This week will be played the second elimination round of the third European competition, FIBA Eurocup. Here are some thoughts about the upcoming matches.
- KK Igokea Partizan Aleksandrovac – Khimik
- Barons Riga – Iscar Nahariya
- My Guide Amsterdam – Dexia Mons-Hainaut
- BC Dnipro – Proteas EKA AEL
- Plannja Basket – CSK Samara
- KR Basket – Banvit BC
- Zlatorog – Olympia
- Lappeenranta – Keravnos Nicosia
- Tartu Rock – BK Prostejov
- PAOK BC Marfin – U-Mobitelco
- AEK – Cholet Basket
- KK Zagreb – BCM Gravelines
- Apoel Nicosia – Cherkaski Mavpy
- Olypias Patras – Ural Great
- Spartak St. Petersburg – Maroussi
- BC Strumica 2005 – Lokomotiv Rostov
This time again, I had to do a lot of research to find out something about some of these teams. First of all, the names like they are mentioned on the official FIBA Europe website don’t say a lot, some of them are Sponsor names but some are really without any indication where the team comes from. Or did you know where K.R. Basket or Lappeenranta come from? The first one is from Iceland, the other one from Finland.
The first game will be KK Igokea vs Khimik, the 5th from Bosnia against the actual 7th from the Ukraine. At least, when you check the arena of Khimik, you can easily imagine where the money is.
Demetrius Alexander and Kaspars Berzins versus Otis Hill and Sasa Ocokoljic looks like a nice matchup. At least, that will be what the 11200 fans in the Riga Arena can see this week when the local Barons will play against Nahariya.
My Guide Amsterdam will have to travel to Mons this week. Not to far away though as it is pretty close compared to their first trip in the European competition which led them to Georgia.
Another Ukrainian team on the upside is BC Dnipro which features only players born in the Eastern European country. Quite an opposition as their opponents from Cyprus have 9 different nationalities on their roster. The most notable players may be Ryan Randle and Karim Souchu.
Plannja Basket is the first Swedish team to enter the race. But their opposition is quite huge with a roster with several big names like Alex Scales, Yaniv Green or Marque Perry in Samara.
Probably the longest distance to travel will be for Banvit and KR Basket. Turkey to Iceland seems to be the biggest distance on the European continent. And the playing level of both teams should be separated by an as nearly as big difference.
The former Euroleague team Pivovarna Lasko, which is now called Zlatorog will have to face with its local roster the Greeks of Olympia Larissa. This looks like a quite even match up as the Greeks did not start very successful into the new season.
The game between Lappeenranta from Finland and Keravnos Nicosia from Cyprus has already been played on Monday evening and the Fins will take a 16 point lead to Cyprus.
Tartu Rock looks like the favorite against BK Prostejov from the Czech Republic. The Estonian team has only one defeat so far which also counts for the team from Prostejov. However I see a little advantage for the Estonians who featured the 7 footer Brian Cusworth from Harvard.
PAOK BC where we had already a nice story yesterday should normally beat U-Mobitelco from Romania. However, I want to mention the very nice Homepage of the Romanian team which features some very interesting information about the players.
The game between AEK against Cholet Basket looks maybe the most interesting if you check the names of the teams. The two former Euroleague teams have their glorious years behind them and are in a steady rebuilding process at the moment.
For the fans of Gravelines, it will be a very interesting round as they play KK Zagreb which features one of the most promising Center talents in Europe in the person of Ante Tomic. The 1987 born Tomic will probably excel with his all-around talent and bring some trouble to the Gravelines paint.
Another game of the unknown teams will be played between Apoel Nicosia and Cherkaski Mavpy. Okay, Apoel is the unbeaten leader of the Cypriotic league and features big names like Tyson Wheeler or Joseph Garcia. But one the other side, the Ukranian team from Cherkasy is investing a lot of money in the building process of a successful roster. BTW, Mavpy has one of the best logos in Europe.
From the heat of Greece to the ice of Siberia is the way that Olympias Patras has to travel this round. Ural Great Perm has an interesting roster built around the scoring guard Andrew Wisniewski and the Belgian forward Ralph Biggs. It will also be a nice return for Maurice Whitfield who is now playing for Patras and was a member of Ural Great last season.
Another Greek-Russian match up will be the round between Spartak St. Petersburg and Maroussi. The Greek roster does not look like there is a lot of money but maybe they pay the salaries at least. Because the Russian roster looks more like a place for young non-succesful NBA players that continue to lose in the Russian league.
A more successful collection of former NBA players has been assembled in Rostov where Anthony Goldwire and Szymon Szewczyk are winning some games together with former Spurs draftee Sergey Karaulov and Nestor Kommatos. Compared to the roster of BC Strumica 2005, it is scary to imagine the financial differences between both teams.