|Two teams with very different goals are set to face each other in Sopot, Poland, on Wednesday when Asseco Prokom welcomes Tau Ceramica for a Group E meeting. Prokom (0-4) is mathematically out of the race for the Quarterfinal Playoffs and is looking for its first win in its final Euroleague home game of the season. Meanwhile, Tau (3-1) is in a direct fight with Olympiacos (3-1) and Armani Jeans Milano (2-2) to reach the playoffs and eventually win Group E. Tau already thrashed Prokom 99-77 at home in the Top 16 opener behind 22 points from Mirza Teletovic, who has been in great shape lately. Teletovic offers deep range and power to a solid frontcourt that also features All-Euroleague center Tiago Splitter, aggressive big man Will McDonald and center Stanko Barac. Splitter will face a strong test against blue-collar center Pat Burke. Teletovic and McDonald will battle around the baskets with Filip Dylewicz, Adam Hrycaniuk and Ronnie Burrell. Prokom's main concern will be stopping scoring ace Igor Rakocevic, who has been simply unguardable so far this season. Rakocevic has his perfect complement in Pete Mickeal, who offers one-on-one scoring skills and rebounding at small forward. Veteran swingman Sergi Vidal and shooting guard Fernando San Emeterio offers deep shooting range and intensity off the bench. Rakocevic will test his all-around scoring skills against David Logan, who has at least 14 points in his previous nine Euroleague games. Meanwhile, Mickeal has a strong matchup against Qyntel Woods, who matches his aggressiveness and power. Koko Archibong and three-point specialist Przemyslaw Zamojski come off the bench at the wings. The point guard battle will be equally important, as Prokom is deeper with Tyrone Brazelton backing up playmaker Daniel Ewing. Tau offers Pablo Prigioni, one of the best defensive players in the competition, and well-rounded veteran Vlado Ilievski. Prokom needs to improve its defense and get Logan, Ewing and Woods involved if it wants to break its 11-game losing streak in the competition. Meanwhile, Tau must be its usual self in defense while looking for Splitter in the middle, who can create double-team opportunities for Rakocevic and Teletovic. Even though Tau is the heavy favorite in this game, expect Prokom to give 101% in its final Euroleague home game this season.
- Guard David Logan is second in the Euroleague in scoring this season with 17.6 points per game. He has scored in double figures and drilled at least 1 three-pointer in nine straight games.
- Logan has recorded at least 1 steal in 13 straight games and after picking up a season-high 6 steals last week against Olympiacos, he leads the Euroleague with 2.8 steals per game this season.
- Asseco Prokom has lost 11 straight Euroleague games going back to Week 3 of the season.
- Tau is 5-0 all-time against Asseco Prokom.
- Guard Igor Rakocevic leads the Euroleague with 19.7 points scored per game this season.
- Rakocevic has made at least 1 three-pointer in 19 consecutive Euroleague games.
- Rakocevic is 4 three-pointers away from reaching Maccabi Electra’s Derrick Sharp for 10th place on the Euroleague Basketball career list. He enters Wednesday’s game at Asseco Prokom with 212 career threes, but Sharp will play on Thursday.
- Forward Mirza Teletovic has drilled 4 three-pointers in six different games this season and made 3 three other times. He leads the competition with 38 triples this season.
- All-Euroleague center Tiago Splitter was named Top 16 Week 4 MVP after scoring 19 points on perfect shooting last week in a blowout win over Armani Jeans. He joined Will McDonald and Igor Rakocevic as the third Tau player to record that honor this season.
- Splitter matched his career-high with 3 assists last week. Splitter has at least 1 assist in seven straight games and has blocked a shot in four consecutive games.
- Splitter enters this week’s games tied for 11th place on the Euroleague Basketball career shots blocked list with 76. He is 2 away from reaching Eurelijus Zukauskas for 10th place.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009