01 October, 2019
29 April, 2020
8 Antonio Lamar Crocker (KARSI), Ufuk Sarica (KARSI)
to read

Preview: A closer look at the Quarter-Finals matchups

MUNICH (Germany) - Eight teams take to the court again this week as the FIBA Europe Cup action resumes with the start of the Play-Offs.

medi Bayreuth, Pinar Karsiyaka, Tsmoki-Minsk and Ventpsils were the group winners from the Second Round and will head on the road to begin the two-legged ties.

Here's a look at the four matchups:

Ventspils v Bahcesehir College

Wednesday, March 4
First leg: Besiktas Akatlar Arena, Istanbul - 17:00 GMT +03
Wednesday, March 11
Second leg: Olympic Center, Ventspils - 19:00 GMT +02

Ventspils have really made their mark on the competition this season with 11 wins from 12 games cementing their status as one of the leading contenders for the title. The inside threat of Latvian center Klavs Cavars paired with American rookie Ryan Luther has been dominant at times, but having seven different players averaging double figures in scoring epitomizes the strength in depth at their disposal with TJ Shorts a welcome early season addition.

Bahcesehir College should provide strong opposition despite their struggles domestically, though the big challenge will be finding a way to contain the competition's leading scorers. The Turkish outfit pack their own punch with the combo of Trae Golden and Mangok Mathiang a constant threat. The likes of Dwight Handy, Cam Clark and JaJuan Johnson help form a strong core and the first leg could prove crucial with Ventspils unbeaten on the road, so far.

Scoring leaders: TJ Shorts - 13.9 PPG; Trae Golden - 18.1 PPG
Rebounding leaders: Ryan Luther - 9.3 RPG; Mangok Mathiang - 10.3 RPG
Assists leaders: TJ Shorts - 5.8 APG; Trae Golden - 8.3 APG

Tsmoki-Minsk v Bakken Bears

Wednesday, March 4
First leg: Vejlby Risskov Hallen, Risskov - 18:30 GMT +01
Wednesday, March 11
Second leg: Falcon Club, Minsk - 19:00 GMT +03

Tsmoki-Minsk have featured in every single FIBA Europe Cup season but this is only their second trip to the Play-Offs, and best ever showing as well. After beating BC Kyiv Basket by 25 on the road to move to 3-0 in the Regular Season, they were almost knocked out after a run of three successive defeats. Their home form helped them through the Second Round with consistent performances from Maksim Salash and Alex Gavrilovic, while the tandem of Rob Lowery and Branko Mirkovic helps run the offense.

Bakken Bears also have a good track record in the competition and they made it all the way to the Semi-Finals two seasons ago. The Danish side prevailed in a winner-takes-all clash with SL Benfica to advance from the Second Round and have benefitted from the all-round play of Ryan Evans. Senegalese center Michel Diouf also plays an important role on the team, while Nimrod Hilliard increased his productivity in a key stretch of games to see the Bears pick up momentum.

Scoring leaders: Alex Gavrilovic - 13.5 PPG; Ryan Evans - 14.9 PPG
Rebounding leaders - Maksim Salash - 5.9 RPG; Ryan Evans - 6.0 RPG
Assists leaders - Rob Lowery - 5.1 APG; Nimrod Hilliard - 5.7 APG

Pinar Karsiyaka v BC Kyiv Basket

Wednesday 04 March, 2020
First leg: Sports Palace, Kiev - 19:30 GMT +02
Wednesday 11 March 2020
Second leg: Karsiyaka Arena, Izmit - 20:00 GMT +03

Pinar Karsiyaka are the team to beat in the competition and it will take a special performance to stop them based on their current form. You have to go back to October for their last defeat in this season's FIBA Europe Cup with a run of 11 straight victories - five of which have been won by 30+ points. Recent Slovenia debutant Jordan Morgan has been a standout figure, even amongst a deep and talented roster including the likes of Tony Taylor, Amath M'Baye and DJ Kennedy with Tony Crocker also making a return from injury in the New Year.

A formidable task but one that BC Kyiv Basket will relish having stepped up to the plate with big results already this season. Most notably, they are the only team to inflict a defeat on Ventspils having started the Second Round 4-0 even with an injury to leading scorer, Kasey Shepherd. Two consecutive losses halted their momentum, though they have experience on the roster with Vladyslav Koreniuk and Viacheslav Petrov forming key pieces in the front-court that will be needed to counter Morgan and co.

Scoring leaders: Jordan Morgan - 15.6 PPG; Kasey Shepherd - 14.2 PPG
Rebounding leaders: Jordan Morgan - 7.0 RPG; Vladyslav Koreniuk - 6.9 RPG
Assists leaders: Tony Taylor - 3.9 APG; Marek Klassen - 5.3 APG

medi Bayreuth v U-BT Cluj Napoca

Wednesday 04 March, 2020
First leg: BTarena, Cluj-Napoca - 19:00 GMT +02
Wednesday 11 March 2020
Second leg: Oberfrankenhalle, Bayreuth - 18:30 GMT +01

medi Bayreuth have perhaps gone under the radar slightly in their run to the Quarter-Finals, though they rank second in scoring (93.6 PPG), first in assists (22.8 APG) with a flowing offense hitting the century mark on three separate occasions. They overcame home-and-away defeats to Ventspils in the opening group phase before reeling off five straight wins to finish the Second Round. Rookie Reid Travis had a 31-point outing and posted his first double-double in the most recent outing, while James Woodard is on a hot scoring streak for the German side.

Like Pinar Karsiyaka, the journey for U-BT Cluj Napoca began through the Qualifiers and they have gone on to rack up seven wins from seven at home. Three defeats have come on the road, while their first five games of the Second Round were all decided by at most, five points. Croatian big man Darko Planinic has been an influential figure with Patrick Richard and Kerron Johnson both handing out an average of 5+ assists per game having come up with big plays at key stages during the season.

Scoring leaders: Reid Travis - 14.8 PPG; Darko Planinic - 16.9 PPG
Rebounding leaders: Reid Travis - 5.8 RPG; Karlo Zganec - 5.8 RPG
Assists leaders: James Robinson - 5.4 APG; Kerron Johnson - 5.8 APG