By: Sam Meyerkopf / @HoopLikeDrazen
If you missed last week’s addition of the Euroleague Advancing Cliff I went in-depth on all the teams still trying to advance to the Euroleague’s Top 16. Here is a briefer updated version of the situation for every team left after the aftermath of Week 9.
Fenerbahce Ulker (4-5)
Week 10 Matchup: vs. Mapooro Cantu
Situation: Win or go home. Point differential does no matter.
Chances of Advancing: 35%. If this game was in Italy, that number might be in the single digits. With the type of effort Cantu played with last week against Real, Fenerbahce is going to have to go to a level team wise this week they haven’t been all year if they want a chance to advance. Cohesiveness, flexibility, confidence, composure, whatever word you want to use that can be attributed to good team basketball, they need to have on Thursday. You want to know the last time this Fenerbahce team scored over 70 points in Europe’s widest ranging competition…Week 4. They can’t defend you, they fall apart in the second half, and they also aren’t very effectively offensively either. I’ve been attempting to fund their burial the last couple weeks, but it’s about time we all grab a shovel.
Mapooro Cantu (3-6)
Week 10 Matchup: at Fenerbahce Ulker
Situation: Win or go home. Point differential does no matter.
Chances of Advancing: 65%. Just keep playing hard. Keep attacking the offensive glass (15 vs. Real Madrid). Keep putting pressure on the defense. Stay in constant attack mode. Cantu didn’t play amazingly against Real last week but they constantly went after offensive rebounds, loose balls, open driving lanes, fast break opportunities, and many more effort plays. As the game got tighter, they played even harder, and showed it can do exactly what it needs to close out must-win games. Fenerbahce hasn’t shown that and in coin flip game I’m going with the team I know won’t quit no matter how tough the going gets.
Union Olimpija (3-6) ELIMINATED
Week 10 Matchup: at Real Madrid
Situation: I forgot to mention Union Olimpija last week because even with their record and one Klemen Prepelic amazing game winner, they’re already eliminated. They’re only chance would have been win this week and hope for a Cantu win and then Union, Cantu, and Fenerbahce would all be tied at 4-6. Union beat Cantu twice, Cantu will have beaten Fenerbahce twice, and Fenerbahce beat Union twice. Point differential between the teams means everything. The third tie breaker is point differential in the games played between these teams. Right now it looks like this: Union is -8, Cantu is +9, and Fenerbahce is -1. If Cantu wins they will be extending their point differential between the three teams making it impossible for Union to advance. They can blame Fenerbahce for getting blown out in Week 5 by Cantu for ruining their advancing chances.
Chances of Advancing: 0%. See above.
Caja Laboral (3-6)
Week 10 Matchup: vs. Cedevita Zagreb
Situation: Win and they advance. Loss and a Milano wins, they are eliminated. Loss and a Milano loss means everyone in Group C trying to advance is 3-3 (Caja, Milano, Cedevita). Caja beat Milano twice, Milano beat Cedevita twice, and Cedevita beat Caja twice meaning we are back to square one again. Point differential between the teams means everything. The third tie breaker is point differential in the games played between these teams. Right now it looks like this: Caja is +5, Milano is +15, and Cedevita is -20. So in this scenario, Caja would be eliminated because with a loss they can’t make up the ten points they are down in differential to Milano.
Chances of Advancing: 87%. In Vitoria on a two game winning streak, the Basque squad is finally rounding in to form. They are still far away from a well rounded team but their baby steps are slowly taking them there. Last week versus Anadolou Efes, the game was relatively close through three quarters (65-59 Caja) but then Caja closed out the fourth 26 to 17, putting an exclamation point on their offensive performance. Thomas Heurtel was decisive and effective. He’s going to make some mistakes and he’s better at creating his own shot than one for others but when allowed to play to his strengths, he looks good. Scoring 22 points on 5/6 from two point range and 4/6 from three with four assists and five turnovers vs. Efes, Huertel was exactly himself. An extremely confident pull up long range shooter with sometimes questionable decision making but now he is playing through his mistakes instead of getting pulled by Dusko Ivanovic every time he makes one. Caja will need Huertel big time on Friday but even if he shoots half as well as last week, if he plays with the same demeanor Caja should push into the Euroleague’s next stage.
Armani Milano (3-6)
Week 10 Matchup: at Olympiacos
Situation: Win and Caja loss and they advance. If Caja wins they’re eliminated. Loss and a Caja loss and I will repeat the same thing that was in the Caja explanation with a Milano twist:
Everyone in Group C trying to advance is 3-3 (Caja, Milano, Cedevita). Caja beat Milano twice, Milano beat Cedevita twice, and Cedevita beat Caja twice meaning we are back to square one again. Point differential between the teams means nothing. The third tie breaker is overall point differential. Right now it looks like this: Caja is +5, Milano is +15, and Cedevita is -20. So in this scenario, as long as Cedevita beats Caja by less than 36, Milano advances.
Chances of Advancing: 11%. It’s not looking too good for Milano. They’ve lost now six of seven and just couldn’t squeeze it out last week against Zalgiris at home. Omar Cook choked at the free throw line and the team scored two baskets in the last five minutes. Their offensive execution was bad and the flow of the team was overall very rough. Beating Olympiacos in Pireaus is hard enough, hoping to do that and have Caja lose at home to Cedevita, damn near impossible.
Cedevita Zagreb (2-7)
Week 10 Matchup: at Caja Laboral
Situation: Needs to beat Caja by 36 and hope for a Milano loss to advance. No win, no win by 36, no Milano loss, eliminated.
Chances of Advancing: 2% This should be zero percent but because Caja already has a 37 point loss on the books, I can’t totally put it to rest. Cedevita is really mediocre and no one has scored less than 75 points against them this season. Meaning they need to beat Caja at a clip of something like 101-75. Sure Bracey Wright and Mickael Gelabale are a pretty damn formidable wing combo, but with advancing on the line in Vitoria, a blowout win by Cedevita would be one of the worst losses ever for the historic Basque club. Cedevita shoots a lot of threes (eight in the Euroleague in attempts) so don’t be surprised to see a long range shooting contest but shooting at a bottom five Euroleague clip of 32.3% is not going to get you anywhere.
Brose Baskets Bamberg (2-7)
Week 10 Matchup: vs. Partizan Belgrade
Situation: Win and they are in thanks to John Goldsberry’s last second shot. Loss and they are out. It’s as simple as that. They control everything.
Chances of Advancing: 50%. This number is higher because they are playing at home and are the only one of these three that hold their destiny in their own hands. After the kinda of extra effort teams like Cantu and Caja Laboral came out with last week with Top 16 spots at risk, it was really surprising to see the effort Brose brought. They were flat for most of the game versus Rytas and really didn’t give that extra hustle needed to win games this late in the Regular Season. I still trust the veterans Casey Jacobsen, Goldsberry, Anton Gavel, and Boki Nachbar over Partizan’s extreme youth in a do or die game but this is going to be a nail bitter. Brose needs to bring it on Thursday. What Partizan lacks in experience they’ll bring in effort. They’ll be getting after it and running every where. Brose needs to match that intensity level and beyond. I have faith that amid all the chaos, Brose has the leaders to guide them through finally to the Top 16.
Partizan Belgrade (2-7)
Week 10 Matchup: at Brose Baskets Bamberg
Situation: Win and a Rytas loss and they advance. Win and a Rytas win and they’re eliminated because of point differential versus Rytas. Lose and they’re eliminated.
Chances of Advancing: 30%. They had it last week. Partizan HAD undefeated Barcelona on the ropes for the second time this season but couldn’t pull through. We discussed the game in-depth on the podcast last week but what a chance for Partizan. They have now played five games this season decided by five points or less and won one of them. Their late game offensive options of Leo Westermann creating a scoring opportunity for someone or a Vladimir Lucic drive are good but still a little tight in the clutch moments. Heading in to what is sure to be a hostile environment in Bamberg, it will truly be an incredible test for such a young team. This will be a treat for all because rarely do we see a team so young and talented have opportunities like this to grow up quickly and change the direction of their season with one game.
Lietuvos Rytas (2-7)
Week 10 Matchup: at Besiktas
Situation: Win and a Brose loss and they are in. Win and a Brose win and they are eliminated. Lose and they are eliminated. If Rytas could have boxed out Maik Zirbes last week and prevented John Goldsberry from even getting a shot, it would be win and in if they take down Besiktas.
Chances of Advancing: 20%. And to think I wrote this team off last week. They played real hard and just attacked the offensive glass, pulling down 16 o-boards. So much of this game is riding on Ronnie Seibutis who scored 19 last week. He needs to get close to that number this week and hope for a continued effort on the glass. Besiktas doesn’t have a big front line but they have a very hard working one. This will be a total scrap game with the team that plays ugly better coming out on top. Rytas has a lot more to play for than Besiktas but that won’t stop the Istanbul squad from really guarding Rytas all over the court.