Five things you need to know before the all-Italian title clash
Here are the five things you need to know about the two Italian teams before the Final tips off in Avellino on Wednesday.
1. They are among the Serie A leaders
Reyer Venezia and Sidigas Avellino have been among the main trend-setters in the Italian championship this season. Having won their third Serie A title last year, the Walter De Raffaele-coached team from Venice are leading the pack this season as well.
Che giornata di campionato!— Lega Basket Serie A (@LegaBasketA) April 22, 2018
La @REYER1872 ritorna in vetta, dove in attesa dello scontro diretto al Taliercio si prende la prima posizione sull'@OlimpiaMI1936
Rivivi le emozioni sui campi della #LBASerieA @PosteMobile ➡🎞 https://t.co/13TAgz73SS#TuttoUnAltroSport pic.twitter.com/gUfYb99Rp3
After the latest results this past weekend, they are tied for top spot with Olimpia Milano with identical 21-6 records. Meanwhile, Avellino are fourth in the table with a 16-9 mark.
They also had their turn at the top of the table in the earlier part of the season, actually qualifying for the Final Eight of the Italian Basketball Cup as the top seed thanks to a league-best 12-3 mark at that time.
However, both Avellino and Venezia were eliminated in the Quarter-Finals in the 50th edition of Italy's national cup competition, held in Florence in February.
2. They split the season series
The teams have already played both of their Regular Season games in the Italian championship, splitting the season series 1-1 after claiming double-digit wins on their home floor.
Avellino inflicted the first blow back in early December, defeating Reyer Venezia 87-77 at the Palasport Del Mauro behind a 29-point game from top scorer Jason Rich. For Venezia, the now-injured Gediminas Orelik had a team-high 18 points.
When the teams met in Venice, it was Reyer Venezia celebrating a convincing 88-74 win after pulling away in the fourth quarter. Mitchell Watt led the way with 21 points and 6 rebounds for the hosts, while Rich paced Avellino with a game-high 22 points.
3. They played in the Basketball Champions League Play-Offs last season
The upcoming FIBA Europe Cup title clash will be the second season in a row that the teams have faced off on the international stage as well. Last year, Venezia eliminated Avellino in the Round of 16 of the Basketball Champions League with an aggregate two-leg score of 125-118.
Having won the first game in Avellino 53-49 in a defensive-minded slugfest, Venezia inscribed another four-point win at home, defeating the visitors from Campania 72-68 in the return fixture.
Eight players involved in last year's head-to-head meetings in Europe will be active this year as well: MarQuez Haynes, Hrvoje Peric, Michael Bramos and Tomas Ress are back for Venezia, while Andrea Zerini, Maarten Leunen and Kyrylo Fesenko are still representing the Lupi from Avellino.
Player number eight? Ariel Filloy. The Argentina-born 31-year-old Italian national team member played for Reyer Venezia last year, but moved to southern Italy over the summer.
4. They also faced off in the Serie A Play-Offs last season
Reyer Venezia was undoubtedly the team that caused the most heartbreak for basketball lovers in Avellino last season, knocking out the Wolves not only in the Basketball Champions League but also the Italian championship Play-Offs.
A close-fought Semi-Final series in the Serie A ended in a 4-2 triumph for the Venetian side who went on to lift the trophy after downing Dolomiti Energia Trento in the Finals.
It was the third domestic championship title for Reyer Venezia, who did so after an incredibly long break. Their previous two triumphs came in 1942 and 1943.
Meanwhile, Avellino are yet to win an Italian championship title. The only piece of silverware in their trophy cabinet is an Italian Cup they won in 2008.
5. They are not the first Italian teams in the Final of the FIBA Europe Cup
Reyer Venezia and Sidigas Avellino are not the first teams to reach the Final of the FIBA Europe Cup. In the inaugural 2015-16 season, the Paulo Moretti-coached Openjobmetis Varese went all the way to the title.
They could not crown a dominant international campaign with a European trophy, coming up short 66-62 against Fraport Skyliners in the decisive game of the Final Four, held in Chalon-sur-Saone, France.
It is also not the first time that two teams from the same country will face off in the Final, with Nanterre 92 and Elan Chalon involved in an all-French affair last year.
However, one of Venezia and Avellino will become the first Italian team to lift the FIBA Europe Cup trophy, joining German and French clubs who have already done so in the previous two seasons.