Last 16, Group K rundown

Jan 21, 2010 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
Bizkaia Bilbao Basket
Panellinios BC
Benetton Gioco Digitale
Brose Baskets
Four teams that were in the 2008-09 Eurocup are ready to fight for two quarterfinal spots in Group K. Bizkaia Bilbao Basket and Benetton Gioco Digitale made it to the Final Eight last season, Panellinios went all the way from the first qualifying round to the Last 16 while Brose Baskets did not survive the first group stage. Bilbao enters this year's Last 16 as the only undefeated team left in the competition. Bilbao ranks second in scoring and index ranking and is first in two-point percentage (61%) and fouls drawn (142). Benetton overcame injuries and roster changed to reach the next round. The club lifted the Saporta Cup trophy in 1995 and 1999 and reached the Euroleague final in 1993 and 2003. Benetton is last among all Last 16 qualified teams in free throw accuracy (69.3%). Panellinios returns to the Last 16 once again from the Qualifying Round ready to do better than last season. Panellinios has been third in free throw accuracy (80.7%) and two-point percentage (58.3%) but leads the Eurocup in turnovers (111). Brose Baskets also reached the Last 16 from the Qualifying Round and hopes to use its experience - this is its fourth Eurocup season - to reach the next round. Brose is fifth in three-point accuracy (44.3%) and index ranking (82.5 ppg.).
BIZKAIA BILBAO BASKET
Won Group E with a 6-0 record. Is the only undefeated team left in the 2009-10 Eurocup.
THE STAR
Marko Banic - Bizkaia Bilbao Basket
MARKO BANIC
An All-Eurocup first team selection last season, Banic is doing even better now. Banic averages 14.8 points on a superb 69.2% two-point shooting, hitting all of his 17 free throw attempts. He is ready to keep leading Bilbao to new heights in the competition.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Axel Hervelle - Bizkaia Bilbao Basket
AXEL HERVELLE
A Eurocup winner with Madrid in 2008, Hervelle arrives to offer energy, rebounding skills and experience. Hervelle is hungry and ready to make the team even more unpredictable. His deep range, intensity and attitude could be what Bilbao needs to go all the way.
THE FACT
Javi Salgado - Bizkaia Bilbao Basket
Bilbao is the only 2008-09 Eurocup semifinalist in this year's Last 16. Lietuvos Rytas and BC Khimki Moscow Region are playing the Euroleague. Hemofarm Stada did not survive the Eurocup regular season.
PANELLINIOS BC
Won Group G with a 4-2 record. Won all three home games by an average margin of 20 points.
THE STAR
Devin Smith - Panellinios BC
DEVIN SMITH
Panellinios is a very choral team in which many players can step up any given night, but Smith has been its top scorer (14 ppg., 73.5% 2FG) so far this season. Intense, quick and aggressive, Smith is ready for the big goal of taking Panellinios to the quarterfinals.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Kostas Charalampidis - Panellinios BC (photo Panellinios)
KOSTAS CHARALAMPIDIS
A key player for Panellinios, Charalampidis is a solid scorer that always steps us in crunch time, hitting all of his 31 free throw attempts this far. At age 33, Charalampidis will be more motivated than anyone to reach the Eurocup Finals.
THE FACT
Manolis Papamakarios - Panellinios BC (photo Panellinios)
Charalampidis, Alexandros Petroulas and Manolis Papamakarios made it to the 2005 ULEB Cup final with Makedonikos - and are trying to do the same with Panellinios.
BENETTON GIOCO DIGITALE
Was second in Group F with a 4-2 record. Picked up two road wins already.
THE STAR
Gary Neal - Benetton Basket
GARY NEAL
An All-Eurocup second team selection last season, Neal has been rock-solid this season, scoring at least 19 points in all 6 regular season games. He is improving his rebounds, steals and assists averages but also was the fourth top scorer (20.8 ppg.) in the first group stage.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Judson Wallace - Benetton Basket
JC WALLACE
Right at the time of his career, Benetton needs Wallace to do well if it wants to make it to the next round. Wallace leads the team in rebounds (7.7 rpg.), is second in index ranking (15) and provides the energy and intensity needed at both ends.
THE FACT
Jasmin Repesa
Benetton has landed head coach Jasmin Repesa to start a new era. Repesa, a Euroleague finalist with Fortitudo in 2004, is set to make his Eurocup coaching debut with Benetton right at the start of the Last 16.
BROSE BASKETS
Was second in Group H with a 4-2 record. Is undefeated at home.
THE STAR
Predarg Suput - Brose Baskets
PREDRAG SUPUT
A Eurocup veteran in his third season in the competition, Suput is playing better than ever this season. Suput leads Brose in scoring (15 ppg.), two-point percentage (66.7% 2FG) and is second in assists (3.2 apg.). At age 32, Suput is right at the prime of his career.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Tibor Pleiss - Brose Baskets (Photo: Brose Baskets, Daniel Lob)
TIBOR PLEISS
An up-and-coming talent became an European basketball reality this season. Despite stepping on court less than 19 minutes per night, Pleiss averages 10.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks so far in this Eurocup season. Pleiss just turns 20 and is ready to become a superstar.
THE FACT
Anton Gavel - Brose Baskets
Brose had a 0-6 Eurocup record last season but had a radical comeback in 2009-10 season, winning 4 of its regular season games to reach the Last 16. Brose knocked off Buducnost in the qualifying round by one point!