By: Sam Meyerkopf and Nick Gibson
A 2-1 start is less than ideal, but it’s enough to work with. Five more games today. Let’s try and do better.
Zalgiris (4-6) vs. Maccabi Electra (7-3)
Sam: Guilty secret: I loved Reeves Nelson in college. He played with attitude (which hasn’t helped him off the court) and went after people. My admiration for Reeves will not be enough though for Zalgiris to overcome the much more talented Maccabi. Maccbi Electra.
Nick: Let’s hope Dainius Salenga brought some extra ‘roids for his buddies. Except for Paulius Jankunas. You know, because there’s no need to medicate Herculean strength. Maccabi Electra.
Anadolu Efes (5-5) vs. Galatasaray (4-6)
Sam: In the best interest of maintaining the homecourt advantage, the Efes box office should have withheld all tickets from Galatasaray fans. Even if a few fans did get tickets, Galatasaray can’t score enough to stick with Efes. This is the must watch game of the day. Andaolu Efes.
Nick: This derby won’t disappoint; expect a win/loss margin of under six, and expect Dusko Savanovic to turn up the Top 16 heat, a la last season in Valencia. Anadolu Efes.
Unicaja (4-6) vs. Real Madrid (7-3)
Sam: With Joel Freeland there was a slim chance Unicaja could win this game, without him there is close to none. With the way this team is injured and recent players have been released, they might be lucky to suit up eight guys. Real Madrid.
Nick: Your classic case of two teams trending in opposite directions. Even with a healthy Freeland, Real Madrid still comes into Martin Carpena Arena and hands Unicaja an L. Real Madrid.
Olimpia Milano (4-6) vs. Panathinaikos (7-3)
Sam: Get that thought out of your head now. Milano at home, in the first game of the Top 16, maybe they could catch Panathinaikos off guard? Nope, they won’t, Kostas Kaimakoglou keeps looking better and better, PAO rolls. Panathinaikos.
Nick: Another match-up of contrasting clubs. Panathinaikos is as predictably steady as they come, while Milano is lucky their wheels regripped the road before slamming into elimination. It’d be cool to say, “Drew Nicholas is ready to give it to his former team!” But we’ve all watched him this year. Not happening. Zeljko over everything. Panathinaikos.
Barcelona Regal (9-1) vs. Bennet Cantu (5-5)
Sam: Well this week isn’t very fun, as it seems there are very few opportunities for upsets. This is usually when things can go crazy, when everything looks so simple. Cantu beating Barcelona at home? Well that, my friend, that isn’t crazy; that’s downright insane. Barcelona Regal.
Nick: ELA has been to 10 or 11 games at Palau Blaugrana this season and haven’t been treated to a Barcelona loss. Not even a single-digit win. Cantu doesn’t have the depth inside to show us anything different. Barcelona Regal.