ASVEL boasts one of the best defenses in the competition, fights for every ball, has a balanced lineup and is tough to beat at home.
ASVEL was certainly looking strong after it finished the regular season with a 7-3 record and second in its group, but the rest of Europe took notice when Coach Zvezdan Mitrovic's charges bested Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 65-67 in the Top 16 opener. Alpha Kaba came off the bench for 16 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks to pave the way. His dunk put ASVEL up 6 in the final minute, but the team had to sweat it out and finally won when Vitaly Fridzon's attempted three on the buzzer missed.
ASVEL's 21-year-old jack-of-all-trades, big man Amine Noua is a team player and difference maker. He contributes inside with his size and strength and outside with his sweet shooting touch. For the season he has posted 11.4 points while shooting 42.9% from behind the arc plus 4.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks. Noua has appeared in 12 games and started all but one of them. A product of the ASVEL youth system, this is his second EuroCup campaign and he has raised his numbers across the board as an unsung hero to ASVEL's success.
After his dominant start to the Top 16, center Alpha Kaba suffered an ankle injury and is not expected to return in time for the quarterfinals. However, midseason signing Alexis Ajinca has shed any rust from missing more than a year to injury with a pair of impressive performances in his stead. Livio Jean-Charles is also back at full strength after missing the first eight games of the season; he made his first start in the EuroCup in the Top 16 finale.
Why this team can win
ASVEL boasts one of the best defenses in the competition, fights for every ball, has a balanced lineup and is tough to beat at home. ASVEL leads the EuroCup with just 71.9 points per game this season and ranks second in two hustle stats: offensive rebounds (12.4 orpg.) and blocks (3.4 bpg.). Eleven different ASVEL players averaged at least 5 points per game in the Top 16 and eight players have averaged at least 8 points for the season. ASVEL, which has home-court advantage for the quarterfinals, is 7-1 at home in the EuroCup this season.