Eurocup’s title contenders, Partizan and Virtus Bologna will face each other today

The derby of Eurocup’s Top 16 round 1 will take place on Wednesday in Serbia, where Partizan Belgrade host Virtus Bologna in a very interesting match. Partizan was second in his group, while Virtus Bologna won that group and now, in Group E, they have the first chance to go further in front of Darussafaka and Trento.

At home, in Stark Arena, Partizan is a very good team, winning 14 out of 15 official matches played there in the 2019-2020 season, in all competitions. The only team that won here was another Italian team, Reyer Venezia, in the start of November. They know how to use their energy from the fans and is very hard to get a good result here or to stay focused for an entire game. Crvena Zvezda, Cedevita Olimpija, Tofas, Lokomotiv Kuban or Limoges, all of them suffered heavy losses in Stark Arena. In their last ABA League’s game, Partizan received the visit of Mornar Bar. Partizan took control of the game from the first minute and never had doubts on the final outcome of the game. After a stellar defense and a nice sharing of the ball, they won the game 88-75. The main contributors were: Marcus Paige (19 points and 2 steals), Reggie Redding (16 points and 4 assists) and Rade Zagorac (13 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists).

Virtus Bologna is travelling to Belgrade with very good morale after 3 wins in a row, when they beat rivals, Fortitudo Bologna and Olimpia Milano, while in their last game, they played against Trento which will also meet in Eurocup’s Top 16 stage. Virtus took control of the game from the beginning and at halftime, they had a 17 points lead. Despite a very good third quarter from Trento, Virtus managed to hold the lead until the final sound of the buzzer. They were very good on the defensive end, where they hold Trento to only 38% shots made from the field. Also, in the rebounding stats, they had 54 rebounds compared to opponents’ 39. The main scorers in the game were: Milos Teodosic (30 points and 5 rebounds), Julian Gamble (19 points and 9 rebounds) and Kyle Weems (15 points and 7 rebounds).

Both teams had good defensive displays in their last game, which will make the encounter more interesting and tougher. I expect Partizan to play at their maximum, because adding Virtus Bologna to that list of teams that left Stark Arena defeated, will be huge for them. It’s too hard to give a prediction here because everything is possible.

Photo: Eurocup

Bogdan Vasile Tirc