Definitely a big game in this round in Turkey. Pinar Karsiaka is looking very good as I stated since summer when I saw their acquisition campaign. Right now they are undefeated in the Turkish league and I see them as a candidate for the final and even for the title both in Fiba Europe Cup and in the domestic league. Great coach, excellent roster, deep bench, lots of local players helping the team every game.
On the other side, after the first season of their comeback to the Turkish league, Turk Telekom seems stronger than last year at least till now. They won all their games in Basketball Champions League and in the domestic league they had some sweet victories against Eurocup teams like Galatasaray and Darussafaka.
I see Pinar Karsiaka as the favorite of today’s derby because:
- They are playing at home as well as they did it this week against Donar Groningen. So they didn’t travel the last days and that’s why they definitely had a better rest before the encounter.
- Turk Telekom is coming from Panevezys, a town in Lithuania where they played the last game on BasketballCL and there is a long journey they have made from there to Izmir, in order to face Pinar Karsiaka. I expect them to be tired, not in the best shape.
- I think Pinar Karsiaka has a better bench than Turk Telekom thanks to the local players like James Metecan Birsen, Semih Erden, Yunus Sonsirna on so on, who can come up with a great contribution.
The rotation of both teams is similar, but the quality is a bit different in the favor of Pinar Karsiaka. Anyway, I expect a great game open to all the possibilities, but if Pinar Karsiaka will play firmly they can win easily the encounter.
Photo: Basketball Champions League