Lietuvos Rytas vs. Galatasaray Café Crown Galatasaray looked impressive in dispatching Asvel Villeurbanne (O, Tony Parker, où êtes-vous?) and putting up 93 points, the highest total registered in qualifying round games thus far. Better yet, the high-profile additions to the already solid Turkish team’s roster appear to be working perfectly: Jaka Lakovic and Darius Songaila contributed a whopping 40 points combined in the win.
On the other side of the court, Lietuvos Rytas has taken care of business against both opponents faced – KK Buducnost and Cibona Zagreb – with their margins of victory 19 and 16 points, respectively. L.Rytas started the match with the intriguing and somewhat unexpectated combination of Jonas Valanciunas and Vilmantas Dilys at the forward spots, showing the depth this team brings; security they’ll surely need against the long roster of Galatasaray – heck, on paper, the Turkish team may actually have *more* talent man for man.
But there’s no way BiE can go against a Lithuanian side after the heartbreak of EuroBasket 2011; the Official BallinEurope Fearless Prediction™ here has Lietuvos Rytas 90, Galatasaray 87 … but another performance like yesterday’s by Songaila and Galatasaray might just sneak past.
Spirou Basket v. CEZ Nymburk. Is Nymburk ready to make the step up to the big league? After holding Banvit BK to a qualifying-round low point total of 57, the Czech side handily beat frequent Euroleague participants BC Khimki Moscow Region, 86-79, in what the EL official site calls “the biggest upset of the season so far.”
Or was it? Against Khimki, Nymburk simply showed its strengths while keeping the battle for the boards irrelevant. A nice barrage of jumpshots from the likes of Tre Simmons and Pavel Pumprla got the team off to a 21-3 lead, a deficit few teams (including the so-cold Khimki) could overcome. Nymburk showed amazing ball movement and displayed excellent judgment in finding the open man – more often than not, one of the aforementioned deadshots.
Spirou Basket, meanwhile, has the distinct home-court advantage; indeed, after surviving quite a scare against BC Donetsk, the Belgians are now 5-0 in the Euroleague Qualifying Round in the past two seasons on their home floor. And luckily for them, they found their game against Alba Berlin in the final 25 minutes or so of yesterday’s 74-63 win – the defense was solid, the experience players shone, and it all without Mickael Gelabale – to appear ready against the Czech Republic’s plucky underdogs. Official Fearless Prediction™: Don’t call it boring, call it stoic. Hometown Spirou wins, 73-67.