Karsiyaka: Competitive at any rhythm
Looking back at its last couple of games, you can tell Karsiyaka is a very competitive team, as it set defensive and offensive records in do-or-die situations. Entering the game with a 1-3 Last 32 record, Karsiyaka allowed 43 points, the third-best defensive effort ever in the Eurocup, on the road against Trabzonspor Medical Park. Then, in a need of a win, Karsiyaka went on to score a Eurocup season-high 109 points against Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia. Most importantly, Karsiyaka not only won both games, but did it by an average margin of 38 points, so it faces Galatasaray in very good form.
Ataman vs. Sarica: Good coaches and good friends
Two of the best Turkish coaches in recent history, Ergin Ataman and Ufuk Sarica, are set to temporarily to put their good friendship aside when they face each other again. Ataman coached Sarica on the Turkish national team and briefly at Efes Pilsen, too, back in 1999. Turkey placed eighth at EuroBasket 1997 with Ataman as assistant coach and Sarica averaging 13.2 points. When Sarica started his coaching career, Ataman offered him a job. Sarica was Ataman's assistant at Besiktas and Efes Pilsen from 2007 to 2010. Sarica was promoted to the head spot when Ataman left the team. Ataman and Sarica still work together with the Turkish national team.
Chuck Davis: In search of the ultimate milestone
After joining Galatasaray midway through the Last 32, Chuck Davis has a good chance to climb higher the all-time Eurocup charts. Davis previously played one Eurocup season with Telindus Oostende and five with Banvit Bandirma. He ranks fifth on the Eurocup's all-time scoring list with 1,070 points, but if Galatasaray has a long run this season and Davis plays well, he could get very close to the top. Mire Chatman leads the scoring list with 1,187 points and Todor Stoykov is second at 1,138 - just 68 points in front of Davis. He is third in index ranking (1,208), 13th in rebounds (363 and only 10 boards away from 10th place), eighth in blocks (67), second in free throws made (353) and first in two-point shots made (360). The next-best scorer active in the competition is Kresimir Loncar of ALBA Berlin, who is 20th with 871 points.
Offense at home, defense on the road
Galatasaray and Karsiyaka followed the same scoring patterns throughout the Top 16. When it comes to home games, Galatasaray ranked second in scoring at 92.3 points per game and scored at least 87 in each one, and Karsiyaka was fourth at 89.7. Both teams shined on defense at home (Galatasaray 69 ppg. allowed, Karsiyaka 72.7) and on the road (Galatasaray 65.3 ppg. allowed, Karsiyaka 73). So it is clear that both teams play more up-tempo at home, where they are pushed by great crowds, and try to keep a lower score on the road, which is often critical in elimination series. In the teams' showdown in the Turkish League earlier this season, Pinar Karsiyaka did well on offense at home to win 97-92 behind 26 points from Josh Carter.
According to the teams' stats in the Last 32, we can expect a very, very close series that will come down to details. Karsiyaka averages 83 points per game to Galatasaray's 82.2. They are very close in rebounds (Galatasaray 37.2 rpg., Karsiyaka 36.2), assists (Galatasaray19.2 apg., Karsiyaka 18.5), two-point (Galatasaray 53.8%, Karsiyaka 53.2) and three-point (Galatasaray 40.63%, Karsiyaka 40.6) shooting percentage. Karsiyaka has an edge in steals (7.5 spg. vs. 5.7) and Galatasaray does a bit better in blocks (2.7 bpg. vs 1.5) and free throw shooting (81.8% vs. 74.1%). This promises to be a very exciting and balanced series!