German powerhouse EWE Baskets Oldenburg plays Unics Kazan at Ewe Arena on Tuesday night to open up its Eurocup season. The bar is set high for the hosts, but Unics, itself a veteran club in its sixth consecutive Eurocup season, holds big standards of its own: mainly, to raise the trophy by the end of it all. The battle should be hard fought, mainly in the trenches, as Oldenburg will be very strong around the baskets with a deep, rock-solid frontcourt intent on winning the rebounding battle. Versatile forward Steven Smith has deep range, post skills and a high motor, and Oliver Stevic is a tough big man with quick hands and post moves. Aron Baynes should roam the rim on his own end, hoping to bounce back from a rough European debut last year. Chris McNaughton is another rbig body for the hosts. The visitors have quite a few big time players in Maciej Lampe and steady Hasan Rizvic, a post player who knows what to do with the ball in his hands. Slavko Vranes is the tallest man in European club basketball at 229cm and Vladimir Veremeenko is an all-around gamer able to shoot from outside, drive to the basket and hit the glass. Besides the heavyweights, Ewe Baskets is happy to display fan favorite Rickey Paulding, a silent leader who thrives in transition due to his athleticism, and a new floor general in Louis Campbell, with new addition Nemanja Protic also providing plenty of perimeter range. Terrell Lyday will man the point for Unics, trying to set up its half court sets, and Marko Popovic is a serious threat to emerge as the key factor in the game with his incredible scoring skills. Look for former ULEB Cup Final MVP Kelly McCarty to try to lock up Paulding in an exciting and important matchup at small forward. Whatever the strategy or outcome, prepare for a no holds barred showdown in Germany.
REFEREES: Daniel Hierrezuelo, Arnis Ozols, Anna Cardus