2008 Top 16 Profile: CSKA Moscow

Jan 29, 2008 by Euroleague.net Print

 CSKA Moscow
Regular Season:
1st, Group A, 12-2

Team Rankings
2nd Ranking
2nd 3-point %
6th assists
8th points

Ettore Messina - CSKA Moscow
Ettore Messina
At first glance, it would be easy to confuse CSKA’s current side with that of two years ago that lifted the Euroleague crown at the end of the season. With head coach Ettore Messina still running things on the sidelines and the core of that team back, the similarities are striking: Iron defense that allowed a Euroleague low 67.3 points per game, an efficient attack with excellent passers and three-point shooters and even an identical midseason addition in the form of center Tomas Van den Spigel. However this season’s squad could be even stronger due to several key offseason additions and a rough injury patch during the regular season that has toughened the team and brought them closer together. Only five players took part in all 14 games to date and CSKA has lost All-Euroleague forward Matjaz Smodis and veteran center Aleksey Savrasenko for the rest of the season. Despite the hardships, CSKA marched through Group A, going 12-2 and matching Group C’s Panathinaikos for the best record in the
Theodoros Papaloukas - CSKA Moscow
Theo Papaloukas
competition. The Russian champs were undefeated at home, stretching their winning streak in Moscow to 24 games, and that advantage may even be greater with the opening of the team’s new state-of-the-art Palace of Sports Khodynka. The team’s on-court leader is reining Euroleague MVP Theo Papaloukas, but its top performer has been David Andersen, who since being asked to carry more of a load due to injuries has averaged 17.1 points and 8 rebounds in nine games. Every player in the team’s starting lineup – J.R. Holden, Trajan Langdon, Ramunas Siskauskas, Marcus Goree and Andersen – can pass and shoot, which creates a troubling situation for opposing defenses. When CSKA is on its game, it has no real weaknesses. Over the past five years, CSKA is 26-4 in the Top 16, showing that it knows how to play when crunch time begins and all signs point to this season being no different as Messina’s men continue their march to Madrid.
CSKA Moscow CEO Andrei Vatutin: "It is a very difficult group with two teams we met last season, as we played against Barcelona in the regular season and then against Unicaja in the Final Four. Maybe it is an advantage that we play the opening two games at home but on the other side, it is additional pressure, too. We had a very good experience to play in the new arena. We increased the attendance up to almost three times than at Universal Sports Arena but we have to consider some more details, becaude it is not actually our home arena. We cannot practice in there. The decision will be taken in the neat future, taking into account marketing and basketball considerations."