<span style="color:#FFFF00"><span style="color:#000080"><span style="color:#FFFF00">Maccabi "Elite" Tel-Aviv</span></span></span> vs <span style="color:#006400">Montepaschi Siena</span> Time and Date: May 2nd, 2008 12:00 PM EST Maccabi "Elite" Tel-Aviv (Israel) and Montepaschi Siena (Italy) will face off today in the first Euroleague Final Four semi-final. Both have come far this season, but in different ways. Siena dominated throughout the 2007-2008 season in Italy Serie A en route to an incredible 31-3 record. In the Euroleague, they started the season off in a tough group with CSKA Moscow, Tau Ceramica, Olympiacos, Zalgiris Kaunas, Virtus VidiVici, Prokom Trefl Sopot and Union Olimpija. They finished 2nd in the group, behind CKSA (who are set to face Tau Ceramica in the 2nd semi-final). In the Top 16, they were in yet another "group of death" with 2007 Euroleague champions Panathinaikos, Partizan Igokea and Efes Pilsen. Seina finished 4-2, including a win over the champs at home and nearly another one in Athens. After easily disposing of Fenerbahce Ulker in the playoff, Siena are set to compete for their 1st ever Final Four title. They'll be without Rimantas Kaukenas, their top scorer this season (14.1 ppg), who's out for a few weeks with an injury. Maccabi, on the other hand, have struggled this season in the Israeli league, with a disappointing 7 losses so far. They fired former coach Oded Katash halfway into the season, and new coach Zvika Sherf has led the team to superb accomplishments in the Euroleague. Maccabi finished with an 11-3 record in a rather comfortable group in the Regular Season stage, with only Unicaja Malaga, Lietuvos Rytas and Efes Pilsen looking like teams who could go far in the Euroleague. In the next stage, Maccabi earned another easy group, from which they came out 1st with a 4-2 record, including two wins over Real Madrid who were embarrassingly kicked out of the competition early. Maccabi finished off another Spanish giant, Barcelona, in the playoff 2-1 and have reached their record 10th ever Final Four. <span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><u>Predicted Starters</u></span> <span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><u>Maccabi Tel-Aviv </u></span> Vonteego Cummings (PG): 5.9 PPG, 2.7 APG, 1.1 RPG Yotam Halperin (SG): 10.4 PPG, 4.1 APG, 2.2 RPG Omri Casspi (SF): 4.6 PPG, 0.7 APG, 2.3 RPG Terrence Morris (PF): 12.3 PPG, 2.7 APG, 8.4 RPG Nikola Vujcic ( C ): 11.1 PPG, 3.6 APG, 4.3 RPG Zvika Sherf (Coach) <span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><u>Montepaschi Siena </u></span> Terrell McIntyre (PG): 13.2 PPG, 4.6 APG, 1.9 RPG Bootsy Thornton (SG): 10.4 PPG, 1.5 APG, 2.9 RPG Romain Sato (SF): 11.1 PPG, 1.0 APG, 4.4 RPG Shaun Stonebrook (PF): 6.5 PPG, 2.0 APG, 5.0 RPG Ksistof Lavrinovic ( C ): 12.2 PPG, 0.5 APG, 4.2 RPG Simone Pianigiani (Coach) <span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><u>X Factor </u></span> Will Bynum (PG/SG): 9.9 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.8 APG Bynum is Maccabi's 6th man, an offensive spark off the bench. Expect him to enter the game in the mid first quarter and stay on the court for at least 30 minutes. When Bynum is in his groove, nobody can stop him. Terrell McIntyre (PG): See above McIntyre is arguably the top player in the Italian league this season, and one of the best point guards in Europe. His stats may not jump out at you, but he's extremely dangerous on offense and can hit the three consistently (40% from beyond the arc). Maccabi will have to find a way to stop McIntyre, because if he explodes tonight Maccabi don't stand a chance. <span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><u>Prediction </u></span> It'll be a tight game for the entire 40 minutes. Siena will have to play very good defense in order to stop Maccabi right off the bat, because they will find it hard to get out of an early double-digit deficit. Maccabi need good games tonight from their guards, especially Yotam Halperin and Will Bynum and Siena will need McIntyre and the rest to make up for the loss of Kaukenas. My prediction: Maccabi will win after a long, tough battle, thanks to their tradition and experience. Siena may be better as a team, but Maccabi's individual talents will lead them to the win.