OLIMPIA MILANO, ALERT FOR ETTORE MESSINA WITH VIRTUS BOLOGNA
Olimpia Milano-Virtus Bologna
The challenge between Olimpia Milano and Virtus Bologna is enriched by a new chapter, the fourth this season, the second in the league where Olimpia won away in Bologna by 22 points and by virtue of that result comes to this game first in the standings albeit with the same balance, 17-4, as the opposing team. Needless to add that the game will decide a large slice of first place at the end of the regular season even though then there will still be eight games to go and the detail in the last two years has then been lacking in playoff content (in 2021 Olimpia won the regular season but the scudetto went to Bologna; in 2022 the opposite happened). Olimpia is first in defense in seven statistical categories including points conceded, rating allowed, opponent's two-point shooting, rebounds and assists, but in its last three wins it has scored more than 91 points per game and also scored 87 in Madrid in the last round of the EuroLeague in which its winning streak was ended by Real Madrid at six. Virtus also lost, succumbing to Munich. Both teams have weighty absences to contend with. Olimpia is without Shavon Shields, Kevin Pangos and Devon Hall among the foreigners and without Gigi Datome and Paul Biligha among the Italians. For the first time this year in the league it will be played at a sold-out Mediolanum Forum, over 12,000 in attendance for a challenge that has been staged 19 times already in the past three years.
"We face the most offensively complete team in the league so we will have to be focused in every phase of the defensive game. On offense we will have to try to continue to be effective no matter what tactical choices we face. Obviously, as always in these kinds of games, aggressiveness, rebounding and attention to detail will be key," Mario Fioretti said on the eve of the game.