Traditional EuroCup powerhouse Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar will look to start what it hopes is a bounceback campaign from its worst season in the competition when it hosts Telenet Giants Antwerp in Wednesday's season opener. Lokomotiv added a lot of talent to a few returning core pieces for the new season. Antwerp returns 10 players from last season's squad and should have its chemistry clicking already on opening night.
Each team used the shooting guard position to bring in a new face and potential go-to scorer and Lokomotiv's Jordan Crawford and Antwerp's Stephaun Branch will clash in that pivotal matchup. Crawford is a veteran who has put up big numbers at every step of his career. Branch is an elite shooter still making a name for himself in his second European season. Their duel should be interesting.
Keys to victory: Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar
Lokomotiv has a longer team with great defensive pieces to put pressure on its opponents. Controlling the rebounds and making Antwerp uncomfortable in the paint are keys to a winning start with Alan Williams, Reggie Lynch and newest signing Kevin Hervey among the players ho could make the difference.
Keys to victory: Telenet Giants Antwerp
Antwerp has a lot of perimeter talent and sinking its outside shots could neutralize some of Lokomotiv's strengths. However, making long-range shots on the road is no easy task. The Belgian side must also limit the number of turnovers it commits to be in a position to score a road win.