Top 16, Group F analysis

Dec 27, 2019 by Print
Top 16, Group F analysis

Group F is made up of four teams that are largely new to this stage of the 7DAYS EuroCup and mostly unfamiliar to one another. Aside from the two teams from Italy, Umana Reyer Venice and Germani Brescia Leonessa, none of these teams have ever met in an official game. However, those two teams, as well as EWE Baskets Oldenburg and Promitheas Patras, are eager to make history by reaching the quarterfinals for the first time.

Defensive chops

Scoring will not be easy for the teams in Group F. Three of the teams were in the bottom quarter of points allowed in the regular season; Reyer allowed the second-fewest points (71.3), Brescia allowed the fourth-fewest (72.5) and Promitheas the sixth-fewest (75.1). Reyer ranked second in blocked shots with 3.3 per game and Brescia tied for fifth with 3.1. Only eight players enter the Top 16 averaging more than a block per game and half of them are in this group: Reyer's Michell Watt tied for fifth in the regular season with 1.2 blocks per game, Octavius Ellis of Promitheas ranked seventh with 1.11 and the Reyer duo of Tyler Cain and Andrea Zerini tied for eighth with 1.1 blocks per game. Behind its shot-blocking duo, Reyer held opponents to the second-lowest two-point shooting percentage (46.2%) as well as the lowest three-point shooting numbers (27.7%). The Italian champs also committed the most fouls (24.6 per game) and Brescia was fourth (23.5). Brescia held opposing offenses to the third-worst three-point shooting (30.4%) and the fourth-worst two-point shooting (47.8%). Oldenburg, which played at a higher pace and allowed more points (85.0) than any other team to reach the Top 16, also led the regular season in both steals (9.6 spg.) and forcing the most turnovers (16.1).

Three-point aces

While there will surely be outstanding defense played in Group F, one way to get over it – figuratively and literally – is by draining three-pointers and there are several candidates to do so. Promitheas tied for the second-most three-pointers made (101) in the regular season and Oldenburg ranked third in three-point accuracy at 39.6%. The Promitheas duo of Oleksandr Lypovyy and Chris Babb were fourth and sixth, respectively, in three-pointers made with 26 and 25. Reyer's Mike Bramos was 1 triple behind them. Oldenburg's Braydon Hobbs is not far behind with 20 threes and his teammate, Rickey Paulding, is third among active players on the all-time charts with 116 three-pointers made. Another Oldenburg shooter, Philipp Schwethelm, was fifth in the regular season in three-point accuracy at 55.2%, Robin Amaize (52.6%) was eighth and Tyler Larson (53.8%) would rank between them if he had enough appearances.

Stud centers

Some of the most-effective centers in the EuroCup this season will take the floor against each other in Group F. Oldenburg's triple-double threat Rasid Mahalbasic ranks second among all players who will compete in the Top 16 with an average performance index rating of 19.3. He leads all centers with 4.9 assists, is second among players at his position in scoring (14.7 ppg.) and eighth in rebounding (6.2 rpg.). Reyer's Mitchell Watt was the Round 6 MVP after erupting for 27 points on 11-of-12 shooting for a performance index rating of 37 in a road win at Partizan NIS Belgrade. Watt tallied 12.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks for an average performance index rating of 14.2. His numbers were much higher before he sat out most of Round 10 in which he played less than 10 minutes and posted 4 points and 1 rebound for a PIR of 4. Promitheas's Octavius Ellis has been an impact player despite playing less than 20 minutes per game. He is second to only Mahalbasic in PIR per minute with 30.4 prorated over 40 minutes. Ellis has averaged 9.7 points on 70.2% shooting, 5.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. Brescia's strength in the paint comes from the duo of Tyler Cain and Andrea Zerini, who have combined for 12.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 2.2 blocks over 37:31 minutes per game.

Uncharted waters

Playing in the round of 16 is already the deepest run three of the teams in this group have ever made and the two that advance to the quarterfinals will be making history. For Promitheas, this is its debut EuroCup campaign. Brescia is playing for the second time – and the second year in a row. Its first EuroCup season finished at the end of the regular season with a 3-7 record. Reyer's only previous EuroCup campaign came in 2015-16 when it reached the Last 32. Oldenburg is in the competition for the fifth time, but first since 2015-16. That season saw it reach the eighthfinals where it was ousted by Strasbourg in a two-game, total-points series. All four teams have players who have been to the later stages in the EuroCup or EuroLeague before. Interestingly, Promitheas is the team with the least big-game experience as a club, but the most such experience on its roster. Dimitris Katsivelis won the EuroLeague in 2012 and 2013 with Olympiacos Piraeus. Dimitris Agravanis played the 2015 EuroLeague Final Four with Olympiacos. Chris Babb got to the 2018 EuroCup Finals with Lokomotiv Kuba Krasnodar and Oleksandr Lypovyy helped Donetsk of Ukraine reach the EuroCup Quarterfinals in 2012. Four Oldenburg players have been to the EuroCup Quarterfinals before. Braydon Hobbs even reached the semifinals with FC Bayern Munich in 2018 before losing to eventual champion Darussafaka Istanbul. Rickey Paulding played in the quarters in 2006 with ASVEL Villeurbanne, Philipp Schwethelm did the same in 2013 with ratiopharm Ulm and Rasid Mahalbasic reached that stage with Nizhny Novgorod in 2016. Reyer's Bruno Cerella reached the quarterfinals in 2016 with AX Armani Exchange Milan. Brescia players Luca Vitali and David Moss have both played in EuroLeague Final Fours; Vitaly was a reserve on the Monteapaschi Siena squad that reached the 2004 Final Four in Tel Aviv and Moss did so with the same club in 2011 in Barcelona.