In the first round of the Group E in the Top 16 (Second phase) of the EuroCup, Rytas Vilnius is hosting Partizan in Lithuania.
These two teams played against each other four times in the past, and the hosts won in all four previous games. The last two matchs were on schedule last year although in the first phase of the EuroCup. Now, in the Top 16, Rytas (Vilniečiai -Vilnians-, Black-White-Reds) is coming as the fourth team from the Group D, while the Black and Whites (Crno-Beli) advanced as the third team in the Group C.
Both, the Lithuanian and the Serbian, squads inked players before the Top 16. The Team from Vilnius has an experienced center, Artsiom Parakhouski (Belarusian who played for Maccabi, as you can check in “Rytas gets Parakhouski for Top 16“), while Alex Renfroe will be in Partizan roster for the game. Also, the Black and Whites signed Nikola Janković, Serbian Power forward – Center who played for Estudiantes (ACB League Club) in the first part of the season, but he won’t be helping his new teammates against Rytas.
Partizan is on the rise looking at the games in Europe and the squad is looking to stay on the winning streak, but Rytas is on their way and the Lithuanian team will have a fresh start against the Black and Whites after advancing to the Top 16 as the last team of the group. The Hosts will have their chance to win if they continue to play good defense. In the regular season they were much better in steals than the guests (8.4 comparing to Partizan 4.59, as you can check in each team Statistics, through the given links).
Also, during the game, all the eyes will be on the matchup between two big men: Martynas Echodas and Jock Landale. They are, both, excellent in the duels in the paint, so their clash will be interesting to watch and an excellent defense will decide who will celebrate in the end.
Looking back to the numbers in the first phase, except the steals, both teams have similar statistics so the small details will decide the match. Partizan added some experience to the squad by inking Renfore, but the team is still made of youngsters and their energy could prevail. The Energy of the young squad could be an advantage but also an disadvantage so the leak of experience (except Renfroe’s and captain Novica Veličković’s experience) can be used by the hosts in the first game of the Top 16 of the EuroCup.