A fight to stay undefeated in regular season Group C takes place in Moscow, Russia, when CSKA welcomes Lottomatica Roma on Wednesday. CSKA edged Maroussi BC 65-66 in Athens, Greece, last week on a wild buzzer-beating three-pointer by Viktor Khryapa. Meanwhile, Lottomatica downed mighty Caja Laboral 77-65 behind 18 points each from Ibby Jaaber and Kennedy Winston. CSKA faces severe injury problems in its frontline, as Matjaz Smodis remains sidelined long-term while Sasha Kaun and Andrei Vorontsevich missed the game against Maroussi. Kaun returned to action in the Russian League this weekend and Vorontsevich may play against Roma, too. Nevertheless, rookie Dimitri Sokolov is set to see most of the minutes at center, with Khryapa, Ivan Radenovic and Nikita Kurbanov sharing playing time around the baskets, too. Khryapa has the tough mission to guard Andre Hutson, who has been in great shape lately. Meanwhile, Sokolov and Kaun will battle against shot-blocking specialist Andrea Crosariol and mobile big man Angelo Gigli. Herve Toure could face Vorontsevich and Radenovic, a mobile big man that could be a trouble for Roma if CSKA plays up-tempo. Of course, one of the guests' main concerns will be stopping former Euroleague MVP Ramunas Siskauskas. Winston seems the right man to do so, and he will also try to outscore him. There is some good news for Roma, as shooting guard Ricky Minard is back in action, teaming up with Jaaber to form an electric backcourt duo. The matchup between Jaaber and J.R. Holden may well become the biggest key to this game. Holden is one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the competition, but he is not used to play against someone at least as physical as him. Minard will test his shooting skills in his debut against former Final Four MVP Trajan Langdon. Backup point guards Zoran Planinic of CSKA and Jacopo Giachetti of Lottomatica may also play important roles in this game, too. CSKA must be its usual self in defense and try to run and play up-tempo with Khryapa and Radenovic together on court, but also slow things down to make use of Sokolov, who can open the court for CSKA’s many elite shooters. Lottomatica must play as aggressive as it did against Laboral, running the break often with Jaaber as its main player. Even though CSKA is the heavy favorite at home, expect a fierce battle in Moscow on Wednesday.
REFEREES: Grzegorz Ziemblicki, Eddie Viator, Oliver Krause
Trajan Langdon is now just 4 points behind Panathinaikos’s Sarunas Jasikevicius for 10th place on the career scoring charts. Langdon has scored 1,797 points in his Euroleague career.
J.R. Holden needs just 6 points to reach Regal FC Barcelona guard Jaka Lakovic for fourth place on the Euroleague’s career scoring charts. He enters this week’s game with 2,124 points.
Ricky Minard is set to make his Euroleague debut this week against CSKA.
Luca Vitali enters the season with a streak of at least one three-pointer made in seven straight games.
Ibby Jaaber made his Euroleague debut in Moscow against CSKA in February 2008. He scored 12 points that night, but CSKA won 72-71 on a Trajan Langdon buzzer-beater.