Julien Debove, who wrote alot about European basketball for BallinEurope and also is co-founder of the french Basketball magazine REVERSE, gives us his unique view of what the lonely Final Four favorite CSKA Moscow will do at the Top8:
With Panathinaikos and Real Madrid both in the closet, you’d think CSKA would have a free ticket to the Euroleague title. But of course things are a bit more complicated.
In quarter finals, the Red Army team will face a squad that is on a 4-game winning streak in Euroleague action. Plus Olympiacos already beat CSKA this year, back in January during the 1st round (71-67). Thing is those 2 teams have very little in common with the 2 teams that faced each other 3 months ago. Savrasenko got hurt, Messina brought back 2 former CSKA players in Tomas Van den Spiegel and Viktor Khryapa.
Coach Gershon got fired, Giannakis replaced him. Marc Jackson was released, Macijauskas is back from injury…
Truth is I think CSKA will win 2-0 but I believe it’ll be two very close games. Smodis proved to be back in full shape those last couple of Russian league games. Papaloukas is getting better every week. Plus this team has fresher legs since several star players only play Euroleague games because of the 5 foreign players rule in the Russian Superleague. This team is too deep and well-coached to fall that early in the post season. Had Olympiacos been dominant in the paint – one of CSKA’s only limited weaknesses – it might be another story.
But with Marc Jackson gone and Baby Shaq losing his love handles, I stand by my 2-0 CSKA prediction.