7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 at a glance

Dec 20, 2019 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 at a glance

What a 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 is on tap! There is so much to look for with six former EuroCup-winning teams in the hunt alongside five teams competing in the round of 16 for the first time, including EuroCup debutant Promitheas Patras. There will be many rivalries to be played out, too. A quarter of the remaining teams are from the Italian League, three compete in Spain and three others in Turkey. The four groups of four teams will only see half of them survive this six-game, round-robin stage, so the pressure will be on from the start.

Group E

Group A winner Segafredo Virtus Bologna (8-2) tied for the best record in the competition in its first EuroCup campaign since 2003-04. Coach Sasa Djordjevic turned his squad into an explosive unit which ranked second in the regular season in scoring (84.6 ppg.), rebounding (38.1 rpg.) and assists (20.1 apg.) The mastermind on the court has been Milos Teodosic, whose 16.9 points per game were third-best in the regular season. Partizan NIS Belgrade (7-3) placed second in Group B to reach the Top 16 for the second season in a row. Coach Andrea Trinchieri's men played fiercely in the paint and led the regular season in blocked shots by a wide margin with 4.5 per game thanks in part to Williams Mosley, who tied for most the blocks with 1.7 per game. Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul (5-5), the 2018 EuroCup winner, finished third in Group C in its first season since its triumph. Coach Selcuk Ernak's men played some of the toughest defense in the competition; they allowed the fewest points (70.8) and held opponents to 45.5% shooting on two-pointers, which was also a competition-low. Behind center Johnathan Williams, who ranked second in rebounding (8.5 rpg.) and tied for most the blocks (1.7 bpg.), Darussfaka also ranked third in rebounding. Dolomiti Energia Trento (5-5) won its last two regular-season games to capture fourth place in Group D. It had a winning record, 3-2, on the road, too. Aaron Craft was Trento's top performer and the regular-season leader in steals (2.9 spg.) and second in assists (7.7 apg.).

Group F

Italian champion Umana Reyer Venice (8-2) not only finished atop Group B but tied for the best record of all teams in the regular season. Reyer's strength is its defense; the team allowed the second-fewest points in the regular season (71.3) and held opponents to the second-lowest two-point shooting percentage (46.2%) and the lowest three-point shooting numbers (27.7%). One reason for its defensive prowess is that Reyer blocked the second-most shots (3.3 bpg.), too. Germani Leonessa Brescia (6-4) finished second in Group C after losing a tiebreaker to UNICS Kazan. After suffering a low point with a EuroCup record-low of 35 points scored at home against Darussafaka in Round 4, Brescia went 4-2 the rest of the way and finished the regular season with a 4-1 record at home. This is Brescia's second EuroCup campaign and it will be its first Top 16 appearance. EWE Baskets Oldenburg (6-4) ranked third in Group D with the same record as second-placed Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul, which finished higher on a tiebreaker. Oldenburg shined by leading all teams in both steals (9.6 spg.) and forcing the most turnovers (16.1). Triple-double threat Rasid Mahalbasic posted a performance index rating of 19.3 to lead Oldenburg and ranked sixth-best in the regular season. Promitheas Patras (6-4) started its debut EuroCup season with a bang and won five of its first six games in Group A before losing three of its last four to place fourth. Promitheas tied for the third-fewest turnovers (12.2) in the regular season and also tied for the second-most three-pointers made (101). That modern brand of basketball has served the club well.

Group G

UNICS Kazan (6-4) is the 2011 EuroCup champion and this time finished atop Group C. Former EuroCup MVP Errick McCollum is UNICS's star; his average performance index rating of 19.8 was third-best in the regular season and led all players who reached the Top 16. UNICS also committed the second-fewest turnovers (12.1) per game. Last season, UNICS reached the semifinals for the fifth time and it looks to add to that number this year. Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul (6-4), the 2016 EuroCup winner, placed second in Group D. After failing to reach the round of 16 last season for the first time in the EuroCup, Galatasaray is back. Aaron Harrison leads a balanced Galatasaray attack with 16.6 points per game. AS Monaco (6-4) came in third in Group A and is known as a hard-working team that could go far. It was the regular season's best-rebounding team (39.4 rpg.) and second in steals (9.0 spg.) Anthony Clemmons had a lot tot to do with the latter number, his 2.6 steals per game were second in the regular season. A quarterfinalist last season and the EuroCup champion in both 2005 and 2009, Rytas Vilnius (4-6) is the only team to reach the Top 16 this season with a losing record. One area when Rytas is most dangerous is on the offensive glass; it ranked second in the regular season in offensive rebounds (12.8). This season marks the 11th time in 12 EuroCup seasons in which Rytas has reached the round of 16.

Group H

Unicaja Malaga (7-3), which finished atop Group D, is in its third EuroCup campaign. It was the EuroCup champion in 2017 and reached the quarterfinals last season. The team boasts the best team performance index rating (100.4) in the EuroCup. Unicaja has worn opponents down by getting to the free-throw line and making shots, which is especially important in close games. Unicaja’s 208 free throws made in the regular season were the most in the competition by a wide margin; AS Monaco was second with 167. Unicaja also ranked third in free throw accuracy at 80%. Group H not only has the team with the best PIR, but it also has the team with the second-highest PIR and the most points scored. MoraBanc Andorra (7-3) averaged a 97.3 PIR and 85.3 points per game. A EuroCup semifinalist last season, Andorra finished second in Group A. It led the competition with 112 three-pointers made as well as in two-point (59.8%) and three-point (41.5%) shooting percentages. The Andorra frontline also held its opponents to the fewest rebounds (30.2) and fewest offensive rebounds (8.9) in the regular season. By finishing third in Group B, Tofas Bursa (5-5) reached the Top 16 for the first time after coming up agonizingly short in each of the past two seasons. No team has handled the ball as well as Tofas, which not only delivered the most assists (20.7 apg.) in the EuroCup, but also tied for the third-fewest turnovers (12.2)! Two Tofas players who have stood out are Devin Williams, who ranked third in the regular season in rebounding (8.3 rpg.) and veteran Sammy Mejia, who has already moved up to seventh on the EuroCup career scoring charts and with 77 points in the stage could climb as high as second on the all-time charts. Joventut Badalona (5-5) is undefeated at home this season, its return to the EuroCup after a decade-long hiatus. The 2008 EuroCup champion, Joventut finished third in Group C and missed the top spot by one win. The attack was led by Klemen Preperlic, whose 17.8 points per game made him the regular-season scoring champ. Always dangerous in a close game, Joventut ranked second in free-throw shooting at 80.5%.