Olimpia Milano leaves Turin. Messina: Just think of Brescia
The Coppa Italia, which will be ‘extended’ for a total of five days for the second year in a row, begins on Wednesday 15 February in Turin and it’s up to Olimpia to ‘christen’ them as number 1 of the draw. The Coppa Italia was “extended” for a total of five days. The second consecutive year begins in Turin on Wednesday 15 February and it’s up to Olimpia to ‘christen’ them as number 1 of the draw and repeat last year’s Pesaro experience. The opponent is Brescia, who reached the semi-finals last year. This year, however, the only precedent dates back to their debut game in the league more than four months ago. Olimpia, long behind, recovered and ran in the fourth quarter, only to suffer a furious comeback from Brescia, who were rejected at the siren of a block by Nicolò Melli for Kenny Gabriel. Olimpia defend the cup won in both Milan 2021 and Pesaro 2022. It has never won the Italian Cup three times in a row, but it has conquered it eight times in its history. In Turin, she won it in 1972, while she was eliminated by Avellino in 2011 and Siena in the 2012 semifinals. Needless to look beyond the quarterfinals. The Coppa Italia is a competition where mistakes are not allowed and you always have to be at your best. Brescia suffered numerous injuries during the season: point guard Troy Coupain is still out, John Petrucelli, an American substitute for Italy, has returned from some games, and center Michael Cobbins could return right in the game against Torino. Olimpia come to this Coppa Italia with five wins in a row, three in the league (Trento home, Trieste and Varese away) and two in the EuroLeague.
NOTE – It will be played on Wednesday February 15 at the Alpitour Arena in Turin, duel at 18:00, live on Eleven, DMax, Eurosport 2.
THE REFEREES – Saverio Lanzarini, Tolga Sahin, and Alessandro Perciavalle.
COACH ETTORE MESSINA – “We’re facing a competition that we’ve won in the last two years and we’d obviously love to win again, but as always in this type of tournament, all participants have a chance to go to the end. At the moment we’re not thinking about the Coppa Italia, only the game against Brescia, which got us into big trouble in the league, has talented and experienced players and the injuries are gradually healing. In knockout matches, it’s the little things that matter, like limiting turnovers, not allowing offensive rebounds, not allowing your opponent to go too far into the line, or making easy baskets in transition. We have to build our game on those little things.”
BRESCIA – With a 7-7 record, Brescia sits mid-table in the Eurocup playoff zone, a win away from fourth place that would give them the advantage of the field in the first round. In the Eurocup he won the last two games, away at Bourg and then at home against Cluj. Amedeo Della Valle is the eighth goalscorer in the competition at 15.8 points per game, sixth on average, while Kenny Gabriel is the ninth defensive rebounder and David Moss, despite shooting very little, currently ranks first in the three-point shooting Rating occupies 61.1%. In LaLiga, Brescia have lost their last six games, but it’s a streak warped by the calendar (they played in Varese and Bologna against a side in great form like Sassari) and losses. Three losses came within five points and one in six in Bologna, a game in which Brescia also led in the last quarter. Della Valle is the pointsman here too (16.1 points per game), fourth overall in fouls suffered (4.7) and then best in converting line trips to points (6.8 attempts per game, 93.6% completion). John Petrucelli was an outstanding performer before his injury (19.3 points per game with 53.8% of three). He’s been back for a few weeks. He also boasts an average of 1.5 steals, which confirms his qualities as a two-dimensional player. Forward Kenny Gabriel is a great shooter (36.2% from three to five attempts per game), brings 10.2 points per game, but most importantly 7.2 rebounds per game. He’s also one of the strongest defensive rebounders in the league (third with 6.1). The quintet’s playmaker is Slovenian Aleksey Nikolic, who started the season in Sassari and scored 7.3 points per game with 2.8 assists in exactly 20 minutes on the field. The guards rotation includes CJ Massinburg (9.6 points per game, 34.4% from three), veteran David Cournooh (8.9 points per game, 37.3% from three) and Tommaso Laquintana. At the small forward, Petrucelli’s alternative is David Moss, ten appearances in the starting XI averaging 2.8ppg in 13.4 minutes. In the long sector, alongside power forward Gabriel in center position, are Tai Odiase (9.2 points, 4.2 rebounds per game), a great athlete who’s also fourth in two-point shooting (63.6%), and Michael Cobbins (5, 1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game). The rotation is completed by Chris Burns (2.1 points and 2.2 rebounds per game) and Nicola Akele (3.4 points, 2.6 rebounds per game). The seventh foreigner is small forward Ryan Taylor.
PREVIOUS VS. BRESCIA – In history, Milan and Brescia have met 41 times, with 33 successes for Milan and eight for Brescia. Olimpia is 19-2 at home and 13-6 away. The record includes the semi-finals of the 2018 Super Cup, played in Brescia but should be considered a neutral venue, the result in favor of Olimpia 81-59; and the 2022 Italian Cup semi-finals won Olimpia again in Pesaro with a score of 69-63 (22 points were scored by Sergio Rodriguez). The teams met twice in the league playoffs. In the 1981/82 quarter-finals, the then Cidneo came from the A2 championship. Billy won his run to the Scudetto 2-1 but still lost in Brescia 78-71. In 2018, Olimpia eliminated Brescia in the Scudetto semifinals by a 3-1 win with two outfield wins with 24 points ahead of Mindaugas Kuzminskas in Game 4. Brescia’s only win was in Game 1 in Milan (85-82). Last year, the two teams shared championship battles and, as mentioned, Olimpia won the Coppa Italia. That year, Olimpia won 78-77 on the first day of the championship in Milan
THE BRESCIA LINK – Germani captain David Moss played in Milan for two years in the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons and won the 26th Scudetto, in 2014 he played with Olimpia in the EuroLeague playoffs. Christian Burns played two seasons at Milan and won the 2018 Super Cup. Finally, there’s Amedeo Della Valle, who also won the 2018 Super Cup and made 48 league appearances for Olimpia. At Olimpia, the only ex is Naz Mitrou-Long, who played in Brescia last season and helped them reach the Italian Cup semi-finals and finish the regular season in third place.