|26 November 2012|
EWE Baskets Oldenburg (3-0), in many aspects the best team in the EuroChallenge at this early stage, have the chance to clinch a place in the Last 16 of the competition on Tuesday, with two weeks to spare in the Regular Season.
The Germans are travelling to Hungary to take on Szolnoki Olaj (2-1) and a victory would secure them a top-two finish in Group F regardless of results in the remaining games.
A Szolnoki win on the other hand would derail -even just temporarily- Oldenburg's bid and most importantly would throw the race for the top spot in the group wide open with both teams tied at 3-1.
In order to achieve such an outcome, the hosts have to find a way to counterbalance Oldenburg's deep rotation and get quality minutes from their bench players.
In the reverse fixture on the opening day the German side cruised to an 87-70 victory, thanks in no small part to their performance not varying considerably no matter which five players they had on the court at any given time.
Whereas four Szolnoki players combined for 54 of their team's 70 points, Oldenburg saw ten of their personnel spending a minimum of nine minutes on the court and writing their name on the score sheet.
The Hungarian side can however take heart from the fact they were the only team not to lose the battle on the glass to Oldenburg.
The group leaders out-rebounded both Körmend and BC Timisoara with ease but the Szolnoki big men held their ground against Oldenburg's frontline, collecting just two rebounds less.
The hosts are coming off a painful defeat at home, 82-78 to Igokea Aleksandrovac in the Adriatic league on Saturday.
The good news for Szolnoki is that big man Marton Bader continues to be in form and picked up a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds in just 24 minutes of action.
Bader was Regular Season Week 2 MVP with a monstrous performance against Körmend and he collected another double-double last week, in Szolnoki's 93-80 victory at BC Timisoara.
Oldenburg on the other hand are experiencing the joys of free-scoring basketball at the moment.
After scoring 95 points against Körmend last Wednesday, they dropped 113 on Phoenix Hagen in the German BEKO Bundesliga on Saturday (113-62).
What's more, coach Sebastian Machowski had once again the chance to see all the players on his squad share minutes and contribute points.
SEASON SO FAR
|Dru Joyce and EWE Baskets are red-hot these days, playing a good role in the BBL and remaining undefeated in the EuroChallenge|
Szolnoki's offensive output of 86.3 points per game is the fifth-highest in the EuroChallenge.
Part of it has to do with the excellent shooting percentages of their frontcourt players.
While the Hungarian side shoot just 35 percent from beyond the three-point arc, they are the second best in the entire competition from close range, hitting 58% of their two-point attempts.
Oldenburg are the most productive team in the EuroChallenge after the first three weeks of action, with an output of 88.7 points per contest.
The Group F leaders are not doing badly on the other end of the floor either.
They give up only 67 points to their opponents per game and are the second-best in the competition after the tough-as-nails on defence Pinar Karsiyaka.
They are even better than the Turkish team when it comes to the amount of open looks they allow to their opponents.
Oldenburg concede only 51.3 field goal attempts on average to rival players, who successfully hit just 22 of those (42.9 %) per game.