Jerome Dyson and Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari (Dinamo Sassari for short) enter the 2015 Lega Basket Serie A Playoffs with the #5 seed thanks to a 19-11 mark in league play. The club has already strung together an impressive year, competing in both Euroleague and EuroCup play, in addition to winning their second consecutive Italian Cup Championship in February. The Lega Basket Serie A is the first-tier level club competition league in Italy, with a home-and-away schedule comprised of 30 games followed by a playoff round featuring the top eight teams. The quarterfinals and semifinal series are conducted as best-of-five matchups leading into a best-of-seven finals. Lega Basket Serie A has become a popular destination for the stars of Big East past, with at least 16 players having suited up at some point this season- including former NBA All-Star Metta World Peace.
UCONN: Jerome Dyson
Georgetown: Austin Freeman, Chris Wright
Louisville: Edgar Sosa, Samardo Samuels
Marquette: Darius Johnson-Odom
Pittsburgh: Gilbert Brown, Sam Young
Providence: MarShon Brooks
Seton Hall: Jeremy Hazell
St. John’s: Metta World Peace aka Ron Artest
Syracuse: Andy Rautins, Brandon Triche
Villanova: Allan Ray, Isaiah Armwood, James Bell
With that in mind, here is a look at the 2015 playoff bracket:
Dyson and Dinamo already find themselves in an 0-1 hole after losing the first game of the series to #4 Trento yesterday. Trento, led by league MVP Tony Mitchell’s (Alabama/Detroit Pistons) 16 points/11 rebounds, dominated the glass (55 to 28) en route to an 81-70 home victory. Dinamo struggled shooting the ball, finishing just 8-31 from deep and 18-41 from the field. Dinamo was led by Jerome Dyson’s 14 points and 7 steals with Edgar Sosa adding 11 points in the losing effort. Imposing center Davide Pascolo (Italy) had a monster game for Trento with 15 points and 14 rebounds. As two of the highest scoring teams in the league (Dinamo 85.0, Trento 81.3) boasting numerous high-flyers, the first game certainly did not disappoint the highlight reel (below). If you have been following my blog it should be no surprise who came in at #1…
Game 2 Preview
Dyson and company hit the hardwood tomorrow for Game 2 at Trento. Here is a look at probable starters for both sides as well as season statistics:
#5 Dinamo Sassari
Penn State ‘11
Oakland/Wayne St ‘09
Keys to the Series
Contain Tony Mitchell
In two regular season matchups the league MVP torched Sassari for 31 and 24 points respectively. The 6’9 wing presents a matchup nightmare due to his versatility and freakish athletic ability. Game 1 was a move in the right direction for Dinamo as Mitchell was held to only 16 points on 3-12 shooting- though he did still manage to collect 11 rebounds and dish out 7 assists. For Dinamo to advance, Mitchell must be slowed down.
Rebounding is not the only worry for the undersized Sassari squad. In the two regular season matchups, Trento scored an average of 63% of their points in the paint (compared to 37% from Sassari) including an insane 65% in a matchup back in December. The closer you are to the basket, the higher percentage the shot- an idea clearly translated in the field goal percentages for both teams. Through three games (including yesterday) Trento is shooting the ball at a 60% mark while Sassari checks in at 47%. League-leading shot blocker Shane Lawal will need to keep Trento’s bigs off the glass and out of the box score.
When post scoring is limited, points must come from elsewhere- specifically the three ball. For a team that averaged 35 three’s per game and had 4 players shoot over 100 three’s on the season (compared to two for Trento), the 8-31 mark (26%) Dinamo put up in the first game won’t cut it. Between sharpshooters Dyson, David Logan and Rakim Sanders- someone needs to get hot.
Best of luck to Dinamo Sassari and be sure to stay tuned for more updates!