Two of the strongest teams in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague this season meet again. AX Armani Exchange Milan (12-7) is on a three-game winning streak, led by Kevin Punter (14.2 ppg.), Sergio Rodriguez (10.0 ppg., 4.7 apg.) and Zach LeDay (10.6 ppg., 4.5 rpg.). Behind Milanese coach Andrea Trinchieri, FC Bayern Munich (12-8) hopes to snap its current four-game road losing streak. Wade Baldwin IV (14.2 ppg., 4.0 apg.), Vladimir Lucic (14.1 ppg., 4.9 rpg.) and Jalen Reynolds (14.0 ppg., 6.6 rpg.) have been its main pillars.
Two undersized big men will engage in a physical matchup. Reynolds is one of the most pleasant surprises in the EuroLeague this season due to his fighting spirit and overall effectiveness, ranking third in PIR (16.5) and second in rebounds (12.3) on a 40-minute basis. Reynolds should not have it easy against a more experienced opponent, four-time EuroLeague champion Kyle Hines, a former Best Defender Trophy winner who just became the first American player to play 300 games in the competition.
Earlier this season
In the teams' season opener, Shavon Shields hit a three-pointer with 9 seconds left in overtime to give Milan an overtime 79-81 road win over Bayern. Milan forced overtime on a runner by Rodriguez in the final minute of regulation and then Shields hit a tough game-winner with a hand in his face. Malcolm Delaney paced Milan with 17 points and 8 assists, while Hines scored 16 points. Baldwin led Bayern with 18 points and Reynolds had 14 points plus 11 rebounds.
Keys to victory: Milan
Rebounding has been the answer to Milan's problems. After being heavily outrebounded by CSKA 33-60 in an overtime home loss, Milan dramatically improved those numbers. It outrebounded its next three opponents - Real Madrid, Valencia Basket, ALBA Berlin, getting 31.7 rebounds on average while allowing 26.7. Milan has found different go-to guys in those wins, which is great news for Coach Ettore Messina's team. An unpredictable offense should make the team stronger in the long run.
Keys to victory: Bayern
Bayern has lost its last four road games by 5 points or fewer, but just got Lucic back, which gives the German powerhouse a regular go-to guy in end-of-game situations. D.J. Seeley has been effective (53.8% 3FG, 92.3% FT) since he joined the team and given Bayern extra scoring punch. Seeley, Zan Sisko and Baldwin should control the game tempo and make sure Rodriguez and Delaney do not circulate the ball well on offense.