BCL Fantasy tips: Homecourt advantage with homecourt players
MIES (Switzerland) - The Play-Ins tip off on Tuesday, opening up the 2024 chapter of Basketball Champions League Season 8. In a best-of-three matchup, playing big at home could be crucial to advance, both collectively as a team, and individually as players.
That's one thing you should take into account going into the first week of our official BCL Fantasy game in the new year. Some players are just better at home, and after a six-game long Regular Season we are seeing some patterns in their stats.
Graves reaching new heights at home
MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg face Darussafaka Lassa in the Play-Ins, owning homecourt advantage, to play Game 1 and (potentially) Game 3 in their arena. First thing you should know - they are coming off back-to-back 104-point games at home in the easyCredit BBL in Germany, taking down Oldenburg and Tubingen.
Second thing you should know - they also won their last BCL home game, handing AEK BETSSON BC their first and only defeat of the Regular Season.
Third thing you should know - Jayvon Graves is at another level at home. He's averaging 15.4 points per game at home in the German League, including his season-high 27 points against Oldenburg on December 27, and his BCL averages at home are even better.
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Graves has scored 20 or more in each of his three home games in the BCL so far, while dishing out five or more assists every night out. Average efficiency rating at home? It's 24.3, a higher number than the current BCL efficiency rating-per-game leader Vernon Carey Jr's, which is 23.7.
In other words, if you have three guards on your Fantasy team, Graves is not the one you should bench this week. Nor is Kendall Smith.
Double digits at home
PAOK mateco will meet Tofas Bursa in Thessaloniki, giving Smith a chance to continue his double-digit run in Greece. Kendall scored 13 or more in all three home games in the BCL, a number looking unreal compared to the 0 points he had in his sole road game thus far, against Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem.
The Greek League offers a bit bigger sample size, and it's once again easy to read that he's yet to have a double-digit road game in the domestic championship, while averaging 14 points per home game.
Want more? Rytas Vilnius' forward Gytis Radzevicius reached double figures in scoring in all three home games in the BCL, including an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double last time out. He will take on Peristeri bwin in Lithuania this week.
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How about Cholet Basket's man in the middle Neal Sako? First four games in the BCL this season: 26 points, 27 rebounds total. Last two home games in the BCL: 36 points, 19 rebounds. French League home average: 12.1 points. French League road games: 9.8 points. Cholet will battle Banco di Sardegna Sassari on Wednesday.
Or Le Mans Sarthe Basket's guard DeVante' Jones? He's up to 15.0 points and 6.1 assists per game at home in the BCL, compared to just 11.5 points and 5.0 assists on the road. His last two home games in the French League saw him collect 36 points and 18 assists, too. MSB play host to Promitheas Patras this week.
Since this Play-Ins format was introduced in the BCL a couple of years ago, January became all about the homecourt advantage. It's going to be like that in our Fantasy game, too, so keep it in mind when putting together your contender for the weekly, monthly and season awards, or your private league battles.