Struggling Brose Baskets Bamberg will look to get back on the winning track when it hosts Lottomatica Roma on Wednesday in Germany. Bamberg has dropped four consecutive Euroleague games and at 1-9 would need a miracle to advance to the Top 16. In order to try and make that miracle happen, head coach Dirk Bauermann’s side added playmaker Mithat Demirel to try and spice up the club’s offense, which through 10 games is last in the Euroleague in scoring with 63.7 points per game. Meanwhile Roma was one of the hottest teams in the Euroleague after knocking off defending champion Panathinaikos and Spanish champ Real Madrid before the winter break, but a home loss to Fenerbahce Ulker cooled off head coach Jasmin Repesa’s charges last week. Now Roma will try to bounce back with its first road win of the season that will propel the club back into the race for a spot in the Top 16. Despite a 0-5 road record, Roma enters the game with some confidence after having some close calls on the road and knowing that its biggest win of the season came against Bamberg back in November. In Rome, Roko-Leni Ukic scored 15 and Erazem Lorbek amassed a double-double to lead Lottomatica to an 81-57 win. Ademola Okulaja and Steffen Hamann were the best players for Bamberg that night, but Okulaja could miss this week’s game due to a stomach injury. The big question for the hosts will be if they can cut down on their 15.6 turnovers against a team that is third in the league in steals. That will ride on the shoulders of Hamann, Mark Dickel, Demond Greene and Demirel, who’ll challenge Ukic, David Hawkins and Allan Ray in the Roma backcourt. Roma sharpshooter Jon Stefansson remains sidelined. Meanwhile, with Kimani Ffriend in the middle and Darren Fenn and Chris Ensminger also around, the hosts have the size and muscle to match up with Erazem Lorbek and Gregor Fucka. Bamberg small forward Predrag Suput could be a critical figure, at times lining up against a guard and at other going against Roberto Gabini. Another Roma player who could be an X-factor is forward Christian Drejer, who will travel with the team after returning from injury, but it's not known if he will play. With more to play for and more to prove, Roma could be considered the favorite, but Bamberg has certainly been better than its record this season and with some new faces, could come together for a morale-boosting win.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008