Brose Baskets Bamberg will try to shake off an unlucky start to the season when Real Madrid comes to town Wednesday for Group C action. Brose Baskets may be 0-2, but both its losses were heart-breakers. The German champs fell to Chorale Roanne st home on a buzzer-beater in Week 1 and then hung around until the final minute before coming up short at defending Euroleague champion Panathinaikos last week. Injuries have affected head coach Dirk Bauermann's side. Center Luke Schenscher has not played this season and this week the team could be without forward Ademola Okulaja, leaving Darren Fenn, Chris Ensminger and rookie Tim Ohlbrecht as the team's only players taller than 2 meters. Real Madrid has looked strong in beating Fenerbahce on the road and Lottomatica at home to grab a share of first place in the group. Head coach Joan Plaza's team has excelled on the offensive end with efficient basketball. Madrid has made 43.8% of its three-pointers and leads the league with just 8 turnovers per game. The catalysts so far include Charles Smith, Axel Hervelle and Raul Lopez, who is tied for the league-lead in steals. Brose Baskets deliberate style of play has seen it score the fewest points in the league this season, but it has also allowed Bauermann to stretch his team as far as it can go. Small forward Predrag Suput and point guard Steffen Hamann are two of his most important offensive weapons, though they will be challenged this week. Suput could find himself going against Alex Mumbru, while Hamann could face either Lopez, Smith or even defensive whiz Michalis Pelekanos. On the flip side, Madrid will try to dominate the paint through Lazaros Papadopoulois, Felipe Reyes and Blagota Sekulic, knowing how limited the hosts' big-man rotation is. However if Okulaja is fit, that could prove to be a big boost for Brose Baskets, not just in manpower but also in leadership. Though on paper this team has been out manned going into each of its games so far, Brose Baskets has found a way to challenge and especially at home, this week should be no different. Although it is unlikely that this will be a high-scoring affair, it should still be a thriller nonetheless, as Brose Baskets looks to avoid a daunting 0-3 start and Madrid looks to keep a share of the group lead.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007