Buducnost will try to turn its latest victory into a winning streak when it hosts the champs on Friday. Buducnost has been revitalized by a mid-season coaching change and the signings of Norris Cole at guard and Goga Bitadze at center and will now be tested by Real Madrid, which has won three in a row and seven of its last eight. Madrid has won all five of its previous EuroLeague games against Buducnost.
The EuroLeague is abuzz about the play of rookie Goga Bitadze, whose 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game would have him among the league leaders in many categories had he logged enough games to qualify. On Friday he will be tested every moment he is on the floor either by Sergeant Swat, Walter Tavares, or former All-EuroLeague center Gustavo Ayon. Bitadze is already a major candidate for EuroLeague Rising Star honor and a big showing against the Madrid bigs could show that his ceiling is much higher.
Earlier this season
Madrid handed Buducnost one of its worst losses this season in Round 4. Los Blancos claimed an 89-55 victory, which was the lowest output for the Montenegrin club and its second-largest margin of defeat this season. Anthony Randolph and Jaycee Carroll scored 11 points each and Walter Tavares posted 10 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks to pace the winners. Nemanja Gordic scored 13 for Buducnost in defeat.
Keys to victory: Buducnost
Though Buducnost is last in the league in scoring at 74.1 points per game, that number has jumped to 83.3 over the team's last four appearances. The offensive improvement must continue for Buducnost to gather more wins. The team must also match its stellar three-point shooting from earlier in the season to catch Madrid.
Keys to victory: Real Madrid
Madrid is not only one of the top offenses in the league, but is also second in terms of points allowed (75.8 ppg.). Depth is one of the keys to Madrid's success and the fact that the team has six players averaging at least 9 points per game is tough to match. Getting strong performances off the bench and making Buducnost's top players work hard every minute they are on the floor would point the game in Madrid's direction.