Will Virtus Bologna be able to defeat Baskonia?
Return to the continental competition for Virtus Bologna and Cazoo Baskonia, Friday 24th. Both come with their morale down after 2 bad matches played in the national cup. Baskonia comes after a difficult defeat against Joventut due to a 3rd quarter in which they allowed 33 points. Virtus lost the Cup’s final against Brescia and suffered a lot on defense, failing to stop Amedeo Della Valle, the author of 26 points.
The hosts, Virtus are in pretty good shape in the Euroleague where they come after a home defeat against Barcelona and 2 wins against Crvena Zvezda and Lyon. Scariolo declared after the match with Brescia that “we have thought more about how nice it would have been to win the cup instead of thinking about what we needed to do to win it.”. Probably, in the match with the Basques, we will not see the defensive mistakes from the cup match. Virtus with 11-13 is 12th place only 2 victories under the playoff spots with 77.8 ppg, 31.4 reb and 19 ast. The leaders are Tornike Shengelia with 10.3 ppg, Milos Teodosic with 9.9 ppg and 5.6 ast and Sami Ojeleye with 9.6 ppg. Semi Ojeleye will be doubtful for the match due to a tendon injury in his right leg.
Baskonia’s 7th place at 13-11 is due to their home field where they are 10-2, away from being one of the weakest teams with only 3 wins in 12 matches. They come after a series of 5 defeats in Euroleague trips to teams such as Alba Berlin, Bayern, Partizan, Milan and Zalgiris. They have in Euroleague 85.4 ppg, 34 reb and 19.5 ast. The leaders are Markus Howard at 15.4 ppg, Darius Thompson 10.8 ppg and 5.8 ast and Matt Costello at 9.9 ppg. The team suffers offensively due to the absence of Pierria Henry 9.9 ppg and 6.2 ast.
It will be a duel in which Virtus will try to benefit from the larger and much more balanced roster against Baskonia without Henry and with an extremely poor away game.
Photo credit: EuroLeague