The EuroCup draw for groupings went down at 1pm CET today; below the break, BallinEurope runs the results of said draw. Information in parentheses indicates last year’s finish in domestic league play. So how’s your team’s group looking…?
Lietuvos Rytas vs. Galatasaray Café Crown Galatasaray looked impressive in dispatching Asvel Villeurbanne (O, Tony Parker, où êtes-vous?) and putting up 93 points, the highest total registered in qualifying round games thus far. Better yet, the high-profile additions to the already solid Turkish team’s roster appear to be working perfectly: Jaka Lakovic and Darius Songaila contributed a whopping 40 points combined in the win.
For all those interested – ahem, Toronto Raptors fans – no. 5 overall 2011 NBA draft pick Jonas Valančiūnas donned his #17 jersey for Lietuvos Rytas twice this week in a pair of exhibition games against Belgian side and fellow Euroleague qualifying round contenders Charleroi Spirou.
In the first day of the back-to-back games (and Valančiūnas’ 2011 debut with the club) played before a mostly empty house, L. Rytas did just enough to take the match, 70-61. Valančiūnas started for the home side and contributed seven points and a big 11 rebounds.
BallinEurope took a little extra time with the Top 100 Teams in Europe list this week after a suggestion that certain ACB teams were getting the shaft of non-inclusion in the calculations – and so the pool has been widened accordingly.
In calculating the Top 100 for this week and heretofore, all teams in major domestic leagues with at least 10 wins will be included. With the addition of the new teams, some 165 sides are in the running for a ranking on this prestigious list and the very top is dominated by Spain: ACB sides bag five spots in the top 15 and twelve within the first 40.
The list of teams that will make up the 2010-11 Eurocup regular seasons is all but complete – 93.75% complete, to be exact, with 30 of the 32 teams now set. The finish of the Eurocup Qualifying Round promoted eight more clubs into the regular season, leaving two more spots open, which will be determined by the final Euroleague qualifiers. BC Khimki holds a huge lead over Le Mans for the first spot, while Alba Berlin looks to dig its way out of a four-point deficit in hosting Spirou Basket on Sunday.
A total of 32 teams will play in the Eurocup regular season: The field is made up of 10 direct qualifiers, 14 from Euroleague qualifying rounds, and eight who earned their way in through Eurocup qualifiers.
Following up the group draw for the first 22 teams confirmed for 2010-11 Euroleague play was … another draw! These time, the pingpong balls (actually they look more like something out of Dragonball Z; poor Diego, the dude who has to manipulate these things at high speed during the draw) determined the entire bracket draw for the Qualifying Round competition.
The FIBA EuroChallenge may be considered a bit of a lower-tier club tournament here on The Continent, but the 2009-10 edition of the contest is certainly among the tops in terms of competitive balance.
With the final games of the Last 16 phase all tipping off tomorrow night, eight teams remain in the hunt for four quarterfinals spots and just four teams (Banvit, Belgacom Liege, EiffelTowers Den Bosch, and Proteas) have been eliminated. BC Göttingen, Chorale Roanne Basket, Krasnye Krylia, and Scavolini Pesaro are through already; who will join them tomorrow night?
Following is BallinEurope’s super-compressed briefing on the mathematical possibilities for each still-striving contender plus a few storylines at play in the games.
• Apoel. If Apeol wins against KK Buducnost, they’re in; at 5-1 in Nicosia this EuroChallenge season with the sole loss to (relatively) mighty Pesaro, things look decent for the Cypriot squad. But hey, Cyprus’ defending champions have blown away disappointing memories of the 2008-2009 EuroChallenge in which Apoel went two-and-out while scoring less than 57 points in the matches.
• Antwerp Giants are involved in a three-way dogfight with Chorale Roanne and Enisey Krasnoyarsk; win and they’re in, of course, but with a loss in Roanne the Giants could still back in with a Krasnoyarsk loss to Banvit. Guard Bryan Hopkins last week became the latest Antwerp injury, leaving the Belgian squad without guard Bryan Hopkins, forward Randy Oveneke, center Christophe Beghin, and former Atlanta Hawks swingman Thomas Gardner for much of the season’s remainder.