For a quick informational brief in advance of the Semaine des As tournament tipping off today, Francophones should head over to a site called LeMans.Maville.com. For a rough feeling of this excellent piece, cobbled together from remedial French knowledge and online translators with a gob of poetic license, read on.
Chorale Roanne. At home the “Chorale” sings; away, this team only sings the blues, losing by lopsided scores at Le Mans (73-58), against Villeurbanne (88-57) and Nancy (101-62). Home at Andre-Vacheresse, however, Roanne is firing on all cylinders, as seen in the team’s 72-71 win over Cholet. The man to watch: Uche Nsonwu-Amadi.
Asvel Lyon Villeurbanne. So much for being the favorites. Were they not hosts, Asvel might not be attending this party at all. The team’s recent defeat at Poitiers, its 11th in the last 19 games, may indicate the team mortgaged a bit too much for the playoffs last season. The man to watch: Mindaugas Lukauskas.
Gravelines Dunkerque. The returns of Yannick Bokolo and Rob Lewin will give Gravelines its teeth back. The man to watch: J.K. Edwards.
SLUC Nancy. Typically quite irresistible at home, Nancy is just one week removed from a shocking 90-74 home loss to Chalon. Even if this team is full of talent, Nancy is still struggling to be efficient over 40 minutes. The man to watch: Marcus Slaughter.
Entente Orleanaise. In winning six of its last seven LNB games, Philippe Hervé’s team appears to be one of the Semaine des As favorites. The man to watch: Justin Doellman.
Le Mans. After seeming unbeatable early, an extended European campaign is resulting in tired bodies in Le Mans. Still, on any given day, MSB can beat anyone. The man to watch: Dee Spencer.
Cholet. Since January, Cholet has hit a rough patch, including two one-point losses that threaten to hurt morale. Erman Künter’s team has been suffering inside lately. The man to watch: Samuel Mejia.
Vichy. Beaten by one point in Cholet and by more to a shaken Orleanaise, Vichy seems to have lost some of its superb defense and has experienced a decline in inside game. The man to watch: Dounia Issa. (Of course, yesterday it was reported that Issa would be out for the entire tournament. D’oh! –Ed.)