Top 16, Round 2: Montepaschi, Tau, Real Madrid and CSKA sieze group leads!
Just two weeks into the Top 16, first place in each and every group is spoken for. Montepaschi, Tau Ceramica, Real Madrid and CSKA are all undefeated and have some good history on their side. In the three-year playoff era until now, only two teams that started the Top 16 with two victories ever missed the next round. Montepaschi leads Group D after upending Efes Pilsen 76-79 in overtime in Istanbul as Bootsy Thornton led the winners with 18 points, including an acrobatic game-clincher in overtime. Tau Ceramica is alone atop Group E after burying Fenerbahce Ulker 103-84 as seven players scored in double figures. Tau made an incredible 59.4% of its two-pointers, 61.9% of its triples and 90.9% of its free throws. Real Madrid owns Group F now after dumping Olympiacos 80-70 as Alex Mumbru led the way with 16 points. AndCSKA Moscow is first in Group G after whipping Barcelona 72-55 as David Andersen scored 20 points. Week 2 also served to lift one team from each group into the win colum. In Group D, defending champion Panathinaikos escaped an 0-2 start by rallying to defeat Partizan Igokea 67-65 at home in Athens. In Group E, Lietuvos Rytas prevailed 89-74 over Aris TT Bank as Chuck Eidson and Mindaugas Lukauskis had 18 points each. In Group F,Zalgiris walloped Maccabi Elite 101-82 behind 22 points from Jonas Maciulis to end that team's 15-game, four-year Top 16 losing streak. And in Group G, Lottomatica Roma beat Unicaja 75-67 as Roko-Leni Ukic pumped in 19 points. The 0-2 teams whose backs are against the wall now are, in group order, Partizan, Aris, Olympiacos and Unicaja. Tied in second place with this week's first-game winners, again in group order, are Efes Pilsen, Fenerbahce Ulker, Maccabi and Barcelona. All of which promises prolonged battles for qualification to the playoffs in the remaining four weeks of the Top 16.