Recent events have spawned an interesting situation in the VTB League standings. After Round 12 of the regular season drew to a close, we find a new team sitting atop of the standings. Lokomotiv Kuban has unseated CSKA Moscow and now hold the pole position.
On January 14th Lokomotiv Kuban crushed Kalev/Cramo in a convincing 95-62 victory. Meanwhile, Zenit Saint Petersburg pulled off a stunning upset win over the then reigning league leaders, CSKA Moscow 87-83. These results put Loko on top with their 10-1 record, while the army men slide half a game behind with their 10-2 slate. This could be just a minor setback for CSKA, who hold the top spot in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague with their 13-4 record. Fatigue could be a factor as CSKA has been playing hard against some tough international opponents in recent weeks.
Giving credit where credit is due, Sergey Karasev had an excellent performance to lead Zenit passed CSKA with 23 points and seven rebounds. He led his squad in 3-pointers made in the game, connecting on 4-of-5 shots from downtown. He set the tone and the other blue shirts responded by elevating their play to his level.
Loko’s game against Estonia’s Kalev/Cramo was a totally different story. Only Kalev/Cramo’s Isaiah Briscoe managed to score in double figures, while Dimitri Kulagin paced three other Loko players with a game-high 23 points on some impressive and efficient shooting.
How long can Loko hold off CSKA from reclaiming the top spot in the VTB League Standings? Time will tell. Regardless how that situation plays out, things just got a little bit more interesting, more competitive in Russia’s premier league.