Round 14 Preview: Maccabi at Zenit
Round 14 Preview: Maccabi at Zenit

Maccabi at Zenit

Date: 12/17
Time: 6:00 PM CET

Game Preview

Two teams going in different directions will square off in the first game of Round 14, as a Zenit team that has won only once since Round 5 hosts a Maccabi squad that lost just twice over the last 11 Rounds. Maccabi has been hit hard by injuries the last couple weeks, but that has not stopped them from rattling off three wins in a row. Leading the way has been Scottie Wilbeikin, who is averaging nearly four more points per game than he put up last season. Zenit has dealt with some injuries of its own, but they have been unable to match the success of their counterparts, and are currently tied for last place. Zenit could contend Tuesday if the team's balanced attack is clicking, but they will have their work cut out for them against a Maccabi team that is outscoring its opponents by 10.4 points on a per-game basis – the best mark in the league.

Injuries

Zenit Saint Petersburg

Mateusz Ponitka - OUT - Concussion

12/7 10:52 PM IST - Ponitka will miss up to three weeks with a concussion, according to Zenit's official Twitter account. Ponitka missed Rounds 9 and 10 due to injury, and he is now facing his second multi-game absence of the season. Ponitka has been a regular in Zenit's rotation this season, so his absence will open up opportunities for some of his teammates.

Evgeny Voronov - GTD - Nose

12/4 8:33 PM IST - Zenit St. Petersburg announced Wednesday that Voronov would be sidelined for 10-to-14 days with a broken nose, Eurohoops.net reports. Voronov suffered the injury in a domestic league game Tuesday and looks set to miss at least the Russian club's Round 12 and 13 EuroLeague contests while he recovers. The Zenit St. Petersburg captain may require a mask to offer further protection to his face once he returns to EuroLeague action, likely no sooner than Dec. 17 versus Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Andrey Zubkov - OUT - Thigh

10/7 10:41 PM IST - Zubkov will be out several months after injuring his thigh in Zenit's Round 1 loss to ALBA Berlin, according to euroleague.net. A timetable for Zubkov's return has not been established just yet, but he is facing a lengthy recovery period, and it's possible he does not take the court again until 2020. Zubkov did open the season with a spot in Zenit's rotation, so his absence figures to open up opportunities for some of his teammates.

Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv

Tarik Black - OUT - Knee

12/16 9:17 PM IST - Black (knee) has been ruled out for Tuesday's Round 14 matchup with Zenit Saint Petersburg, Yiannis Bouranis of TalkBasket.net reports. Black is still managing a sore knee and will be withheld from the second straight EuroLeague match as a result. Othello Hunter is expected to fill in for Black as Maccabi's primary option at center for at least one more game. Black's next chance to play will arrive Thursday, when Maccabi takes on Panathinaikos.

Omri Casspi - OUT - Knee

12/8 11:01 PM IST - Casspi (knee) will miss an additional two weeks, teamscout.net reports. In unfortunate news for Maccabi Tel Aviv, Casspi will likely be sidelined through Round 15. The veteran forward's averaging 12.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 21.2 minutes per game this season. Quincy Acy and Jake Cohen figure to see boosted role for as long as Casspi remains out.

John Dibartolomeo - OUT - Pectoral

12/6 9:04 PM IST - Dibartolomeo is expected to miss up to six months with a torn mectoral muscle suffered in Thursday's victory over Bayern Munich, according to Maccabi's official website. Dibartolomeo's timeline all but rules him out for the season, and will leave Maccabi without its captain and dependable guard off the bench. His absence – coupled with that of fellow guard Nate Wolters (hip) – figures to open up opportunities for youngsters Yovel Zoosman, Elijah Bryant, and Deni Avdija.

Aaron Jackson - OUT - Personal

12/16 9:06 PM IST - Jackson agreed in principle to a one-year contract with Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv on Monday, Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops.net reports. The 33-year-old guard had been playing in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Zhejiang Lions, but he'll head to the third EuroLeague club of his playing career after he agreed to terminate his contract with the CBA squad. Jackson has returned to the United States to witness the birth of his child, so he's not expected to make his Maccabi debut until at least next week. He'll provide a boost to a Maccabi backcourt that's been missing Nate Wolters (hip) and John DiBartolomeo (pectoral) due to injury.

Nate Wolters - OUT - Hip

12/6 8:58 PM IST - Wolters is expected to miss six weeks with a hip injury suffered in Thursday's victory over Bayern Munich, according to Maccabi's official website. Wolters' timeline rules him out for the rest of 2019, and will force Maccabi to replace a player who has started every EuroLeague game from Round 2 onward. With Wolters out a while, and fellow guard John Dibartolomeo (pectoral) likely done for the season, expect Maccabi's younger guards – Yovel Zoosman, Elijah Bryant, and Deni Avdija – to get more opportunities to show what they can do.

Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv Probable Starters

G - Scottie Wilbekin
G - Yovel Zoosman
F - Angelo Caloiaro
F - Quincy Acy
C - Othello Hunter

Zenit Saint Petersburg Probable Starters

G - Alex Renfroe
G - Austin Hollins
F - Anton Ponkrashov
F - Will Thomas
C - Colton Iverson

Top Picks

(Captain) Scottie Wilbekin, MTA - Wilbekin has been pouring in points all season, scoring in double figures in all but two Rounds. With several teammates out in Round 13 he got involved in other areas as well, setting or tying season highs in all of rebounds, assists, and steals. All the same teammates will be out in Round 14, so it should be another big night for Wilbekin. 

Gustavo Ayon, ZEN - Ayon was a quiet in Zenit's last EuroLeague game, scoring his fewest points in a game since Round 1, but he was on a roll before that, scoring in double figures nine times over a 10-game span. Ayon ranks 11th in the league with 5.7 rebounds per game, and he has double-double potential, registering double digits in both the points and rebounds columns in the same game twice this season.

Othello Hunter, MTA - Hunter has been productive more often than not this season, but he was at his best in Round 13 with fellow big man Tarik Black sidelined, scoring a season-high 20 points and chipping in seven rebounds. Hunter was on the court for a season-high 34 minutes his last time out, and big things should be in store for him again in Round 14 with Black out again.

Elijah Bryant, MTA - Maccabi lost two veteran guards to injury in Round 12, but the team did not feel their loss in Round 13, as a slew of promising replacements, including Bryant, stepped up and helped knock off the reigning league champions, CSKA. Neither of the veterans is returning anytime soon, and two other starters will sit out Tuesday, so conditions will be promising for another strong showing from Bryant.

Captaincy Options

  1. Scottie Wilbekin
  2. Gustavo Ayon
  3. Othello Hunter

Dream11 Team

Wilbekin, Bryant, Zoosman, Thomas, Ayon, Renfroe, Abromaitis, Hunter

Grand League Combination

Wilbekin, Ayon, Hunter, Bryant

Small League Combination

Wilbekin, Ayon, Hunter, Renfroe

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Kevin O'Brien plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: kevob100, DraftKings: kevob100.
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Kevin O'Brien
Kevin mans the Packers and Brewers beats and moonlights as RotoWire's Director of Operations.
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