The Spanish ACB becomes the third major professional basketball league in Europe after the German easycredit BBL and Israeli Winner League to resume operations in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
The ACB decided last month that a 12-team tournament that will feature the league’s Top 12 teams before the suspension of the season will complete Spain’s 2019-20 season. The tournament will be held in Valencia with a total of 33 games that will be played. The league has set the date July 31, 2020, as the date of completion of the Spanish basketball season.
The playoffs will begin on June 17, 2020, with three games booked for the date. Here are our previews for Wednesday’s matches:
Baskonia carried a record of 12-11 with a point differential of +40 when the ACB season was suspended. They ranked 8th in the Spanish team standings and they look to keep the ball rolling as they won five straight games when play was paused.
The team is averaging 83.7 points per game while shooting the ball at a 56.5% clip this season. Baskonia’s defense allowed an average of 82 points per game while holding their opponents to 51.9% field goal shooting. Baskonia is also shooting 33.8% from the three-point area and 74% from the foul line.
Tornike Shengelia leads the team with 15.9 points per game while also averaging 2.9 assists per contest. Shavon Shields is contributing 9.8 points and 3.5 rebounds. Semaj Christon leads the team with 3.7 assists while also scoring 9.1 points per game. Former NBA player Nik Stauskas is putting up 9.0 points and a team-high 1.7 three-pointers made per game.
Bilbao was ranked 5th in the Spanish league when play was halted. Bilbao had a record of 14-9 with a point differential of -2. The team split its last six games and is looking to start the tournament on a high note against a lower-ranked opponent.
Bilbao is scoring an average of 82.9 points per game and they are making 53.2% of their shot attempts. Defensively, the team is holding down its opponents to an average of 83 points per game while allowing them to shoot just 46.9% from the floor. Bilbao is making 34.2% of its three-point baskets and they are pulling down a total of 33.9 rebounds per game.
Alex Bouteille leads the team in scoring at 17.5 points per game and he is making a team-high 2.4 three-pointers per game at a 47.9% accuracy rate. Ondrej Balvin leads the team in rebounding with 7.4 per game while also scoring 8.6 points per contest. Jonathan Rousselle and Thomas Schreiner have combined to average of 7.6 assists per outing.
Baskonia has won six out of their last seven head to head showdowns with Bilbao however, the latter won their last meeting in October 2019. Bilbao was feast or famine just before the break while Baskonia was on a terrific run. If their forms hold, then Bilbao will have a hard time matching Baskonia’s energy. Baskonia simply has too many weapons to win this game.
PREDICTION: BASKONIA (-384)
Joventut was the final team included in the tournament. They ranked 12th in the ACB standings before the suspension of play with 9 wins and 14 losses with a point differential of -84 points. Joventut heads to this match having lost five out of their last seven assignments.
Joventut Badalona is averaging 67.3 points per game and shooting the ball at a 40.2% clip. They are allowing their opponents to score an average of 81.6 points per game and shoot 54.5% from the field. Joventut is just a 30.6% shooter from deep and 80.3% from the free-throw line.
Kremen Prepelic leads the team in scoring at 17.0 points per game and he is also making 2.0 three-pointers per contest. Alen Omic is averaging 11.1 points per game and grabbing a team-high 6.5 rebounds per outing. Meanwhile, Prepelic and Nenad Dimitrijevic are averaging 3.9 assists per game each for Joventut.
FC Barcelona Lassa is the team on top of the Spanish ACB standings. Barcelona posted a league-best 19-4 record with a point differential of +194. Barca was rolling with a six-game winning streak when play was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Barcelona is shooting the ball at a high 57.7% clip and averaging 88.7 points per game. They are giving up an average of 80.3 points per game and are allowing their opponents to shoot the ball at a 54.5% clip. Barca is shooting the three-ball at a 34.4% accuracy and they are also making 78.6% of their free-throw attempts.
The team is led by former NBA star Nikola Mirotic who is scoring 19.6 points per game while also grabbing 6.9 boards per contest. Corey Higgins and Malcolm Delaney are the other double-digit scorers in the team at 12.4 and 10.2 points per game, respectively. Delaney also leads the team in passing at 4.9 assists per contest.
Barcelona has won the last three head to head meetings against Joventut including their first meeting of the season last December and they have won the games by an average winning margin of 20.6 points per game. Barcelona is a prolific scoring team led by Mirotic and Joventut gave up 97 points against Unicaja in their last outing. If they can’t put the clamps on Barca’s scoring early, this is going to be a blowout win.
PREDICTION: Barcelona but since the price is too steep, go with the over 168 at (-113) because Barcelona’s games have averaged 168.7 points per game this season.
Unicaja is the 8th ranked team in this tournament and they head to this game with a record of 12-11 and a point differential of +25. Before the season went into a hiatus, Unicaja split their last six assignments and they need a win here to get going.
The team is scoring an average of 79.3 points per game while shooting the ball at a 50.2 clip. Unicaja is allowing opponents to shoot 54.7% from the floor and score 78.2 points per contest. They are hitting the three-ball at a 33.9% accuracy and are 78.6 from the foul line. Unicaja is also grabbing 32 rebounds per game.
Dario Brizuela leads a trio of double-digit scorers with 12.3 points per game. Josh Adams is hitting 1.9 three-point baskets per game while scoring 11.5 points per contest while Deon Thompson is putting up 10.7 points per outing. Carlos Suarez leads the team in rebounding at 5.0 boards grabbed per game while also scoring 6.9 points per night.
Tenerife had the 4th best record in the Spanish ACB when the league went into a hiatus. Tenerife posted a 14-8 mark with a point differential of +66. The team won just half of their last six games heading to this contest.
Tenerife is putting up 81.9 points per outing and shooting the ball at a 51.9% shooting clip. They are allowing their opponents to shoot 52.5% of their baskets while conceding a total of 78.9 points per game. Tenerife is also shooting 35.1% from behind the three-point arc and 80% from the foul line.
Giorgi Shermadini leads Tenerife in scoring at 18.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game while Marcelo Huertas is putting up 13.1 points and issuing 8.0 assists per contest. Former NBA veteran Kyle Singler is scoring 12.0 points per game as the team’s third scoring option. Sasu Salin is the top three-point threat with 2.2 trifectas per game.
Tenerife has taken five out of their last eight meetings against Unicaja, including their first meeting of the season last September 2019. You can’t pick this game based on their forms because these teams posted identical 3-3 records in their last six games played. But Tenerife has the deeper team here and they have displayed the better offense between these two teams. Unicaja’s defense has given up 90 or more points in three out of their last four games. I don’t think they can defend Tenerife’s depth.
PREDICTION: TENERIFE (-132)
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.