Round 20 of this year’s Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season will be taking place on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th of January and we can expect some interesting duels. Perhaps the most exciting match of the week will come from Belgrade, where the host Crvena Zvezda Belgrade will be hosting Panathinaikos in what promises to be a close one with both teams currently in the middle of the table and actively trying to make their way into the top four.
The full roster of matches includes:
Fenerbahce Istanbul v Galatasaray Odebank Istanbul
Crvena Zvezda Belgrade v Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens
Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv v Unics Kazan
CSKA Moscow v Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul v Zalgiris Kaunas
FC Barcelona Lassa v Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz
Olympiacos Piraeus v Brose Bamberg
Real Madrid v EA7 Emporio Armani Milan
We bring you a short preview of some of the most interesting matches you can expect in round 20 and our predictions for them.
Fenerbahce Istanbul v Galatasaray Odebank Istanbul Tips and Preview
The two Turkish giants are currently sitting at the opposite ends of the spectrum in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. While Fenerbahce is placed 5th with 11 wins and hoping to break into the top four, Galatasaray have been experiencing turbulence following their Euro Cup victory last season and are currently sitting next to last in the EuroLeague.
The two sides have only met once in EuroLeague and this was earlier in the season when Fenerbahce won 103:87, leaving their city rivals in the dust. Fener has since continued their good form while coach Ataman’s men have stringed together defeat after defeat, managing only 5 wins in the first 18 rounds.
Historically speaking, Fenerbahce has always gotten the better of their rivals and the three most recent games between the two in all competitions went Fenerbahce’s way. Coach Zeljko Obradovic will be hoping for his boys to snatch an easy win at their Ulker Arena and anything else would come as quite a surprise.
We can also expect a fairly high scoring game from the two Turkish sides as their earlier EuroLeague encounter ended with 190 points in total and both sides are averaging a decent number of points so far in the season.
Crvena Zvezda Belgrade v Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens Tips and Preview
Crvena Zvezda is playing in incredible form, stringing together five consecutive wins, including home wins against CSKA and Real Madrid, which shook the entire basketball world. With playmaker Stefan Jovic playing the season of his life and Center Ognjen Kuzmic averaging 7.9 jumps per game, the Serbian champions have been a dominant force in recent games. Yet, their earlier poor form has resulted in the team sharing 6th place with their rivals this week, Greek side Panathinaikos.
Panathinaikos on the other hand have been playing with mixed form and have lost 3 of their last five games for a less than impressive run. Despite this, they too have 10 wins just like Crvena Zvezda and will need to look for an away win in this fixture in order to overtake Zvezda. Led by the guard Mike James, who is averaging 13.7 points per game, Pascual’s men will try to use their strong defense and a great number of quality players to get one better of the Serbian side.
Panathinaikos and Crvena Zvezda have played 7 EuroLeague matches in their history, with the Greek side winning four and Zvezda taking three of those matches. Panathinaikos did win their first match of the season by 11 points, but this was a bad period for Crvena Zvezda in general. We expect a fairly easy win for the home team with a low number of points on both sides as both feature exceptionally strong defenses.
CSKA Moscow v Anadolu Efes Istanbul Tips and Preview
After 18 rounds of play, CSKA Moscow is top of the pack with 14 wins and 4 defeats. Their next match will be a relatively easy matchup with struggling Zalgiris, after which they will be hosting Anadolu Efes in their Megasport Arena. Anadolu Efes have won 8 of the initial 18 games and sit in 10th place ahead of their match with Darussafaka Dogus which will likely prove to be a tricky one.
CSKA Moscow will be playing without point guard Milos Teodosic, their key man, which means their top scorer Nando De Colo will need to take even more responsibility in the several upcoming matches and we can expect even more balls to go his way in Teodosic’s absence. Nevertheless, the powerful Russian side under the leadership of coach Dimitris Itoudis is expected to come away with another easy home win, especially if we consider the two sides have played 15 times in the EuroLeague and CSKA have won 12 of those games, including all 7 home games.
Anadolu Efes, yet another representative of Turkish basketball in EuroLeague will be looking for nothing short of a miracle against the favorited Russians. They have lost 3 of their last five games in EuroLeague and have not fared very well against CSKA in the past. Brandon Paul scored 25 points against Barcelona on the last matchday but this was still not sufficient as the absence of Cedi Osman has been felt all too much.
We expect an easy win for CSKA in what is likely to be a fairly high scoring game.