Euroleague Final Four preview- CSKA Moscow

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If you are a fan of CSKA Moscow, you probably just purchase your Euroleague Final Four tickets when the season starts, as 2013-14 marks the 11th time in the last 12 seasons that the Russian powerhouse has played in the Final Four. With all-around star Victor Khryapa- a former 1st-round pick in the NBA draft- leading the way, CSKA Moscow is feeling very good about their chances of winning a seventh Euroleague championship.

Khryapa isn’t the greatest scorer in Europe, averaging only 6.6 points per game in Euroleague games. But he leads CSKA Moscow in both rebounds and assists in Euroleague action, and he led the entire Euroleague in both rebounds (7.6 per game) and assists (5.6 per game) in the playoff round.

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Khryapa is a very efficient scorer when he decides to shoot, averaging 1.26 points per field goal attempt- and amazingly, he has not had a single shot attempt blocked in 26 Euroleague games this season. His all-around skills and defense were the reason he was named to the All-Euroleague Second Team.

CSKA Moscow’s leading scorer, Sonny Weems, was a First Team All-Euroleague selection. He has gotten better and better as the competition has progressed- after averaging 10.1 points per game during the Euroleague regular season, he upped his scoring to 13.4 per game in the Top 16 and 15.4 in the playoff round.

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There is no doubt that CSKA Moscow would not have won their best-of-5 series against Panathinaikos Athens without Weems’ scoring, as nobody else on the team averaged more than 8.8 points per game in the series. 

With Khryapa leading the way, CSKA Moscow set a Euroleague record for average assists in the Top 16 phase, and it is their offensive balance mixed with their usual tough defense that makes them a strong threat to walk away from Milan holding the championship trophy.

Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. He attended Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (columnist) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters, SportsCenter anchor) . In addition to running Bullsville.net and writing for The Sports Bank and ChicagoNow (Bullsville), he is also a KHSAA baseball umpire. He’s a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. Follow Don on Twitter @Bullsville.

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