The arrival of Dusko Ivanovic as Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade head coach has seen an immediate upturn in results, with the team going 3-0 in the 65-year-old's first three games on the bench.
Can Zvezda keep improved form going against Virtus?
Zvezda has scored an average of 76.0 points per game and given up an average of 73.0 points per night with Coach Ivanovic on the bench. Yet, looking at the season as a whole, Zvezda has a negative average, as it is scoring 72.7 points on the offensive end and allowing 78.2 points defensively. Therefore, Coach Ivanovic's focus on improving the team's defensive output has so far paid dividends.
With Virtus Segafredo Bologna set to visit Aleksandar Nikolic Hall on Friday evening, it will pit the third-best defense in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague against the team currently ranked seventh on defense. However, simply going by the 73.0 points given up on average under Coach Ivanovic, Zvezda would be the best defensive team in the league.
Virtus has increased its scoring in the last three games, scoring 89, 85 and 80 points against Valencia Basket, Panathinaikos Athens and Anadolu Efes Istanbul, respectively. The frustration for head coach Sergio Scariolo will be that his team was able to beat Valencia – winning by 30 points – but ended up suffering narrow defeats to Panathinaikos (88-85) and Efes (80-85).
There has been plenty of discussion in the European basketball community about the way in which Zvezda has drastically improved with Coach Ivanovic at the helm, yet Virtus and Coach Scariolo will be determined to bring the hosts' spell of good form to an end and get back to winning ways themselves.