|A critical battle in the fight to make it to the Top 16 from Group D is scheduled for Wednesday night when Armani Jeans Milano hosts German League champion EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Both teams are tie for fifth place at 1-5, just one win behind Asseco Prokom, fourth at 2-4. So the winner of this game will rejoin the Top 16 race while the loser will need a major comeback to keep its chances alive. EWE Baskets improved with Bryan Bailey at point guard, allowing Je'Kel Foster to see more minutes at the '2' spot - as Jason Gardner is still sidelined and not expected to play in Milano this week. Bailey is set for a big point guard battle against Morris Finley, in one of the most important matchups in this game. Massimo Bulleri offers creativity and experience off the bench. Alex Acker missed a Italian League game this weekend, so Marco Mordente and Jonas Maciulis will see most minutes at the wings. Stefano Mancinelli will help Milano at both forwards, with sharp shooter Jeff Viggiano providing intensity and unlimited range off the bench. Mordente is ready for a big fight against Foster, while Maciulis must use his explosiveness, power and defensive skills against Rickey Paulding, Oldenburg's most important player. Paulding offers silent leadership, determination and team-oriented mentality at any time. Josh Carter will help Oldenburg at both wings with his athleticism and shot. There is important good news for Milano, as Marius Petravicius has recovered and is ready to face Oldenburg. Petravicius is set to lead the hosts' frontcourt along with rebounding machine Mason Rocca. Joey Beard offers size and experience at center while Mike Hall is set to come off the bench to open the court with his three-point shots and change the game with his defense and intensity. Petravicius hopes to use his post skills and mid-range jumper against defensive force Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje. Hall is ready for an interesting matchup against Milan Majstorovic. Meanwhile, Rocca has the tough mission to guard Jasmin Perkovic. Rocca is heavier and more experienced, so Perkovic must try to face him one-on-one and make the most of his driving skills. Skecic has to open the court with his long-distance shots against Beard and Petravicius. Oldenburg must get Paulding and Foster involved and try to play up-tempo to make the most out of its better physical skills. Milano must find Petravicius down low and expect Finley to set the right game rhythm. Above all, expect an intense battle in which the loser will lose many chances to stay alive in the competition.
REFEREES: Ilija Belosevic, Jakub Zamojski, Tomas Jasevicius
Armani Jeans Milano
Jonas Maciulis has an active streak of 13 consecutive Euroleague games with double figures in points, dating back to last season.
Maciulis has made at least one three-pointer in 17 consecutive Euroleague games, dating back to last season.
Alex Acker has picked up at least 1 steal in nine consecutive Euroleague appearances, dating back to last season.
Mason Rocca scored a season-high 16 points in a Week 2 victory at EWE Baskets.
Armani Jeans is tied for the fewest blocked shots of any team in the Euroleague this season (6).
EWE Baskets Oldenburg
EWE Baskets Oldenburg has used the same starting five – Foster, Hain, Paulding, Perkovic and Boumtje Boumtje – in all six games this season.
Josh Carter has averaged 12.7 points on the road this season, but just 5.7 points per game in home games.
Carter has made at least 1 three-pointer in all six games this season.
Je’Kel Foster matched his season-high with 20 points in Week 2 against Armani Jeans Milano.
Jasmin Perkovic scored a season-high 14 points in Week 2 against Armani Jeans Milano.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009