Week 25 Preview

Six games are scheduled for Week 25 of the VTB United League regular season.

Sunday, March 13

Khimki (Russia) - UNICS (Russia)
3:00 PM (3:00 PM MSK)
Place: BCMO Sports Complex, Khimki, Russia
TV: Match TV (Russia), United League TV
Stats: VTB-League.com preview

Khimki: Two teams in need of a win meet in the Game of the Week on Sunday. Khimki and UNICS are both title contenders, but have slumped in recent weeks. Khimki is on a three-game skid, including two losses to teams outside the top-5. Moscow Region was also dealt a setback in the Euroleague this week, falling to Laboral Kutxa, significantly complicating the club's hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals. Rimas Kurtinaitis's need to protect their home court against UNICS and regain some momentum as the regular season enters the final stretch.

UNICS: Kazan has also struggled, losing to Zielona Gura and CSKA and struggling against VEF on the road. The White-Greens are still in 2nd place in the standings, but the calendar doesn't get any easier in the coming weeks, and 3rd-place Lokomotiv-Kuban is nipping at their heels.

Keith Langford gave UNICS a dramatic win in the first meeting between these clubs. Perhaps the superstar guard can step up again in Moscow Region.

Nizhny Novgorod (Russia) - Lokomotiv-Kuban (Russia)
4:00 PM (4:00 PM MSK)
Place: FOK Meshchersky, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
TV: United League TV
Stats: VTB-League.com preview

Nizhny Novgorod: After putting together a nice winning streak, Ainars Bagatskis's club stumbled in Volgograd, leading the coach to suggest that his team may have become a little complacent. There's little risk of that in Krasnodar on Sunday. Nizhny hasn't won on the road vs. Kuban since 2014, when Sergei Bazarevich was the Lokomotiv coach.

Lokomotiv-Kuban: Krasnodar has won 12 straight, including victories over CSKA and Khimki. The Railwaymen did lose to Fenerbahce in the Euroleague on Thursday, however, scoring just 52 in a three-point defeat. Against Nizhny, Kuban will try to get back on track and maintain its recent domination of Nizhny Novgorod (5-2 in the last seven meetings).

Astana (Kazakhstan) - Nymburk (Czech Republic)
4:00 PM (1:00 PM MSK)
Place: SC Zhastar, Karagandy, Kazakhstan
TV: KAZ Sport (Kazakhstan), TV Nova Sport (Czech Republic), United League TV
Stats: VTB-League.com preview

Astana: The Kazakh club's last win came on January 24 vs. Kalev, before a six-game skid dropped the club to 14th in the standings. Astana has also yet to beat Nymburk in league competition, dropping the first meeting this season by 18 points in the Czech Republic. On Sunday, Astana will host the visitors in Karagandy and hope for a big turnout from the local fans.

Nymburk: The Lions played Zenit close earlier in the week, but came up a little short in St. Petersburg. Despite leading Astana by six and a half games in the standings, playing in Kazakhstan is never easy. Nymburk still has an excellent chance to finish 6th in the league, but needs to win games like these to give itself a chance.

Avtodor (Russia) - Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus)
5:00 PM (5:00 PM MSK)
Place: Kristall Sports Palace, Saratov, Russia
TV: Belarus-5 (Belarus), United League TV
Stats: VTB-League.com preview

Avtodor: Places 6th through 8th in the standings are bunched up, making each game huge down the stretch. Saratov is close to clinching a postseason berth, but can't afford too many unexpected setbacks. Avtodor beat Tsmoki-Minsk on Thursday, dropping 106 points on the Belarusians in Minsk.

Tsmoki-Minsk: The loss to Saratov came at home, where the Dragons have struggled this season. Minsk isn't much better, however, on the road (4-6). Even worse, Avtodor's only losses in Saratov have come to CSKA, UNICS and Loko. Nonetheless, expect the Dragons to compete hard and make the home team work for every basket.

Enisey (Russia) - CSKA (Russia)
7:10 PM (3:10 PM MSK)
Place: Sports Palace, Krasnoyarsk, Russia
TV: Match! Nash sport (Russia), United League TV
Stats: VTB-League.com preview

Enisey: Krasnoyarsk enters the contest vs. the reigning champions on a two-game winning streak, having knocked off Vita and Bisons in recent weeks. But Enisey only has one win against a top-8 team this season, defeating Nizhny Novgorod. The Siberians have also struggled historically vs. CSKA, getting outscored by 20 points per game in seven meetings. Playing at home, Enisey will try to take advantage of a big crowd and CSKA's fatigue after flying across the continent on Saturday.

CSKA: The Red-Blues are coming off a tough overtime loss to Barcelona in the Euroleague. Given that the team is very good at bouncing back quickly from losses, the Krasnoyarsk Sports Palace fans are not very likely to witness a miracle upset.

Vita (Georgia) - Zenit (Russia)
8:45 PM (7:45 PM MSK)
Place: Tbilisi Sports Palace, Tbilisi, Georgia
TV: Silk TV Sport 3 (Georgia), United League TV
Stats: VTB-League.com preview

Vita: Last week, the Georgians played Enisey tough in Kutaisi. Zenit is next to visit, having scored over 100 points in its last two outings, a bad sign for the league's weakest defense (Vita gives up 97 points per game).

Zenit: Former Vita star Omar Thomas, who recently signed with Zenit, will not be returning to Tbilisi after suffering an injury in his Zenit debut. Instead, Vasily Karasev will lean on his backcourt of Ryan Toolson and Zabian Dowdell. The stategy has worked in recent outings, with Zenit going 4-1 in its last five.