darussafaka and Nanterre win, regardless of its score. Joventut needs to win and get extra help to qualify for the Top 16 in Round 9. With a victory, Joventut goes through if both Darussafaka and Nanterre win, or if it beats UNICS by 2 or more points in regulation time and Nanterre wins.
Two of the best scorers in European basketball are set to test their shooting skills against each other. Klemen Prepelic is the competition's scoring leader (18.7 ppg.) and has helped Joventut to stay undefeated at home this season, even hitting a game-winning 20-meter bomb against Darussafaka. Errick McCollum already showed Joventut what we can do, scoring 32 points and getting a PIR of 41 - both career-bests - against the Spanish powerhouse in Round 4. Expect another scoring battle to be remembered for a long time.
Keys to victory: Joventut
Led by Klemen Prepelic, Joventut is one of the highest-scoring teams (83.4 ppg.) in the EuroCup this season. It is shooting well inside the arc (57.1%, fourth overall) but not that well from downtown (30.4%, 19th overall). Nikos Zisis, Neno Dimitrijevic and Arturs Zagars face the tough mission of stopping Erick McCollum and Jamar Smith. UNICS runs its offense through them, so slowing them down would allow Joventut to take a giant step towards a very important win.
Keys to victory: UNICS
UNICS must keep its momentum going after a big win against mighty CSKA Moscow in the VTB United League. Jamar Smith (18.1 ppg., 62.5% 3FG) is the key player on offense, changing games off the bench, but UNICS needs its frontcourt to prevent Luke Harangody and Alen Omic from making the difference in the paint. In that sense, Alex Tyus, Jamil Wilson and Raymar Morgan, the latter of whom has been in great shape lately, must step up, dominate the boards and allow Smith and McCollum to showcase their all-around scoring skills at the other end of the floor.