By Paul Nilsen
The big question ahead of the second semi-final has yet to be answered - will home floor advantage and raucous support help propel Gottingen into Sundays Final or will the hosts buckle under the weight of expectation and see their EuroChallenge dreams shattered?
It's a fascinating dynamic to a mouth-watering contest against Roanne. Both teams are riding high in their respective domestic leagues and expected to finish in third place to underline the quality expected to be on show.
Working in the favour of Gottingen is the giant hole left by an unfortunate injury to Roanne star Ralph Mims who has been the main architect in the impressive run of the French team this year. The shooting ace will be sorely missed and without this devastating perimeter threat, the temptation for Coach Patrick to zone his opponent must be high.
|Young Taylor Rochestie has been the go to guy for BG Göttingen.|
The Gottingen play-caller admitted his team will push the ball down the floor and try to control the tempo and ensure it is run and gun basketball all weekend. This is one of the reasons why the German outfit are the most prolific scorers in EuroChallenge with 83.5 points per game.
Importantly the German team share around the scoring in fantastic fashion, they don't have any standout scorer with Taylor Rochestie leading the way and yet he averages less than 14 points per game. Nevertheless, they do have five players who average double digit scores and that kind of sharing the offensive load is always going to give a headache to any opposing coach.
While their strategy and style itself is no big secret, they do seem to enjoy an incredible capability to play a high tempo game and yet still look after the ball to great effect. You would perhaps expect turnovers to be high for a team playing at such a frantic pace but not so and this is a key area for Gottingen. They can employ an exciting brand of basketball and still only spill the ball 13 times per game - one of the safest records in EuroChallenge.
The only unwanted factor probably attributable to their fast-paced outlook is they don't always finish around the hoop as well as they should. Then again, by putting up a massive 42.8 shots per game, they always know there will be plenty more opportunities to help maintain their record as top scorers in the tournament.
Their approach is built on a solid defence and it needs to be otherwise it wouldn't be anywhere near as effective. They give up just 72.1 points per game and that could worry a ‘Mims-less' Roanne.
Having said that, Roanne themselves still have firepower and are as athletic as any team in the tournament. They too can score in transition and at 83.2 points per game, they are hot on the heels of their opponents. On paper they are also more accurate and at 58.3% they are the third best finishers around the hoop. Equally Roanne are potent from outside - but the footnote to this factor is of course the absence of Mims.
One thing the numbers don't really emphasise is the athleticism of Roanne, and this is definitely something Gottingen will have to try and counteract to good effect if they want to keep the hometown supporters happy by booking their place in the Final. Uchenna Nsonwu has been a stand out center in EuroChallenge this season.
Roanne are a team that have really gelled well this year and even with their injury problems, they have continued to get results and shown a resilience and mental toughness required for any team fighting on both the domestic and European fronts.
While Gottingen have to do the business under the spotlight and expectation of being hosts, Roanne have two big questions to answer themselves. Can they do a better job at transforming their athletic prowess into bigger rebounding numbers?
Most importantly of all -who will step into the breach and take over the offensive reins from Mims as Roanne look to pour some early cold water on the EuroChallenge party in Gottingen?