Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar (0-2) is in a critical situation and needs to start winning right away. Mindaugas Kuzminskas (16.5 ppg., 6.0 rpg.), Jordan Crawford (16.5 ppg.) and Kevin Hervey (12.5 ppg., 7.5 rpg.) are leading the team in the Top 16. Partizan NIS Belgrade (1-1) opened the Top 16 with a 28-point home victory, but lost against Boulogne Metropolitans 92 in Round 2. William Mosley (12.5 ppg., 6.0 rpg.), Codi Miller-McIntyre (11.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg.) and Rade Zagorac (9.5 ppg., 4.5 rpg.) are among its pillars.
Two very different playmakers are set to go against each other. Miller-McIntyre is a great on-the-ball defender with a great feel for steals, but is also an all-around scorer with great athleticism, character and a really quick first step. He should need all that against Mantas Kalnietis, the EuroCup's assists leader (7.6 apg.). A former EuroCup champion, Kalnietis has more experience and uses it to help his teammates as a pass-first playmaker with a great basketball IQ.
These teams are set to face each other for the seventh time in European competitions. Lokomotiv has a 5-1 record against Partizan. The Serbian powerhouse's only victory came last season - Partizan beat Lokomotiv 80-71 on October 22, 2019, behind 16 points from Rashawn Thomas. In their last matchup, Lokomotiv defeated Partizan 83-76 at Basket Hall. Kuzminskas led the winners with 17 points off the bench.
Keys to victory: Lokomotiv
Lokomotiv is the highest-scoring team in the competition (89.4 ppg.), but has struggled a bit lately. Lokomotiv is averaging 81.5 points in the Top 16, ranking 12th in two-point shooting percentage at just 45.9% and 14th in three-pointers (30.2%). Lokomotiv needs to improve those percentages and should run its offense through its most effective players: Hervey, Kuzminskas and Crawford. Lokomotiv must improve its defensive numbers, too; it is allowing 89.5 points on 46.3% shooting from downtown in the Top 16.
Keys to victory: Partizan
Partizan was rock-solid on defense against Trento, allowing just 43 points on 18-of-70 field goal shooting (25.7%). It should need that strong, aggressive defense against a high-scoring team such as Lokomotiv. Partizan allowed just 9.9 offensive rebounds in the regular season, but that number is up to 15.5 in the Top 16. Partizan has to box out to get going in transition, making the most of its many athletic players such as Miller-McIntyre, Mosley and Thomas. Partizan has struggled from downtown (29.3%) in the Top 16, too.