By Stefan Djordjevic/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The quarterfinals leg-2 games, the last frontier before Basketball Champions League Final Four, are scheduled for this week. Game 1 clashes mostly belonged to the visitors as three out of four matchups ended with a road victory. But nothing is certain as there were also big surprises in the Round of 16.
One game will be played on Tuesday while the other three will be held on Wednesday.
AS Monaco – Banvit
In the only game played on Tuesday, AS Monaco is going to try and defend an eight-point lead they earned with a road victory against Banvit. Elmedin Kikanovic and Gerald Robinson led their team with a combined 38-point performance.
Things look very good for Monaco considering that they have won all of their 17 home games in the Basketball Champions League, scoring on average 82.7 points per game and conceding only 66 points per game on their territory. On the other side, a little bit of tradition is on Banvit’s side as Monaco lost three out of five BCL games against a Turkish opponent and two of those were against non-other than Banvit. Also, the Turkish team won three out of last four away games and have done so by at least eight points, the margin they need this time around.
The key difference might be the performance of the benches. Monaco’s reserves average 39.7 points per game in these playoffs, while Banvit’s is only about halfway there with 18.7 points per game.
medi Bayreuth – MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg
On Wednesday, the first game to start is the clash of German teams. Medi Bayreuth recorded an important win on the road in Game 1, giving them a five-point advantage against MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. It was mostly thanks to Gabe York who scored 18 points and pushed his team to the win in the closing moments.
York was the best scorer for his team in last five games and is two points shy to reach the 300 points milestone in this BCL season (the third player to achieve that). And he must be the primary defensive focus for Ludwigsburg if they want to turn his around. But they have big problems in defending the three-point shots as they conceded more than any other team this season (35). On the other side, they have also scored the most three-pointers (28), and have a joint-best of 10 steals per game in these playoffs.
UCAM Murcia – Pinar Karsiyaka
Augusto Lima led UCAM Murcia with 24 points to a road victory in Game 1 against Pinar Karsiyaka, although the game was sadly also remembered by an incident between Murcia’s Sadiel Rojas and the home crowd. The disciplinary action resulted in a sanction for Karsiyaka.
Regarding some general statistics, Pinar Karsiyaka have scored less than 70 points in two out of three last games despite reaching that number in their seven games before that. Murcia on the other side, conceded 69.3 points per game on average in these playoffs, fewer than any other team.
Traditionally, things don’t look good for Karsiyaka as no team has ever qualified for the next round in the BCL knockout stage after losing Game 1 with 14+ points.
SIG Strasbourg – AEK
It will be very hard for Strasbourg to overcome the deficit as AEK hasn’t lost an away game by more than nine points since December 2016 against Besiktas and have won their last three away games. But, Strasbourg showed much better play at home this season as they lost only two games, and what’s even more important is that they won their last two home games by 10+ points which is the margin they need this time too. The key for Strasbourg could be stopping Manny Harris who scored 73 points in these playoffs, more than any other player.
Here you can read what Strasbourg’s Dee Bost thinks about Game 1 and what might be the deciding factor in this matchup.