Check out these bold predictions from EuroLeague.net staff members for Rounds 8 and 9 of the 2023-24 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season.
Bold predictions for Rounds 8 and 9
Valencia hands Real first loss
by Javier Gancedo
Real Madrid has been unstoppable until now, winning all of its EuroLeague and Spanish League games. There are reasons to believe Los Blancos could lose in Round 8. First, Valencia Basket has had a strong start to the season, too, winning 12 of 16 official games until now with a 7-1 record at La Fonteta. Valencia can expect a great partisan crowd, Brandon Davies is one of the players that gave Walter Tavares trouble in the past, and Stefan Jovic is an excellent defensive choice to use against red-hot Facu Campazzo. Valencia is a defensive-minded, physical team that can matchup really well against the reigning champions. Playing at home, head coach Alex Mumbru, himself a former Real Madrid player, can lead his squad to an important victory.
Hayes-Davis will play 80 minutes in two games
by Igor Petrinovic
Last week Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul forward Nigel Hayes-Davis played 39 minutes and 58 seconds in a road loss against Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade. He only stepped out of the game for the final 2 seconds of the third quarter. A week earlier, he played the entire 40 minutes at home against Olympiacos Piraeus. This week, Fenerbahce is back in the Serbian capital for two games, first at Stark Arena against Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet Belgrade on Tuesday, then at Aleksandar Nikolic Hall against Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv on Thursday. Head coach Dimitris Itoudis will still not have Dyshawn Pierre or Metecan Birsen available, and Marko Guduric is also questionable, which means Hayes-Davis is up for more heavy usage. He already leads the league in average minutes played this season (32:59), and I see him not getting one second of rest this double-round week as Fenerbahce faces a pair of tough tests away from home.
Partizan does the German double
by Frankie Sachs
Check the standings and you will see Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade in ninth place with a 3-4 record. This week that will change as head coach Zeljko Obradovic's men will storm into the top six with a road win at FC Bayern Munich and a home victory over ALBA Berlin. Bayern has lost four EuroLeague games in a row. It's the perfect time for a hungry Partizan side, in good spirits after outlasting Fenerbahce last week, to snag its first road win since Round 2. And then, on Friday, Partizan returns home to take on ALBA Berlin. Expect to start seeing Partizan's newest signing, Bruno Caboclo, making contributions this week, too. Remember, he was kryptonite against both Bayern and ALBA in last season's German League playoffs as he led Ulm to that title.
ASVEL will go perfect in the double-round week
by Geoff Gillingham
Ever since Gianmarco Pozzecco landed at LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne ahead of Round 5, the French side has shown a grit and determination that simply wasn't there in the first four rounds of the season. ASVEL is 1-2 so far in the Pozzecco era, having lost 84-87 to Virtus Segafredo Bologna and 80-70 to AS Monaco in Rounds 5 and 7, respectively, but it won 88-91 on the road at Zalgiris Kaunas in Round 6. Even in the Monaco defeat last Friday night, ASVEL's heaviest so far under Pozzecco, it was only a nightmarish three-minute spell on offense in the closing stages that allowed the principality side to pull away. In this double-round week, I expect ASVEL to not only get back on track but to win both of its games, as it travels to struggling ALBA Berlin in Round 8 on Wednesday before hosting Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in Round 9 on Friday. Pozzecco has changed the mindset of this team and I believe his group of warriors will improve the team's record to 3-6 heading into next weekend.
Efes will get its first road win
by Frank Lawlor
It's a tall order, visiting Monaco and Milan within 48 hours on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, but things seem to be coming together for Anadolu Efes Istanbul, and I think that process will pay off with a road victory this week. Yes, Efes lost its three previous away games by an average of 15.7 points. Yes they are challenged on defense, allowing a league-worst 2.0-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio to opponents. Nonetheless, with Will Clyburn looking hungry again, Derek Willis coming off his first double-double, and Darius Thompson ramping up his playmaking abilities, Efes is regaining the kind of balance that wins. Shane Larkin, Rodrigue Beaubois and Ante Zizic are givens while Tyrique Jones is quickly learning the ropes. Depth is an issue for Efes, especially with Elijah Bryant still out, but willingness is not. Getting back in the race with a road win is motivation enough for the former champions on this roster to lead their new teammates to an upset in the principality or the fashion capital this week.