CSKA Moscow posted some of the best regular-season shooting numbers this century to become the Euroleague’s top-rated team entering the Top 16. Before he was injured, Milos Teodosic led the Euroleague in assists by aiming his passes to big men Kyle Hines and Sasha Kaun, who rarely missed. Nando de Colo and Aaron Jackson more than covered Teodosic's absence, while scorer Sonny Weems and energy booster Andrey Vorontsevich completed a dominant display that makes CSKA a Euroleague favorite going forward.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: CSKA Moscow will face Olympiacos Piraeus in Rounds 3 and 10. The two teams will see each other on a Euroleague court for the first time since the 2013 semifinals, in which Olympiacos downed CSKA 52-69. Hines paced a balanced Olympiacos attack with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but he will be with CSKA this time around. Few have forgotten the 2012 Euroleague final, in which Olympiacos rallied from a 19-point deficit to edge CSKA 61-62 in one of the most unbelievable comebacks in sports history. Georgios Printezis’s floater with 0.7 seconds left won it for the Reds. It is also a showdown between the best offense (CSKA, 89.5 ppg.) and one of the best defenses (Olympiacos, 71.6 ppg. allowed) this season.
GOING FORWARD: CSKA has managed to overcome a lot of injuries to keep going and finish first at the end of the regular season. Not only was Teodosic sidelined for more than a month, CSKA has been without team captain Victor Khryapa and veteran swingman Manuchar Markoishvili. Khryapa is a top-class defensive player and can do a little bit of everything on the court to make sure his team keeps adding wins. Markoishvili, who played a Euroleague final with Benetton Treviso at age 16, knows this is a good chance for him to contribute to a winning team with great tradition. Expect CSKA to be better and more powerful after the holiday break.