Zenit vs. Lokomotiv Kuban. The VTB United League. Preview

On April 7th, Lokomotiv Kuban plays against Zenit on the road. Krasnodar starts the final series of EuroCup in a few days but the Zenit game is also very important for the standings of the VTB United League.

The Take

Zenit is the weirdest team of the second half of the VTB League season. St. Petersburg takes the fourth place in the standings and may take the third one but has already been beaten by Astana (-23), Khimki (-18), and Avtodor (-14).

However, Loko games are always special for Zenit. It’s not the first time Zenit and Lokomotiv fight for the third place in the end of the regular season. Two previous times were unsuccessful for Loko. But it’s a different team this season, which has already defeated St. Petersburg.

Lokomotiv Kuban is quite stable this year. The 26-game winning streak proves it. In EuroCup, the team advanced to the finals undefeated – 20:0.

Speaking about stability, we mean the result rather than the quality. Sasa Obradovic constantly mentions black holes in which his team falls during 40 minutes of a game. But the result is pretty always the same – ‘we showed a good character in a right moment.’ For example, it worked in the Astana game last round.

Not only recognized leaders of Zenit – Kuric, Gordon, Karasev – are dangerous. Evgeny Voronov improves his skills from game to game. The guard got three career highs this season. THREE! Two of them were made in EuroCup and one was made in the VTB United League. 31-year old Evgeny is playing one of his best seasons. Voronov averages 11 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.7 rebounds. He certainly dreams about winning the domestic championship but his team needs to improve its position in the standings to do that.

Last time Loko played against Zenit at home in December. Mardy Collins was the top scorer of Lokomotiv – 26 points. It was his best result in the VTB United League for two seasons. At the moment, Mardy averages 14.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists.

Joe Ragland can make a show as well. His 29 points helped Loko beat Astana last round. It was a big comeback for Joe. Right on time.



Vladimir Ivlev, Forward of PBC Lokomotiv Kuban

— The game is very important for us as it influences the standings directly. Our teams are neighboring in the standings. Zenit is really dangerous when it catches its rhythm with transitions and accurate three-pointers. They can make troubles to any opponent. We will try to slow down the game, defense aggressively, and play smart in offense to control the game. It’s the final test ahead of the EuroCup finals for us and the team is really focused.


Zenit vs. Lokomotiv Kuban takes place in St. Petersburg on April 7th at 5:30 Moscow time.

In the first half of the season, Lokomotiv defeated Zenit at home – 87:84.

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