|A pivotal game in Group C is set to take place at the state-of-the-art O2 Arena in Berlin, Germany, where Alba hosts Tau
Ceramica on Thursday at 20:00 CET. Alba ties with Fenerbahce Ulker for fourth place at 3-4 but is unbeaten at home.
Meanwhile, Tau ties for first place at 5-2 and may clinch a Top 16 berth if it wins on Thursday. Alba is facing severe injury
problems, especially on its frontcourt. Aleksandar Nadjfeji was hit in the left calf in a German League game and is
questionable. Meanwhile, Patrick Femerling missed Sunday’s German League contest due to a knee injury and is also
questionable for Thursday. Even when Adam Chubb also missed the game with a stomach virus, he is expected to face Tau and
All-Euroleague center Tiago Splitter. Ansu Sesay is set to test his shooting skills against three-point threat Mirza
Teletovic. If Femerling and Nadjfeji are sidelined, expect Dragan Dojcin to see extended playing time against Will McDonald
of Tau Ceramica. There are also some good news for Alba, as scoring ace Julius Jenkins is expected to play against Tau. He is
ready to share his team's scoring skills along with former Tau shooter Casey Jacobsen and do-it-all, intense forward Immanuel
McElroy. Jenkins will have a high-profile matchup against Igor Rakocevic, currently the Euroleague's top scorer. Jacobsen will face a player that knows him well like Sergi Vidal, while McElroy has a key matchup against Pete Mickeal. Johannes Herber of Alba and Fernando San Emeterio of Tau may play an important role off the bench. The point guard battle will be interesting, as Alba must stop Tau's pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop game by slowing Pablo Prigioni. Steffen Hamann seems the right man for that job due to his intensity and defensive skills. Meanwhile, Rashad Wright will complement Hamann off the bench, while Prigioni will get some valuable help from Mustafa Shakur. Alba must get McElroy involved and expect a big game from Jacobsen and Jenkins. Meanwhile, Tau must get its frontcourt involved, as Rakocevic can be even more dangerous if Alba double-teams in the low post.
- Alba Berlin is undefeated at home this season at the O2 World, host of the 2009 Euroleague Basketball Final Four. Alba is 3-0 in the Euroleague and 5-0 in the German League.
- Casey Jacobson made his European debut with Tau Ceramica in the 2005-06 season. He helped the club reach the Euroleague Final Four that season and win the Spanish King’s Cup. Only three players on Tau’s current roster – center Tiago Splitter, guard Pablo Prigioni and forward Sergi Vidal – were teammates of Jacobson that season.
- Tau Ceramica leads the Euroleague in scoring this season and boasts three of the top 10 scorers in the league. Head coach Dusko Ivanovic’s club is averaging 92.7 points per game. Guard Igor Rakocevic leads the league with 18 points per game, center Tiago Splitter is eighth at 14.8 points and forward Mirza Teletovic is 10th with 14.6 per game. Splitter leads the league in points scored per minute played with 0.72 points per minute. Rakocevic is second at 0.71.
- Rakocevic has made at least 1 three-pointer in 12 consecutive Euroleague games. He has not missed a free throw this season in 31 attempts – the best run in the league. And Rakocevic needs just 1 more steal to reach 100 for his Euroleague Basketball career.
- Teletovic has made at least 1 three-pointer in 11 consecutive Euroleague games.
- Guard Pablo Prigioni has at least 1 steal in each of his last nine Euroleague appearances, but his streak of eight games in a row with at least 1 three-pointer came to an end when he did not attempt a shot last week. Prigioni’s first career 9-assist game came against Alba Berlin in January 2004. Tau won that game 94-81.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008