|The Euroleague regular season comes to an end and a final Top 16 spot in up for grabs in Group B. One of the three teams fighting for that spot, SLUC Nancy, hosts already qualified Montepaschi Siena on Wednesday night. The French champion needs to win and wait for Asseco Prokom and Zalgiris to lose their road games against Panathinaikos and Regal FC Barcelona, respectively, to make it to the Top 16. Meanwhile, Montepaschi is second if it beats Nancy and even if it loses, Panathinaikos wins and the combined difference in that game is not larger than 26 points. Montepaschi is expected to travel to Nancy without backup playmaker Morris Finley and scoring ace Rimantas Kaukenas, as both players are injured. If Finley remains sidelined, All-Euroleague guard Terrell McIntyre will see most of the minutes at point guard, with Arriel McDonald backing him up. McIntyre will have a physical test against Steed Tchicamboud while McDonald is ready to go against John Cox. The key matchup in this game may be between Ricardo Greer of Nancy and Romain Sato of Montepaschi. Ricardo Greer is a tough matchup due to his versatility and creativity, but Sato is the right man to guard him because of his quickness and athleticism. At the same time, Sato can score in many ways and will see most playing time at the wings along with Henry Domercant against the Greer brothers, Ricardo and Jeff. Marco Carrareto of Montepaschi and Michel Morandais of Sluc Nancy are ready to see quality playing time for their respective teams. Nancy has its main frontcourt reference in Cyril Julian, in great shape lately. Julian will get some help from versatile forwards Lamayne Wilson and Victor Samnick, recently-signed center Akin Akingbala and up-and-coming big man Zaki Aboubacar. Julian is ready for a big matchup against Ksistof Lavrinovic. Meanwhile, Ben Eze will test his strengths against Akingbala, while Wilson has a tough matchup against do-it-all forward Shaun Stonerook. Montepaschi will try to be its usual self in offense, looking for the extra pass and finding open shots. Nancy must make the most of its athleticism and use its home court advantage to win the game and wait for other results to get to the next round.
- Swingman Michel Morandais was a teammate of current Montepaschi stars Shaun Stonerook and Rimas Kaukenas during the 2004-05 season at Cantu. In all Morandais spent three seasons in the Italian League for Cantu and Napoli.
- Point guard Steed Tchicamboud scored a season-high 21 points in last week’s game at Zalgiris.
- Nine different players have appeared in Nancy’s starting lineup this season and only Ricardo Greer has started in every game.
- All-Euroleague playmaker Terrell McIntyre is the only player on the Montepaschi roster to have played in the French League. McIntyre began his European career with BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque back in the 1999-2000 season.He has played since in Germany, the United States and Italy, but has not returned to France since.
- Reserve guard Marco Carraretto was the hero for Montepaschi last week a Euroleague career-high 15 points on 5-of-5 three-point shooting - a point more than he had totaled in his previous four appearances.
- Montepaschi leads the league in steals with 12.4 per game this season and has three players in the competition’s top 10 in that category: Shaun Stonerook is second with 2.2 steals per game, Terrell McIntyre is fourth at 2.1 and Romain Sato is sixth at 2 per game.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009