By Paul Nilsen
Scavolini Spar Pesaro have more reason than most to count their blessings for progressing in EuroChallenge this season and reaching Final Four. Forget their attempts to ensure the Trophy remains in Italy for another twelve months, the competition has simply been a welcome relief from their somewhat traumatic domestic campaign.
They started their Lega A season with six straight losses and have painstakingly dug themselves out of an almighty hole which had initially thrown up the ugly spectre of a potentially disastrous relegation from the Italian top flight.
In the last few months they have turned the defensive screw (already tightened in EuroChallenge) and with it, have mustered sufficient winning form to at least help them manoeuvre safety towards the promised land of mid-table mediocrity.
Throughout their domestic dog-fight, EuroChallenge has at least been the one constant for them and has perhaps acted as a real pressure-valve to release the relentless tension borne out of their fight against the dreaded drop.
However just as their league form begins to drag them slowly out of trouble, their EuroChallenge bid has been rocked by fears the influential Daniele Cinciarini is a major injury doubt this weekend. The Italian International has been one of their most influential players in the competition this year averaging over 12 points per game.
Thankfully Pesaro can also rely on a good dose of quality right throughout their ranks and that is very much their overriding strength - the fact they don't have one major asset in the side and have a super balance.
This is a true team in every sense of the word. The roster they possess is about as evenly spread with talent and as you could ever imagine and they just love to move the ball around and share the offensive load.
Arguably the other player who would be missed if he got injured or didn't perform is assist king Marques Green. Not necessarily because of his ability to take over a game in terms of offensive production, but because of his adeptness at getting the big guys the ball in dangerous areas.
The Italians are the best finishers around the basket in the competition and the reasons for that are not only the ability of Green to get the ball delivered down low at but also his voracious appetite for steals which more often than not facilitates plenty of buckets in transition for the Biancorosso.
Highly competent from the perimeter and deadlier than anyone else inside the arc, this is a team who get the job done all over the floor, work hard and really stick together.
With their top flight status still to fight for back on home-soil and a major piece of silverware up for grabs here in Gottingen, you can be sure that these are two major battles the Scavolini Spar Pesaro players will fight standing shoulder to shoulder.
The only real question is what the impact will be on their approach and mentality if they still have one eye on the Lega A trap-door should they have not secured their status by the time they arrive.