Maccabi's Sofoklis Schortsanitis (R) and Yogev Ohayon (L) 37.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
With its Euroleague Top 16 group being officially set over the weekend, Maccabi
Tel Aviv will be looking to turn its focus back to local affairs this week,
starting with Sunday’s State Cup last 16 encounter against Maccabi Ashdod at
Maccabi ended Euroleague regular season Group D in first
place with an 8-2 record thanks to Thursday’s easier-than-expected 68-55 victory
over Panathinaikos in Athens.
After its impressive regular-season run,
Maccabi will be confident of reaching the quarterfinals by finishing in the
top-four of Top 16 Group F. Real Madrid, which was one of just two teams to go
10-0 in the regular season, and CSKA Moscow, that ended Group A in second place
at 7-3, are expected to be Maccabi’s main rivals for a top two finish, which
would also give it homecourt advantage in the last eight.
four teams to progress to the quarterfinals, Maccabi will be optimistic of its
chances of at least finishing in third or fourth place, with Lokomotiv Kuban
(6-4), Galatasaray (6-4), Zalgiris Kaunas (5-5), Bayern Munich (4-6) and
Partizan Belgrade (3-7) the yellow-andblue’s remaining opponents in Group
Maccabi will begin the Top 16 at Galatasaray in Turkey next Thursday
or Friday and will play its 14th and final group game against CSKA Moscow at
Nokia Arena on April 10.
In the meantime, Tel Aviv will look to carry its
recent momentum into the State Cup, with Maccabi a firm favorite to beat the
struggling Ashdod on Sunday and secure its progress to Thursday’s
There will be two more all-BSL showdowns on Sunday, with
Bnei Herzliya hosting Hapoel Holon and Ironi Ness Ziona welcoming Hapoel Tel
After taking sole possession of first place in the BSL with
Friday’s 82-75 win at Maccabi Haifa, Hapoel Jerusalem will hope to recover in
time for its visit of Hapoel Galil Elyon of the second division on
Jerusalem improved to an 8-3 record with its eighth win in nine
league games, with Yotam Halperin scoring 16 points and Lior Eliyahu, Derwin
Kitchen and Ronald Dupree adding 14 points each.
Donta Smith had 24
points for Haifa, which has lost four of five BSL games.
Elitzur Ramle vs. Hapoel Gilboa/Galil, Hapoel Afula vs. Maccabi Rishon Lezion
and Maccabi Be’er Ya’akov vs.
Ramat Hasharon, Hapoel Eilat hosts Maccabi
Haifa on Monday.