Given Virtus Bologna’s poor performance in defending the paint, one can expect a fantastic game from Mathias Lessort, the center for Panathinaikos Athens, against them. Source: Panagiotis Moschandreou/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Given Virtus Bologna’s poor performance in defending the paint, one can expect a fantastic game from Mathias Lessort, the center for Panathinaikos Athens, against them. Source: Panagiotis Moschandreou/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

EuroLeague Round 32: What to expect and who to watch?

Basketball OlyBet 26.03.2024

Round 32 of the EuroLeague brings us nine thrilling matchups. To gain a better understanding of what to expect from these games and who to watch, sit back, relax, and dive into our preview of the round!

Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Valencia (27 March, 21:30 EET)

In the EuroLeague, there is only one team that has won all their games since the three-week break in February – Maccabi. True, their schedule has been generous, as they have only played against teams in the lower half of the table.

While Maccabi is riding a five-game winning streak, Valencia’s form seems to have plummeted in the crucial phase of the season. They have recorded four losses and only one win after the break, but despite poor results, they are still fighting for the last play-in spot.

For this game, Maccabi will have their big man Roman Sorkin back from a knee injury. Valencia, on the other hand, is dealing with more significant injury concerns, as guards Jared Harper and Stefan Jović, as well as centers Brandon Davies and Boubacar Touré, have recently struggled with injuries. It’s unclear who among them will play against Maccabi.

Although Valencia has been very strong defensively throughout the season, in the last three games, opponents have been allowed to score 88.3 points, and three-pointers have been particularly effective against the Spanish club, with a shooting percentage of 48%. This is good news for Maccabi’s offensive leader, Wade Baldwin, who has been in exceptional form in the second half of the season.

In fact, Maccabi has been fantastic on the offensive end in their last five games overall. If Valencia cannot get their defense in order, they won’t have much of a chance against Maccabi.

Zalgiris Kaunas vs Milan (28 March, 20:00 EET)

If Zalgiris loses this game, they definitely won’t have a chance to reach the play-in. Milano won both games in last week’s doubleheader, as did Zalgiris, and they have confidence, but considering the very inconsistent performances of the Italian powerhouse throughout the season, they remain unpredictable.

Looking at the last three games, both Milano and Zalgiris have been particularly strong defensively. Milano has forced opponents into a relatively individual offense, while Zalgiris has allowed only 73.7 points per game and limited three-point shooting to just 27%.

Milano puts Zalgiris’ perimeter defense to a serious test, as led by Shavon Shields and Nikola Mirotić, they like to shoot from deep. Particularly, Mirotić should be closely guarded, as in the last three games, he has averaged 18.3 points and 6.7 rebounds, shooting 55% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc.

But who should Milano focus on stopping? Zalgiris’ indisputable leader, Keenan Evans. The American is one of the best guards in the EuroLeague, and he’s averaging 18.3 points per game over the last three rounds.

Source: Giuseppe Cottini/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Bayern Munich vs Barcelona (28 March, 21:30 EET)

Bayern’s dreams of making it to the play-in tournament vanish if they were to lose this game. Although Barcelona has seven more wins than them in the standings, the performances of the Catalan powerhouse haven’t been particularly impressive lately.

Bayern’s situation is made more difficult by the fact that key player Devin Booker got injured last week, sniper Andreas Obst and backup center Danko Branković are also not free from injury troubles. Whether any of them will play against Barcelona is currently unclear.

In the last three rounds, Bayern has shown very strong defense. They have only conceded 72.3 points per game, and opponents’ shooting accuracy has been terrible against them. Additionally, Bayern has conceded the fewest assists, only 12.7 per game.

However, Bayern has also struggled with controlling the defensive rebounds. In the last three games, opponents have grabbed 10.7 offensive rebounds against them, which is not the worst statistic in the EuroLeague, but great rebounders like Jan Vesely and others from Barcelona will surely be licking their lips at this statistic.

Partizan Belgrade vs Olympiacos (28 March, 21:30 EET)

Olympiacos, noticeably raising their level in the second half of the season, is one of the EuroLeague’s best teams on the road. They have won three out of their last four games, but last week’s loss to Anadolu Efes in Istanbul proves that they are not unbeatable at the moment.

If Partizan wants to overcome Olympiacos at home, they need a strong performance from their big men Frank Kaminsky and Bruno Caboclo. With Olympiacos’ giant Moustapha Fall guarding the paint, Kaminsky and Caboclo will likely stretch their game beyond the three-point line, and if Fall doesn’t challenge them, Partizan’s big men could have a field day. Furthermore, if the Belgrade team can draw the Frenchman out of the paint, it will create more space and opportunities for others to attack the basket.

One of Partizan’s key players, Zach LeDay, missed last week’s doubleheader due to his father’s death. However, the power forward is back for this week. Olympiacos will miss big man Filip Petrušev due to injury, and their point guards Thomas Walkup and Nigel Williams-Goss played last week despite having injury problems.

Partizan’s strength, they’re primarily known for their good offense, will be seriously tested against Olympiacos, as the Greek club has allowed opponents to score only 71.3 points in their last three games, which is the best defensive record in the EuroLeague.

However, Partizan is one of the weakest defensive teams. To be honest, almost an ideal offensive performance is needed against Olympiacos, because overcoming Georgios Bartzokas’ team will otherwise be nearly impossible.

Source: Srdjan Stevanovic/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Baskonia vs Anadolu Efes Istanbul (28 March, 21:30 EET)

At home in the Fernando Buesa Arena, Baskonia has been on a great streak, winning four consecutive games in the EuroLeague. It’s also worth noting that in those victories, they have scored at least 88 points.

On the other hand, Efes is one of the weakest teams on the road in the EuroLeague, having won only two out of 15 games away from home. Their last victory on opponents’ court was against the bottom-placed ALBA Berlin on December 7th last year.

Efes’ biggest task is to neutralize Baskonia’s point guard Codi Miller-McIntyre. The American’s role in Baskonia’s offense is immense, and if he can’t deliver the ball to his teammates to the right places, the Spanish team’s offense becomes very one-dimensional and individualistic.

Statistics show that opponents have shot 44% from three-point range against Efes in the last three rounds. This is a very high percentage and injects optimism into Baskonia, as they have plenty of good shooters. Especially worth mentioning is Markus Howard, who has scored 37 points twice in March in the Spanish league, hitting a total of 18 threes in those two games.

Baskonia’s biggest weakness is rebounding, particularly on the defensive end. In the last three games, they have allowed opponents to grab 11.7 offensive rebounds, but looking at the season as a whole, Efes has been one of the worst teams in rebounding in the EuroLeague.

ASVEL Villeurbanne vs Monaco (28 March, 22:00 EET)

This is the fifth French derby of the season, but so far ASVEL hasn’t found any solution against Monaco. Out of four games, they have suffered four defeats, with the smallest point difference being eight points back on October 1st last year, when they faced each other in the French championship.

However, ASVEL has been on an upward trajectory in the EuroLeague, and although they currently occupy second to last place in the standings, they are playing much better than they were in the first half of the season. True, Monaco performs excellently away from home, having won four consecutive games in the EuroLeague.

It will be interesting to see the form of Monaco’s leader, Mike James. Although the American has been scoring at a good rate in the last three rounds, his field goal percentage is only 29%. Additionally, James has committed 3.3 turnovers per game.

Considering ASVEL’s defensive statistics, James should have a better game on Thursday. ASVEL has allowed opponents to score 86 points per game and commit few turnovers.

Source: Alfonso Cannavacciuolo/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Fenerbahçe Istanbul vs ALBA Berlin (29 March, 19:45 EET)

A game where words are essentially unnecessary because ALBA’s chance of winning is non-existent. But let’s jot down a few sentences anyway.

While ALBA sits at the bottom of the table and has only won once away from home this season – against ASVEL – Fenerbahçe is the best home team in the EuroLeague. With 14 wins out of 15 games, it’s an impressive record. Fenerbahçe guard Marko Gudurić recently mentioned that players have now adapted to their roles, which has been a key factor in their success after Sarunas Jasikevicius became head coach mid-season.

Moreover, there’s no doubt that Fenerbahçe won’t take this game lightly. Firstly, it’s being played in Istanbul, and secondly, they are fighting for a spot in the top four, which would give them home-court advantage in the quarterfinals. Considering their strong performances at the Ülker Arena, this advantage holds immense value.

Real Madrid vs Crvena Zvezda Belgrade (29 March, 21:30 EET)

After a form slump, Real has secured three consecutive victories in the EuroLeague, also ensuring the top spot in the regular season. Additionally, a record was set, as no club in the current format has won more games in the regular season than the Madrid club has now.

For Zvezda, the EuroLeague season is essentially over, as they are firmly out of contention for the play-in. This has reflected in their results, with only one win in their last five games. True, it was against Virtus Bologna, who are currently on a four-game losing streak.

Of course, Zvezda is not waving the white flag to Real, but honestly, it’s very difficult to see how the Serbian club could defeat the reigning EuroLeague champion, especially considering their many deficiencies in the game, particularly in defense.

For instance, in the last three rounds, opponents have shot an impressive 44% from three-point range against Zvezda, and they have grabbed 14.3 offensive rebounds per game. Almost all of Real’s players, except for centers Walter Tavares and Vincent Poirier, pose a threat from beyond the arc, and no team has grabbed more rebounds than Real this season.

Source: Luca Sgamellotti/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Virtus Bologna vs Panathinaikos Athens (29 March, 21:30 EET)

Virtus remained in the top three of the table for a long time, but four consecutive losses have dropped them to eighth place. The results have been disappointing even on their home court, where they were excellent for a long time, but they have lost two out of the last three games played in Bologna. On the other hand, Panathinaikos is in very good form.

In the first half of the season, Virtus’ biggest asset was their good defense. However, during the losing streak, this has proved to be their Achilles’ heel, as they have conceded 88.3 points, allowed opponents to shoot 51% from the field, grab 36.5 rebounds, and provide 20.8 assists.

Of course, Virtus’ defensive game has suffered partly due to injuries. Both Daniel Hackett and Isaia Cordinier, who play (a very) important role in defense, missed last week’s doubleheader. Whether they will take to the court against Panathinaikos is not clear at the moment.

Furthermore, Virtus has struggled significantly to contain opponents’ big men. Taking everything into account, Panathinaikos is a huge favorite for Friday, as they are playing well, and both the starting point guard Kostas Sloukas and star center Mathias Lessort are in good form individually.


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