In a virtual must-win game for both teams, Unicaja Malaga hosts Nanterre 92 on Wednesday. Both teams have started the Top 16 with 0-2 records and a third loss would almost be a death blow to their quarterfinals hopes. Unicaja comes into the game with a new man on the sidelines after Fotis Katsikaris has been handed the reins from Luis Casimiro. The Spanish side had won its first four home games this season before losing the last two. Nanterre is 1-5 on the road after losing 95-90 at Joventut Badalona last week.
French national teammates Axel Bouteille of Unicaja and Isaia Cordinier are among their respective team leaders and will meet on the wings in one of this game's key matchups. Bouteille (11.9 ppg., 50% 3FG) is a prime scoring weapon for the home side, while Cordinier (15.1 ppg., 5.4 rpg., 1.9 spg.) has been one of the best all-around performers in the competition this season.
This will be the first meeting between these teams. Nanterre has lost in its last four trips to Spain, but had previously defeated FC Barcelona in the 2013-14 EuroLeague and Bilbao Basket in the EuroCup two years later. Unicaja is 14-1 all-time in home games against French clubs – including a 96-88 victory over Boulogne Metropolitans 92 earlier this season. Unicaja's only loss at home to a French club was against Orleans in the 2009-10 EuroLeague.
Keys to victory: Unicaja
Unicaja can be expected to play with more energy with a new coach on the bench, but may also have a different rotation. One of the areas it must improve on quickly is three-point defense; Unicaja has allowed opponents to make 43.7% of their triples, which is the most in the EuroCup.
Keys to victory: Nanterre
Nanterre must make its play in the paint stronger in Malaga; the team has made only 50.1% of its two-pointers this season and has been outrebounded by an average of 2.0 rebounds per game. Alpha Kaba (8.3 rpg.) has been a pillar inside, but when he is sitting, the combination of Brian Conklin and Tyler Stone must push Unicaja's frontline to give the team a better chance.