Required Viewing: October 13-14

Required Viewing: October 13-14

Five regular season games are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, October 13

Tsmoki-Minsk Belarus vs. Astana Kazakhstan

Time: 5:00 PM (5:00 MSK)
Place: Minsk Arena, Minsk, Belarus

Tsmoki-Minsk: Minsk fell to VTB United League newcomers Zielona Gora in the season opener and will try to bounce back in the upcoming home game. Aliaksandr Krutsikau pointed to excessive turnovers and the opponent’s physical defense as the reasons for the early setback. Indeed, offense was Tsmoki’s biggest problem last season: The Dragons finished last in the League with an average 74.7 points per game.

Astana: The Kazakh club faced the season’s biggest favorite–CSKA Moscow–in Week 1 and had no answer for the Army Men’s 17-0 run in the 3rd quarter of the loss. But the outcome was not surprising. Saturday’s game will be a much better test of Astana’s preparation to start the season. The recent addition of Michael Jenkins should give the offense a boost. The American guard won the FIBA Europe Cup last season with Venezia Italy.

CSKA Russia vs. Nizhny Novgorod Russia

Time: 6:00 PM (6:00 MSK)
Place: USH CSKA, Moscow, Russia
TV:, Match! Nash Sport

CSKA: The Army Men are playing an NBA-esque schedule to start the season with three League games in nine days, plus a meeting with Barcelona in the EuroLeague. This team is extremely deep, but four games in a week would test any roster. In addition to securing a valuable win vs. Barcelona, the contest was notable for Ivan Ukhov’s EuroLeague debut. The Russian youngster has looked terrific early in the season for CSKA and could be a key member of the rotation going forward.

Nizhny Novgorod: Though Nizhny’s schedule has been much easier, the outcomes couldn’t be more opposite. The Volga club was whipped at home by Kalev and Maxim Grigoryev was forced to leave with a serious injury. A few days later, Nizhny’s Champions League debut ended in a double overtime loss to Avellino. The roster is in poor shape: Grigoryev is out for at least six months and Chris Czerapowicz and Ivan Strebkov both remain on the disabled list, leaving Zoran Lukic with limited options.

Sunday, October 14

Enisey Russia vs. PARMA Russia

Time: 4:00 PM (12:00 MSK)
Place: Arena Sever, Kranoyarsk, Russia
TV:, Match! Nash Sport

Enisey: Krasnoyarsk lost big twice to open the season, but both defeats came against powerhouses CSKA and Khimki. Enisey was completely outrebounded in both games, averaging only 32 boards per outing. That’s a concern vs. a PARMA team that ripped down 46 rebounds in a win over VEF.

PARMA: Last season, Codi Miller-McIntyre set the tone for Perm with his accurate passing and high-energy approach. This season, the X-factor could be PARMA’s powerful frontcourt. Newcomer Rashard Kelly recorded a double-double in his debut (15 points, 11 rebounds) and made several nice plays on defense. PARMA needs to take the same approach vs. Enisey, especially given their struggles on offense. There’s little chance the visitors take this game lightly: The team needs more time to gel and was fortunate to escape Riga with a win, thanks in part to VEF’s shaky free-throw shooting down the stretch.

Khimki Russia – Kalev Estonia

Time: 3:00 PM (3:00 MSK)
Place: BCMO, Khimki, Russia

Khimki: Khimki’s 12-game winning streak vs. Kalev came to an end last season as Tallinn enjoyed a stunning win despite playing without star Isaiah Briscoe. The American guard has since left for the NBA, but Khimki would be wise to take this game seriously. Kalev forward Ivan Almeida could be one of this season’s breakout stars.

Khimki is playing at a high level to open the season, displaying up-tempo, efficient basketball. At the same time, the approach demands a lot of energy, which could be a factor considering the Russians play Olympiacos in the EuroLeague on Friday night.

Kalev: Tallinn’s win in Nizhny Novgorod was a revelation for many, while Ivan Almeida made a case for best performance of the month with his 36-point, nine-rebound outburst. But now the Estonians face a much bigger challenge in Khimki: Georgios Bartzokas’ men have only conceded 134 points in their first two games.

UNICS Russia – Lokomotiv-Kuban Russia

Time: 6:00 PM (6:00 MSK)
Place: Basket Hall, Kazan, Russia
TV: Match! Nash Sport,

UNICS: Two of the season’s primary contenders meet in the Game of the Week. These clubs are also gunning for EuroCup titles and have displayed exemplary defense early in the year. UNICS gave up just 63 points to Avtodor and 73 to Lietuvos Rytas. Don’t expect many fireworks on offense, given these teams tend to average about 70 points per game in head-to-head meetings. The frontcourt matchup should be fascinating: Both Maurice Ndour and Loko’s big men are off to terrific starts.

Lokomotiv-Kuban: Even though Loko holds a 13-9 edge in the all-time series, the Railwaymen have gone more than a year without a win (the last victory came in May 2017 when Evgeny Pashutin still coached in Kazan). Sasa Obradovic has yet to figure out Dimitris Priftis, but gets another opportunity on Sunday. Loko has been on fire to start the season, crushing another Big 5 club in Zenit, before taking down Limoges in the EuroCup. The team’s new additions have quickly adjusted, especially the big men. JaJuan Johnson and Mustapha Fall were completely dominant in the EuroCup win.