Having gone through all 61 game days of the Euroleague season yesterday, Emmet Ryan is back to pick BiE’s 10 games of the week in the 2016/17 season of the new look Eurocup
There’s a lot to digest with the new format for Eurocup but, essentially, it matches what Euroleague was like as recently as the 2011/12 season through the first two phases. The thinning out of the field coupled with Euroleague’s own distillation means that the field as a whole is deeper.
There’s one big boo-boo that merits highlighting before we get to the games is the call made to hold the full first round of games the same night as Real Madrid vs Olympiacos in the Euroleague season opener. This corner has long been sceptical of showpiece events having games in other European leagues go up against them but it just seems mad to have 12 games in a sister competition take place the same night as the marquee game of the week.
The other key issue to follow will be how Euroleague manages the Eurocup package as part of its wider offering. Will they add it to the online offering available already? Giving fans a third night via that route wouldn’t just make the package more appealing in terms of total content, it also gives Euroleague an edge over the FIBA Basketball Champions League in terms of how it presents its total product.
As with the Euroleague list, we are going to have a few rules here. There can be no repeat fixtures and we will deliberately try to maximise the variety of teams covered by forcing each group to be covered at least twice.
The full list of fixtures is here so now it’s time to pick 10 games.
Update 8 July: Yes we are aware the Italian sides have pulled out, save for Cantu, but until we actually know what is happening with them then we are keeping those fixtures for rounds 4, 5, and 8 as set.
Round 1 – 12 October: Gran Canaria vs Cedevita Zagreb
On the one hand you have a side that has been knocking on the door of a big shock for a couple of years. On the other it’s a team more used to playing in the big show looking to make a mark in the second tier.
Round 2 – 19 October: Hapoel Jerusalem vs Valencia Basket
Two sides who promised oodles for most of last season but came up empty handed clash in the early part of the new campaign.
Round 3 – 26 October: Unicaja Malaga vs FC Bayern Munich
Two sides who were in Euroleague last year, one made the Top 16 and the other was as close as it comes before missing out. Both have ample reason to want to make a huge impression in Eurocup this time around.
Round 4 – 2 November: Khimki vs Cantu
The wild card Italians have plenty of wealth but that didn’t count for much down the stretch last season. Will we see a different beast this time around against a club with massive pockets?
Round 5 – 9 November: Reggio Emilia vs AEK Athens
The third team in Athens travels to the second team in Italy. The latter has shown signs of promise but whether it has hit its ceiling is another matter entirely.
Round 6 – 16 November: Partizan vs Alba Berlin
Two sides who seem to be in rebuild mode but who is making headway faster?
Round 7 – 23 November: Union Olimpija Ljubljana vs Ratiopharm Ulm
There’s a strong possibility this game will have qualification implications for both sides.
Round 8 – 30 November: Budocnost Podgorica vs Dinamo Sassari
At least one of these sides will likely be making its last stand in a bid to stay in phase two contention.
Round 9 – 7 December: Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar vs Hapoel Jerusalem
Last season Loko finished third in Euroleague and even at this late stage of the Eurocup regular season campaign, with a diluted roster, that will leave a big target on them for all challengers.
Round 10 – 14 December: Gran Canaria vs Stelmet Zielona Gora
The Polish side has to travel quite a long way for a game that could well be do or die for them in terms of making the next stage.