Galatasaray built a team with the weaponry to challenge for Eurocup glory and now there is only one opponent standing in its way. Coach Ergin Ataman has the competition’s No. 2 scorer for the season in guard Errick McCollum (18.7 ppg., 3.7 apg.) – who leads in performance index rating with 22.0 per game, and the Eurocup’s all-time No. 3 scorer coming off the bench in Chuck Davis (8.2 ppg.), yet it was another player who took charge in the decisive Game 2 of the semifinals; Vladimir Micov (13 ppg.) shined with 21 points. And it’s not all offense; Stephane Lasme (11.1 ppg., 6.4 rpg., 1.3 bpg.) is second in the Eurocup in blocked shots this season and swingman Blake Schilb (12.2 ppg., 44.2% 3FG, 3.8 apg.) contributes everywhere. Add in the defense of captain Sinan Guler (8.9 ppg., 3.6 apg.) and it’s understandable how this team is standing where it is. Another significant advantage Galatasaray boasts in Game 2 at home; this team has gone 10-1 in the Eurocup in Istanbul this season, including seven straight by double figures (with an average margin of victory of 23.3 points!). After competing in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague in three of the previous four seasons, not only are Galatasaray and its passionate fans hungry to get back to the promised land, but overflowing with the experience to handle the big games that could get it there.
Strasbourg has shown great growth over the course of the season and arrives to the Eurocup Finals stronger than ever. Coach Vincent Collet’s squad went into the final game of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season with a shot at the Top 16 before falling at the hands of defending champion Real Madrid. Once in the Eurocup, Strasbourg won its first four games in clinching a ticket to the eighthfinals, but then lost big man and rebounding leader Matt Howard (8.9 ppg., 8.1 rpg.) for a month with a broken bone in his hand. Still the team persevered and eliminated Nizhny Novgorod in a double-overtime thriller in the second leg of the quarterfinals. Howard is back to give the team a mighty frontline together with centers Romain Duport and Bangaly Fofana, who combined for 18 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 34 minutes over the elimination rounds. There is great balance in the backcourt with Rod Beaubois (13.3 ppg.), Mardy Colllins (13.2 ppg., 4.3 apg.) and three-point ace Jeremy Leloup (8.5 ppg., 43.9% 3FG) providing offense off the bench. Forward Kyle Weems (12 ppg.) has been a mismatch headache all season long. Like in all home-and-away series, the home court advantage plays a role, but Strasbourg has turned that adage on its head. Not only is the team 5-1 away from home in the Eurocup this season – with an average margin of victory of 13 points, but in the second legs of both the eighthfinals and semifinals, it overturned Game 1 losses with victories on the road.