|A key showdown in the race to reach the Top 16 from Group C is scheduled for Thursday when Fenerbahce Ulker hosts Tau Ceramica in Istanbul, Turkey. The two teams are tied for second place in the group, each with a 3-2 record, just one win behind leader Lottomatica Roma. There is much good news for FB Ulker, as combo guard Omer Onan and center Semih Erden were back in action against Lottomatica last week. Onan will get plenty of help at the wings, as FB Ulker also has players like swingman Devin Smith, Rasim Basak and above all, talented youngster Emir Preldzic. Onan will have a tough task in trying to stop Igor Rakocevic, the Euroleague's current top scorer, who is in outstanding form since the start of the season. Meanwhile, Basak will have a very tough matchup against Pete Mickeal, back in action and ready to lead his team. Fernando San Emeterio may not play due to a small injury and whether he plays or not will be a game-time decision, so Sergi Vidal could see extended playing time, too. As usual, former Euroleague assists leader Pablo Prigioni will be Tau's floor general, with Mustafa Shakur backing him up. Prigioni will have a tough test against Marques Green, while Damir Mrsic is ready to come off the bench and do what he does best - make clutch shots from downtown. Fenerbahce's main concern will be stopping All-Euroleague center Tiago Splitter, who overcame an injury to become a dominant force in the middle. If double-teamed, Splitter can find three-point bomber Mirza Teletovic outside the arc or feed Will McDonald down low. Without Omer Asik, FB Ulker doesn't have its main defensive reference, but Erden and Oguz Savas will battle hard against him. Rebounding machine Mirsad Turkcan will have a strong test against McDonald, and Basak may see some minutes at power forward to stop Teletovic. Tau needs to speed up the game tempo and keep Rakocevic on fire, as he can generate easy baskets for Splitter and Teletovic. Fenerbahce will power the boards and try to get Preldzic involved. Either way, this game has all the makings of a true thriller with a host of top talents that could deliver big performances.
- Power forward Mirsad Turkan, Euroleague Basketball’s all-time leading rebounder, set his career high with 17 defensive boards against Tau in a January 2003. Turkcan, then with Montepaschi Siena, finished the game with 18 points and 21 rebounds.
- Shooting guard Gordan Giricek could make his Fenerbahce Ulker Euroleague debut this week. Giricek has an active streak of nine straight Euroleague games with at least 20 points scored, which started in January 2002.
- Shooting guard Damir Kaan Mrsic has made at least 1 three-pointer in seven consecutive Euroleague games.
- Center Oguz Savas scored a career-high 20 points in 18 minutes against Tau in the Top 16 last season.
- Guard Igor Rakocevic is just 24 points away from reaching 1,500 for his Euroleague Basketball career. He also needs just 2 more steals to reach 100 for his Euroleague Basketball career.
- Diamantidis also needs just 1 more three-pointer to reach 100 for his Euroleague Basketball career. He has made at least 1 three-pointer in 12 straight Euroleague appearances dating back to last season.
- Rakocevic has made at least 1 three-pointer in 10 consecutive Euroleague games. He has not missed a free throw this season in 28 attempts – the best run in the league.
- Forward Mirza Teletovic has made at least 1 three-pointer in nine consecutive Euroleague games.
- Guard Pablo Prigioni has made a three-pointer and picked up a steal in each of his last seven Euroleague appearances.
- Center Tiago Splitter is 5 rebounds away from reaching 500 for his Euroleague Basketball career. He would be the 25th player to achieve that distinction.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008