Tonight, the Lithuanian team with the most constant presence in Eurocup will face the visitors from Tofas. Tough game, very important for both teams to seal the tickets for the TOP16 of the competition. Rytas will try to do anything possible to win because the other competitor for the last spot of the group, Lokomotiv Kuban improved a lot, changing the attitude and the coach and they are coming strong without mercy.
Even if Rytas has won both encounters with Lokomotiv Kuban this season, the situation is very complicated and every point will count for the final rankings. Rytas rely mostly on a core of local players helped by only 3 foreigners, having one of the largest rotation in the Eurocup. On Sunday, at Zalgiris Kaunas, their eternal rival in the domestic league, they used 12 players. Rytas eventually lost the game against the Euroleague powerhouse, but they had a good lead in the second quarter, proving the quality of their game.
On the other side, Tofas Bursa is a strong team, a perfect combination between the experience of the veterans like Sammy Mejia, Matt Lojeski or Baris Ermis and the freshness of the bench, including many decent Turkish players. They are coming after a big win against Pinar Karsiyaka in the domestic league, but I feel that in Lithuania, the situation will be a bit different. Rytas won’t cease easy and Tofas is very much a home-team in Eurocup. Their only win away was at Lokomotiv Kuban, so this game in Vilnius will be very difficult for them. From this perspective, I think the Lithuanian squad has the first chance to steal the victory. Even it’s not actually a ‘do-or-die’ encounter it seems like one of those games, especially because the group’s situation is very complicated, with the loser of this encounter depending a lot on Lokomotiv Kuban’s results.