Zenit St Petersburg returns to the competition after a three-round absence hoping to remain undefeated. Kevin Pangos (19.0 ppg.), K.C. Rivers (12.5 ppg.) and Alex Poythress (11.5 ppg.) have been its top scorers so far. Panathinaikos OPAP Athens comes off a brilliant home win against Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul and wants to keep its momentum going. Nemanja Nedovic (14.8 ppg.), Marcus Foster (13.8 ppg.) and Howard Sant-Roos (9.3 ppg.) must step up if forward Ioannis Papapetrou (12.7 ppg.) remains sidelined.
Two very good scorers will test their shooting skills in this game. Nedovic earned Round 5 MVP honors with a stellar performance - 28 points on 7-of-12 shooting from downtown. He can use his experience and quickness against Billy Baron, who has been off-target until now (9.0 ppg., 44.4% 2FG, 33.3% 3FG). Baron is a great scorer with unlimited range eager to bounce back against a tough opponent who has found his scoring rhythm.
Panathinaikos and Zenit meet for the third time ever. Panathinaikos beat Zenit twice in the 2019-20 campaign. The Greens defeated Zenit 79-89 in St Petersburg on October 24, 2019, behind 22 points from Jimmer Fredette and 15 assists from Nick Calathes. Panathinaikos also beat Zenit in the Greek capital, 96-81, on February 6. DeShaun Thomas led Panathinaikos with 27 points as the Greens outrebounded Zenit 40-24.
Keys to victory: Zenit
Pangos and Dmitry Khvostov must set the right game tempo to allow Zenit to play in transition and make the most of its many scorers. Baron and Austin Hollins will make sure that Zenit has a scoring threat in its backcourt at all times. Mateusz Ponitka and Poythress are natural mismatches due to their size, ball-handling and athleticism. If Zenit reads the game the right way and looks for its many advantages, especially at the '2' and '3' positions, it will have a better chance to win the game.
Keys to victory: Panathinaikos
Panathinaikos outrebounded Fenerbahce 38-29 and powering the boards will be key against Zenit, too. Panathinaikos has a size advantage in the paint with Georgios Papagiannis, Dinos Mitoglou and Ben Bentil, and must make the most of it. If Papapetrou remains sidelined, Sant-Roos could see most of the playing time at small forward. Spacing on offense is also critical when you have shooters like Nedovic, Foster and Keifer Sykes. Finding extra passes and giving these players open looks is a must for the Greens.