The season's first Italian derby will see Virtus (5-2) look for a return to winning ways after seeing its five-game winning run ended in Madrid, while Milan (2-5) needs last week's big win over Valencia to be the launching pad for a string of victories.
Luca Banchi, Virtus: 'Playing at home should give us that extra incentive'
The highlight matchup of the game comes between two classy power forwards who have registered the best average PIRs in the competition so far, Toko Shengelia (23.1 PIR) and Nikola Mirotic (24.7 PIR). Elsewhere, Milan's all-action Shavon Shields will look for a return to form after a rare bad night last week (0 points on 7 field goal attempts), while Virtus will run its backcourt through Isaia Cordinier, who averages more playing time (24:38) than anyone other than Shengelia.
Luca Banchi, Virtus head coach
"We're on the eve of this first EuroLeague derby and we're facing a team, Milan, just back from a wide success against Valencia, one of the revelations of this early season. The last defeat with Madrid must give us the impetus to seek redemption, regardless of the fact that we are experiencing an emergency condition: the absence of Achille Polonara persists and Jordan Mickey will be missing, this will offer further advantages to our opponents near the basket, where they can exploit particularly large quintets both to try to supply longs with continuity and then exploit them in rebounding. We have been preparing to try to contain certain aspects and try to direct the game to rhythms that are more congenial to us. Playing at home should give us that extra incentive so that we can achieve the feat and give our fans another satisfaction."
Ettore Messina, Milan head coach
"It is obviously a tough road game. Virtus has been able to find immediately the right balance around their veterans, Shengelia, Hackett and Belinelli. Their roster was changed, but the core group of players stayed almost intact. They are very good at balancing their inside and outside game. So, we know it is going to be a very difficult game, it is always tough in Bologna, no matter what."
Alessandro Pajola, Virtus player
"Milan is always a dangerous team, regardless of losing or winning. It is a well-equipped and very strong team. They didn't start the way they wanted, but we know they will come here to play their game. We will have to try to take advantage of the warmth of our fans to put as much energy on the court as possible."
Nicolo Melli, Milan player
"We have a lot of work to do and not much time; besides the opponent is playing with confidence and is a tough one, led by Toko Shengelia, who is playing at a very high level. However, playing this kind of challenging game can help us to bring out something that has not been taken out, so far."