The opener round of the second stage of the Fiba Europe Cup will oppose two Romanian teams, the reigning champions CSM Oradea and probably the next champions U-Banca Transilvania. It is seen by many as a true derby but I see the host team as the main favorite to win the encounter. Let’s review my arguments:
- since the beginning of September, I saw U-Banca Transilvania as a title contender in Fiba Europe Cup. They gathered an impressive roster guided by an amazing strategist, Dusko Vujosevic. Players like Darko Planinic, Patrick Richard, Karlo Zganec, Artis Ate, Donatas Tarolis and Kerron Johnson are some of the biggest names to play in this European competition not only this season but since the beginning of it.
- CSM Oradea has some good players too but they have 2 problems: 1. compared with the U’s foreigners, Oradea’s ones are only decent, not brilliant for this phase of the competition 2. Oradea’s bench is very poor in contribution
- the Serbian center Dragan Zekovic was rested for the last game in the domestic league (he was also rested against BC Fribourg, 2 weeks ago). He probably won’t play for CSM Oradea in this encounter.
- the host team had a week of rest between the last game played at home vs. Pitesti in the Romanian league, while CSM Oradea has made a trip this weekend to Bucharest to face Dinamo
- these 2 teams have met previously, this season in the domestic league and in spite of the final result (89-82), it was an easy win for U-Banca Transilvania who led the entire game, hammering the opponents from the first minutes of the encounter.
These 2 teams will face again, on 14 December, in the Romanian league in Oradea and there I trust CSM with the first chance to win because the circumstances will be totally different.
Photo: Fiba Europe Cup