Week 3. Preview 26  october  2013

VTB United League
Eight Week 3 regular-season games to be played on Sunday.
Sunday, October 27

Azovmash – CSKA
Time: 14:00 (16:00 MSK)
Place: SC Azovmash, Mariupol, Ukraine
TV: Sport 1 (Ukraine), Sport 2 (Ukraine), VTB-League.com
Stats: VTB-League.com preview
Azovmash: The Ukrainian club has gotten off to a shaky start. A road win in overtime over Neptunas was followed up by a loss at home to VEF. It’s to be expected, though, given the significant roster changes. Azovmash is still just searching for its game, making it unlikely they’ll be able to pull off a miracle against the reigning League champions. But the CSKA encounter will be a good opportunity to test the roster and try out new combinations and plays.
CSKA: The Army Men are also far from their best. But the team’s collection of outstanding individual players allows them to overcome most complications in the VTB United League. The visit to Mariupol shouldn’t be any different. The Red and Blues will come for a win and should get it. They not only have more talent, but also a psychological advantage, winning their five previous encounters with Azovmash.

Lietuvos Rytas – UNICS
Time: 14:00 (16:00 MSK)
Place: Siemens Arena, Vilnius, Lithuania
TV: Rossiya 2 (Russia), Lietuvos Rytas TV (Lithuania), VTB-League.com
Stats: VTB-League.com preview
Lietuvos Rytas: The Lithuanian team has been making noise in Europe, qualifying handily for the Euroleague, then knocking off Panathinaikos just over a week ago. In the VTB United League, meanwhile, they’re undefeated atop Group A, with wins over Nizhny Novgorod and Lokomotiv-Kuban. A win against UNICS, also 2-0, would make for an excellent statement early in the season. For this Lietuvos Rytas squad, it’s entirely possible.
UNICS: Many were impressed by the team’s offseason acquisitions. Now it’s time to impress on the court. UNICS has looked vulnerable thus far, allowing Turow and Enisey to hang around in home games. A visit now to Vilnius against a fellow Group A contender will help us figure out what the team is really made of.

Nymburk – Turow
Time: 16:00 (19:00 MSK)
Place: Tipsport Arena Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
TV: TV Nova Sport (Czech Republic), TVP (Poland), VTB-League.com
Stats: VTB-League.com preview
Nymburk: The Czech club debuts at home in the VTB United League with a game against Turow. The game is winnable, with perhaps the biggest question marks hidden inside the team. So far, it’s been a mixed bag from Kestutis Kemzura’s men. The Czechs knocked off Kalev without their top players, then lost in Donetsk when they had everyone available. That’s what makes it difficult to predict the outcome against Turow.
Turow: The Polish league runners-up are in a similar predicament. Turow, like its opponent in this Eastern European derby, opened the season with a loss to a top team and a win over a fellow contender for a playoff spot. The club shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially by Nymburk, who’s still trying to find its feet.

Astana – Krasnye Krylia
Time: 17:00 (15:00 MSK)
Place: SC Velotrek, Astana, Kazakhstan
TV: KAZ Sport (Kazakhstan), VTB-League.com
Stats: VTB-League.com preview
Astana: Matteo Boniciolli’s squad has played well so far this fall. They knocked off Triumph in convincing fashion, before a competitive loss to CSKA. The fans are excited about their chances, especially with Krylia coming to Astana, where the club is notoriously difficult to beat.
Krasnye Krylia: They won their first game of the season last week, which has certainly been a big boost to the team’s confidence. More importantly, the fans can see visible improvement from Sergei Bazarevich’s men. Compared to their Week 1 loss, Samara looked better both as a team and individually. If that progress continues in Astana, Krasnye Krylia could pull off a minor upset.

Khimki – Neptunas
Time: 17:00 (17:00 MSK)
Place: BCMO, Khimki, Russia
TV: Sport 1 (Lithuania); VTB-League.com
Stats: VTB-League.com preview
Khimki: Losing centers Kresimir Loncar and Paul Davis to injury was a major blow to the Moscow Region squad. They may still have the talent to get by less-gifted opponents, but they’re far from last season’s excellence. Rimas Kurtinaitis and co. are technically favorites. It’s impossible, though, to guarantee a victory right now.
Neptunas: The Baltic club is looking competitive to start the season. There’s just one problem – they haven’t learned how to close out games. After losing to Azovmash in overtime, Neptunas lost three more games by 1-2 points (including two in the Eurocup). A streak like that can wear on a team psychologically, and they’ll be anxious to finally put up a win, even if the odds are stacked against them in Khimki.

Kalev – Donetsk
Time: 17:00 (19:00 MSK)
Place: Saku Suurhall, Tallinn, Estonia
TV: SA Tallinna Televisioon (Estonia), Sport 1 (Ukraine), Sport 2 (Ukraine), VTB-League.com
Stats: VTB-League.com preview
Kalev: Three losses to start the season put Kalev in an uncomfortable position. They need to get a win now or risk being stuck at the bottom of the standings. Donetsk may be undefeated, but Kalev are hoping they can stop them in their tracks.
Donetsk: Unlike their opponent, Donetsk got off to an excellent start. The Tigers have been winning, both in the VTB United League and in the Ukrainian league. Riding a wave of optimism, Donetsk heads to Tallinn, where they hope to stay atop Group A with a win. The biggest factor to overcome will be the travel. The team has yet to play outside of Ukraine this season.

Triumph – Krasny Oktyabr
Time: 18:00 (18:00 MSK)
Place: Triumph Sports Palace, Lyubertsy, Russia
TV: VTB-League.com
Stats: VTB-League.com preview
Triumph: The Moscow Region team are among the league’s biggest underachievers thus far. It’s not so much their lack of wins, either, as it is the quality of their play. It’s evidently been difficult to overcome the departure of several team leaders this summer. Facing league newcomers Krasny Oktyabr, Triumph are in for another test. The team’s fans need to hope that Vasily Karasev has managed to restore discipline on the court and patch the holes in defense.
Krasny Oktyabr: Volgograd has every chance of picking up another road win. In a match-up of run-and-gun philosophies, the Steelmen will have an advantage thanks to superior individual talent. The game could turn into a battle of individual duels (Culpepper – Higgins, Deane – Kulagin, Fletcher – Rakovic) with an unpredictable outcome.

Nizhny Novgorod – Lokomotiv-Kuban
Time: 18:00 (18:00 MSK)
Place: Nizhny Novgorod Trade Union Sports Palace, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
TV: Sport (Russia), VTB-League.com
Stats: VTB-League.com preview
Nizhny Novgorod: The Volga club has struggled with consistency, which brings an element of unpredictability to this encounter. Zoran Lukic’s team is capable of playing even with Lokomotiv-Kuban and you can guarantee they’ll make life difficult for the expected favorites.
Lokomotiv-Kuban: The loss last week to Lietuvos Rytas took Lokomotiv by surprise. Evgeny Pashutin’s men want to finish first in the group, and two losses in a row are not acceptable. The Railwaymen need a win in Nizhny Novgorod and Thursday night’s bounce-back win against Rytas in the Euroleague has evaporated any doubts about the club’s current condition.

One Week 3 game was already played on October 10, VEF 83-89 Tsmoki-Minsk, while the final Week 3 game will be held on December 22, Spartak – Enisey.
Source http://www.vtb-league.com/en/news/week-3-preview.htm