BallinEurope is previewing all 18 Euroleague Basketball teams over the next 18 days. Yesterday it was the turn of Virtus Bologna whereas today it’s their opening night opponents of Kazys Maksyvtis and Zalgiris Kaunas.
With one whopper of a change off the court close to the season, there’s no doubt that Virtus Bologna is fine with drama. What’s the rest of their story going to look like?
Euroleague record: 19-15
Regular season position: 7th
Playoffs: Lost 3-0 (FC Barcelona)
LKL record: 28-5
Regular season position: 1st
Playoffs: Won finals 3-2 (Rytas)
Other: Won King Mindaugas Cup (Jonava)
Motiejus Krivas (Arizona, NCAA), Tyler Cavanaugh (Bahcesehir), Achille Polonara (Virtus Bologna), Isaiah Taylor (Shanxi Loongs), Liutauras Lelevicius (Lietkabelis, loan), Karolos Lukosiunas (free agent).
Who is new?
Brady Manek (Tofas), Naz Mitrou-Long (Olimpia Milano), Danelius Lavrinovicius (Nevezis)
Kazys Maksyvtis (Coach), Kevarrius Hayes, Tomas Dimsa, Roland Smits, Edgaras Ulanovas, Arnas Butkevicius, Ignas Brazdeikis, Laurynas Birutis, Lukas Lekavicius
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Need to know
This is arguably one of the most stable rosters in Euroleague Basketball. That is rare to be say for a team with one of the lowest budgets in the competition. Just to be clear, it’s not just rare for Zalgiris it’s rare for any team at the lower end of the total budget scale.
The arena is one of the finest on the continent. You can guarantee that Zalgiris will bring one of the best atmospheres in all of basketball all season long. This is definitely on any basketball fan’s checklist of places to catch a game.
What the bookies think
The sportsbooks aren’t hot on Zalgiris but they aren’t freezing cold either. Right now, Zalgiris Kaunas can be had for 40/1 to win it all on basketball betting. That’s a reasonable price. This is a rare time I’m not coming down hard on the odds on Euroleague Basketball.
What we think
Repeating last year’s run to the playoffs is going to be tough. A lot of the teams Zalgiris Kaunas finished above last season have improved their rosters considerably. That being said, there’s a lot to be said for stability with small tweaks. I wouldn’t be shocked if their overall win/loss record isn’t too far from last season’s 19-15.
The win/loss record may not change but there’s an absolute clump of teams in Euroleague Basketball who will all finish within about 2 wins of each other. Realistically, I could see places 6 through 13 or maybe even 14 being separated by that much. In that shuffle, I’ve got Zalgiris on the lower end. That said, if there’s one pick I’m doubting in this preview series, it’s this one.
Pick: 12th place in the regular season