Basketball Champions League Playoffs – Week 1 Preview

2021-03-02T11:33:34+00:00 2021-03-02T11:33:34+00:00.

Stefan Djordjevic

02/Mar/21 11:33

The Basketball Champions League Playoffs tip off with seven games and the teams will be set on starting strong by winning duels that could go either way

By Stefan Djordjevic/

After a month-long break, the Basketball Champions League returns with a total of seven games on March 2 and March 3 that will start off the playoffs.

Due to the coronavirus, a big change has been made compared to previous years and, instead of a knockout stage, the teams have been split once again into groups (4×4). And it already served its purpose as AEK postponed the opener vs Nizhny Novgorod.

Two teams from each group will advance to the Final Eight Tournament and the competition will be fierce. Already in the first week of play, there will be a bunch of duels that can go either way.

Group I

Pinar Karsiyaka – Tofas Bursa (18:00 CET, March 3)
Happy Casa Brindisi – Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon (20:30 CET, March 3)

# Team P W L % Last 5 For Agt +/- FA AA
1  Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0
2  Tofas Bursa 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Pinar Karsiyaka 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Happy Casa Brindisi 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0

Group I action will fill out the schedule on Wednesday and it will tip off with one of the domestic clashes, in this case, a Turkish one as Pinar Karsiyaka and Tofas go at it.

Both teams have been having a successful season so far and have been on a run recently. Both squads lost just two games out of the last 13 played across all competitions.

It should be noted that Karsiyaka won both matches in the Turkish League and rather convincingly at that as Raymar Morgan and Tony Taylor proved to be troublesome for the opposing side. However, Tofas has been a different team since the arrival of Tomislav Zubcic and perhaps the third time’s the charm.

In the other fixture of the group, Brindisi will host Hapoel Holon with both teams having some ups and downs recently.

Both teams are capable of scoring in high volume although Brindisi has been having some trouble since D’Angelo Harrison got injured and it remains to be seen when the team’s top scorer will return and whether he’ll reach top form.

On the other side, Holon’s got everything under control so far and they’ve even made a transfer just in case. They made a unique agreement with Michael Jenkins who has been registered for BCL but will only be joining the team in case of an unexpected blow to the roster, like an injury or coronavirus positives.

Group J

Hereda San Pablo Brugos – VEF Riga (18:30 CET, March 2)
Igokea – Lenovo Tenerife (18:30 CET, March 3)

# Team P W L % Last 5 For Agt +/- FA AA
1  Lenovo Tenerife 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0
2  Hereda San Pablo Burgos 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Igokea 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0
4  VEF Riga 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0

Group J’s matchups have been split across the two days with the Spanish teams being clear favorites in the duels as well as overall to advance. However, their opponents aren’t to be underestimated.

The reigning champion in Burgos will face Riga which is on a seven-game winning streak across all competitions and managed to ruin the plans of Peristeri and Rytas Vilnius in the regular season.

On the other hand, the champs won the Intercontinental Cup but suffered two straight losses (vs Tenerife and Real Madrid) afterward and will be looking to bounce back without any reserves.

Meanwhile, Tenerife will go on the road for the duel against Igokea which made a big surprise to get past Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem.

Not only that but Igokea stands at the top of the ABA League together with Mornar Bar with 14-4 records, although they do have more games played than teams like Buducnost, Crvena Zvezda and Cedevita Olimpija who can change that.

But it’s enough to make a statement and Tenerife will have to go full power in order not to get taken down. The Spaniards have been doing fine in Liga Endesa with 18-5 and reached the Cup semifinals where they lost to Real Madrid in a close in which they led by as much as 18 points.

Group K

Turk Telekom – SIG Strasbourg (18:00 CET, March 2)
Nizhny Novgorod – AEK (postponed)

# Team P W L % Last 5 For Agt +/- FA AA
1  SIG Strasbourg 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0
2  Türk Telekom 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Nizhny Novgorod 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0
4  AEK 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0

AEK requested the postponement of the game against Nizhny Novgorod due to troubles with coronavirus and the BCL decided to allow it. The game should be played out on March 25 but that remains to be seen.

So, one game will be played in Group K as Turk Telekom hosts SIG Strasbourg. Both teams are on a run recently and both will look to start off with a win here and with as big of a margin s possible. The chances are it will come down to the tiebreakers later down the road.

Turk Telekom, as usual, counts on its ‘Ankara Rockets‘. Kyle Wiltjer, Sam Dekker, and Nick Johnson have been pushing the team forward while they got some reinforcements in Johnny O’Bryant and Marcus Foster, after parting ways with Michael Eric.

Group L

ERA Nymburk – Brose Bamberg (18:30 CET, March 2)
Dinamo Sassari – Casademont Zaragoza (20:30 CET, March 2)

# Team P W L % Last 5 For Agt +/- FA AA
1  Brose Bamberg 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0
2  Casademont Zaragoza 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Dinamo Sassari 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0
4  ERA Nymburk 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0

The ‘Group fo Death’. Arguably the fierce competition ended up being in Group L and it’s practically impossible to predict the outcomes of these matchups.

Every win will be huge and the ‘war’ tips off with Nymburk hosting Brose Bamberg. The Czech team has been dominating the domestic action with a 23-1 record but they did end up being second behind Tofas in the regular season.

On the other hand, Brose is the only team to finish the regular season with a perfect 6-0 record but they’ve been having some ups and downs in the German championship. Especially so on the road as they’ve lost four of the last five away games.

Late Tuesday night, Sassari will face off against Zaragoza in Italy. Both teams have been in top form and Sassari coach Ginamarco Pozzecco can be happy that he can depend on a number of different players to step up to the occasion.

Miro Bilan, Filip Kruslin, Marco Spissu, Eimantas Bendzius, Jason Burnell, Stefano Gentile to name some, have all been showing promise in recent games and it will be very hard for coach Sergio Hernandez to make up a defensive strategy to stop them all.

The Spaniards will have to pick and choose with his tactics but far from it that his team won’t do the same to the opponents offensively. Nicolas Brussino, Dylan Ennis, Robin Benzing, Elias Harris and Jason Thompson leading the charge.

This might be the most interesting duel to watch with a ton of exciting plays in a high-scoring effort from both sides.

Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League