By Eurohoops team / email@example.com
These two teams just met ten days ago in the ACB. It took an overtime period to separate them. Eventually, Iberostar Tenerife ran out 91-86 winners but in reality, the game provided even fewer clues as to who might progress to the Semi-Finals.
What is in store for Thursday night? You can find out in the preview below, as featured on championsleague.basketball:
Zaragoza are in the unique position of being the only team coming into Final 8 with a new head coach. Porfi Fisac is out and incoming is Diego Ocampo. After learning the ropes as an assistant under Pedro Martinez, Joan Plaza, and Aito Reneses, Ocampo is a graduate of some of Spain’s finest tacticians. He has a challenge to build a new sense of team chemistry having never coached a Zaragoza game in the Basketball Champions League but in his favor is the roster continuity.
The major change to this Zaragoza roster is the outgoing Carlos Alocen. This year’s best young player has gone back to parent club Real Madrid after an excellent season running the show from the point guard position. The way Zaragoza have moved to replace him, or perhaps not directly replace him could give us some clues to how the style of play may change a bit. Incoming is Rasheed Sulaimon from JDa Dijon. Sulaimon had an outstanding BCL season, averaging over 13 assists and 3 assists on over 40% from 3-point and 50% shooting overall. Sulaimon is amongst the best shooting guards in the BCL, no question.
With Sulaimon, Dylan Ennis, and DJ Seeley, Zaragoza are fully stacked with guards that can score. Whereas Alocen leans more towards the traditional point guard style, Ocampo has only Rodrigo San Miguel that could be described as an out and out point guard. Ennis is likely to be the player that can take over the lion’s share of the playmaking responsibility. He leads the team in points and assists with 12.4 points and 4.4 assists. In transition Ennis is excellent at pushing the pace to create and in the pick-and-roll, Ennis is as good as any at Final 8 when it comes to seeing over the top to pick out the right pass.
Everywhere else on the roster we know exactly what to expect from this roster. Nicolas Brussino was a finalist last year and is one of the competitions most lethal snipers. Robin Benzing at the power forward is one of the five players that averaged over 10 and had one of the best shooting nights we have seen in the BCL in Dijon. Check the video below to hear him breaking it down for you.
The frontcourt firepower was possibly Zaragoza’s biggest strength all season and they have all the major players here to do the damage. Hlinason and Thompson are joined by Sagaba Konate. Only Javier Justiz will be unable to play.