Grounded On the Road
BBC Bayreuth vs. Bayern Basketball Preview
Audi Dome, Munich, April 20 – One could not help but ask the FC Bayern Basketball coach and players about Sunday’s huge win against the Brose Baskets. But the answers were the same as center Jared Homan’s.
“It’s a good win, something you remember for awhile,” recalled Homan. “But you have to put it behind you. We got a big game on the road, it’s going to be tough against a team that has nothing to lose.”
Bayern will have one final dress rehearsal on the road before they head to the playoffs. They travel to northern Bavaria to take on BBC Bayreuth Saturday night at Oberfrankenhalle. Tip-off at 20:00 CET.
Sport Eagle will have Salman Mitha tweeting live during the game, follow him @Sal_SportEagle for insight and analysis.
“They are a very talented group,” warned Bayern head coach Dirk Bauermann. “(Brandon) Hunter will be back after their suspension, it’s their last home game. They will play loose and a lot of motivation, that makes them really dangerous.”
Munich are in the playoffs because of their superb home record, 15-1. But their performance away from the Audi Dome is the one blemish that stands out at 5-11. That is the difference between home court advantage in the playoffs, but they have recovered over the past weeks.
“We’ve won four of the last games on the road,” Bauermann reminded Sport Eagle. “We feel good about our chances winning on the road, it will be a question of mental toughness and maturity.”
Those two factors, and contributions from the bench will be huge for Bayern Saturday night and on the road in the playoffs. Over the past games, key shots and contributions from reserves led by Jonathan Wallace and Robin Benzing have been the difference. In the past 9 games, FCB are 8-1. Wallace is averaging 14.6 points per game in the wins, only getting two points in the blowout loss in Berlin. He’s hit 93% of his free throws during the stretch, including his last 30 (!), making him the clutch player at the end of games.
“In the past few games, the starting 5 has gone off to a good start. They will get tired,” explained the shooting guard from Alabama, USA. “It’s up to us to match the energy.”
“The starters can’t win the game themselves,” agreed Benzing, who’s averaging 9 ppg and 5.5 rpg in the past five wins. “They will need a boost from the bench when things are not going well, and we come in to hold the intensity and quality.”
BBC will be looking for a signature win to end their home schedule, and as they head to Bamberg next week, this is their last chance to taste victory this season. The game has been sold out for weeks now and their head coach hopes that makes the difference.
“I’m hoping the atmosphere will motivate the players to get started right away,” said Marco van den Berg. “We cannot rely on our long-range shooting, we have to be aggressive inside as well. We will have to keep an eye on their big men underneath Homan and (Chevon) Troutman and not let them run over us.”
Check out highlights of the first time FCB and BBC played this season.
On December 29th, BBC jumped out to an 8-0 lead and won the first quarter, but Bayern were able to get back and take over the game, thanks to captain Steffen Hamann’s 22 points. Benzing added 15 in a rare start. Bayreuth were led by Osvaldo Jeanty’s 16 points.
Bayern Playoff Tickets Now on Sale – The dates and the opponent are not yet known, but if you want to experience basketball at it’s highest level in Germany, get your tickets as soon as possible. The Audi Dome was pretty much sold out the second half of the season as Bayern Basketball played teams in the top half of the table. The first round is a best-of-five and the games alternate, so Munich will play at least one home game for sure.
Visit http://bit.ly/sefcbplayevent to order your tickets.
Playoff Scramble – Other teams in the Beko BBL will also be playing important games, to get the final two playoff spots or stay in the league. Here are some scenarios to keep an eye on over the weekend:
ratiopharm ulm will hope a win at home versus TBB Trier and a loss by Berlin at Bamberg will get them back to second place… Artland will secure the 4th seed and home-court in the first round with a win at Bremerhaven and damage the Eisbären’s (Polar Bears) playoffs dreams…. FRAPORT SKYLINERS will clinch a berth in the postseason with a win at home against WALTER Tigers Tübingen… Telekom Baskets Bonn look to climb back into playoff picture with a win at Giessen and hope Braunschweig or Oldenburg damage each other’s playoff chances… and finally the relegation battle takes center stage when BG Göttingen and Phoenix Hagen face off. BG will be relegated with only four wins, but Hagen need a win and hope ENBW Ludwigsburg lose to s.Oliver Baskets, along with losses by Trier or Giessen. Still a lot to be decided and it may go down to the final day.