|25 February 2013|
|Folarin Campbell and BK Ventspils are in the driving seat to join Pinar Karsiyaka as the two teams to advance from Group I to the quarter-final play-offs |
Whether you enjoy watching top-level basketball, take pleasure in the drama that make-or-break situations provide, or simply have an inkling for advanced mathematics, you cannot afford to miss a moment of the final day of the Last 16 on Tuesday.
Five teams have already reserved their spot in the EuroChallenge quarter-final play-offs, but for the eight sides left vying over the remaining three tickets, Tuesday night can turn out to be anything from recognition for a job well-done, to a devastatingly heart-breaking occasion.
We break down the situation in each of the Last 16 groups and examine the various scenarios and possible permutations.
Pinar Karsiyaka (4-1) have already qualified to the quarter-final play-offs and also clinched top spot in the group regardless of what happens on Tuesday.
BK Ventspils, Joensuun Kataja and Gaz Metan Medias are tied at 2-3 in the standings but do not all stand the same chances of qualifying.
The Latvians, thanks to their superior goal differential compared to the other two sides and their advantage in the head-to-head with Kataja, hold all the cards in their hands.
If Ventspils escape from Romania with a win on Tuesday night they will go through, and there is nothing Gaz Metan Medias or Kataja can do about it.
The Finnish side will qualify only if they defeat Karsiyaka and at the same time Ventspils lose to Medias. In that scenario, Kataja and the Romanian team would finish tied at 3-3 with the Finns holding the advantage in their head-to-head comparison.
Medias will qualify only if they defeat Ventspils, by any margin, and at the same time Kataja lose to Karsiyaka. In that scenario, Medias would be the only side to finish at 3-3 so the head-to-head comparison with either of the other two contenders would not come into play.
BCM Gravelines Dunkerque (4-1) have secured their passage to the quarter-finals and will also take first place in the group if they defeat Hapoel Holon, who are out of contention with a 0-5 record, on Tuesday.
Should they lose in Israel, but Szolnoki also lose, they will still take first place.
Should BCM lose and Szolnoki win the goal average will come into play, as the two teams have defeated each other by a four-point differential.
Inevitably, the direct clash between Szolnoki Olaj and Paris Levallois in Hungary is the game that attracts all interest in the group on the final day, as it will decide which team will accompany BCM to the next stage.
As both sides are tied at 3-2, this is a straight-forward affair in that the point differential is irrelevant and the only thing that counts is victory.
The Parisians prevailed 93-71 in the reverse fixture in the French capital, but it took a double-double performance (23 points, 11 rebounds) by Jawad Williams to reach that victory and the participation of the American forward on Tuesday is still unclear, after he sat out the last two games with an injury.
|Willie Deane and Khimik Yuzhne simply need to win at home on Tuesday to advance to the next stage of the competition|
Krasnye Krylia (5-0) have reserved first place in the group but will want to extend their undefeated streak in the EuroChallenge to 12 games on Tuesday, after tasting defeat for the first time in almost two months at the weekend, losing 96-87 at Donetsk in VTB League action.
The Russian side was in control of the encounter on the road until a slump in their defensive performance in the fourth quarter allowed their hosts to turn the tables, outscoring them 27-17 in that period.
Even if Tofas (2-3) manage to take advantage of Krasnye Krylia's confusing moment and become the first team to inflict defeat on the Samara outfit in the EuroChallenge this season, they will have to wait on the result of the other game in the group before uncorking the champagne.
The Turkish side needs Khimik Yuzhne to lose at home to Norrköping Dolphins in order to advance, in what is undoubtedly the most intriguing clash on the final day of the EuroChallenge Last 16.
The Ukrainian side holds the advantage in the head-to-head with Tofas and they will be the ones to accompany Krasnye Krylia into the quarter-finals if they defeat the Dolphins by any margin, regardless of whether the Bursa side pull off the great feat in Russia or not.
Norrköping on the other hand are hoping to achieve their goal against mathematical odds and in a way that will defy all precedents in the competition, by advancing to the play-offs with a 2-4 record.
In order for this to happen, the Swedish side need to beat Khimik by 10 points or more and Tofas to lose in Samara, so that they gain the upper hand in the three-way tie that would ensue.
The two German sides in the competition, EWE Baskets Oldenburg and Telekom Baskets Bonn, have secured first and second place in the group, respectively.
What's more, regardless of Tuesday's results, Okapi Aalstar will take third spot and Tsmoki Minsk will finish in fourth.
No one likes to lose however, while both Okapi and Minsk would like to wave goodbye to the competition on a high note.
Both Oldenburg and Bonn were playing at home in the German BEKO Bundesliga at the weekend, with mixed results.
Oldenburg registered a 76-65 win over s.Oliver Baskets behind a 15-point, 8-rebound showing by Ronald Burrell, while Julius Jenkins added 14 points.
Bonn on the other hand fell to Alba Berlin, 71-60, as only two players, Robert Vaden with 18 points and Jared Jordan with 11, scored in double digits for the hosts.
Okapi lost to Belfius Mons-Hainaut at home, 86-78, in a direct clash for second place in the Belgian Ethias League on Saturday.
Ryan Thompson led all Okapi scorers with 19 points and added six rebounds, while John Tofi and Derek Raivio finished with 18 apiece, with Tofi also collecting nine rebounds.
Minsk were not in VTB action on the weekend and had more time to prepare for their trip to Germany and their farewell game in the EuroChallenge.