Lokomotiv Kuban vs. CSKA Moscow / VTB League – Second-placed CSKA (13-2) will play the derby of VTB League with third-placed Lokomotiv (12-2), which they eliminated last season in the semi-final of play-off by maximal 3-0 in games. On the other hand, Lokomotiv won their first head-to-head this season in Moscow and with it put an end to four-game losing streak in games with CSKA. Begins: 14.02.2018 – 18:00 CET
Lokomotiv has almost completely changed the team compared to previous season that ended from them with elimination in the semi-final by CSKA. They play well this season but they lost two home games in the VTB League by leading Unics and Avtodor. Surprising defeat in previous round by Avtodor at home 90-93 has come after even 26 consecutive victories in the VTB League and EuroCup, in which Lokomotive won all 16 games of the first phase.
Their opponent in the quarter-finals will be Spanish Gran Canaria. Lokomotiv surprisingly won CSKA 90-79 in the 11th round, when D. Kulagin was the team’s best player with 17 points and 7 assists. Collins had scored 10 points in that game and had 8 assists and 7 rebounds. As a team Lokomotiv had even 22 assists, compared to CSKA’s mere 13. Last weekend Lokomotiv won the Russian Cup for the first time after 18 years. It won Nizhny Novogorod in the final by 85-64, and Kulagin was named the MVP of the Cup.
Probable lineups Lokomotiv Kuban: Kulagin, Babb, Collins, Broekhoff, Elegar
Having win/loss ratio 17-5 CSKA is leading team in the EuroLeague, in which it lost in previous round after five consecutive victories to Valencia 99-103. Excelent De Colo couldn’t help to avoid defeat despite his 30 points. Absence of Hunter and Hines was felt in Lokomotiv performances, who were injured. Both skipped Sunday’s away match in the VTB League with Belarusian Minsk-Tsmoki that CSKA lost 93-83. De Colo was the best player with 15 points then.
Perhaps coach Itoudis wanted to rest the two players for game with Lokomotiv as this away game could be the decisive on in the race for the first place at the end of regular season. At the moment Lokomotiv and Unics has the same number of wins but the Russian team has played one game more. If Lokomotiv losses their win/loss scores would be the same, although due to winning both their games Lokomotiv has better head-to-head score. Westermann has recovered and he recently joined the starting line-up but he still cannot play at 100% capacity.
Probable lineups CSKA: Rodriguez, De Colo, Clyburn, Vorontsevich, Kurbanov
Lokomotiv Kuban – CSKA Moscow PICK
Lokomotiv suffered its only two defeats this season in all three competitions (VTB, EuroCup and Russian Cup) in the VTB league and both times it happened in its arena. If it losses to CSKA even their fourth position would come under question as Zenit won just one game fewer. Our pick is handicap on Lokomotiv.
Pick: Lokomotiv +3.5
Odds: 1.85 at betvictor (down to 1.78 can be played)