Get ready for phase two of the 2011-12 Euroleague season, as today league officials will be determining the groupings for the Top 16 round. BallinEurope will be watching the live stream over at Euroleague.tv, though quite a few nations — Spain, Greece, and Israel among them — have local sports stations shows the draw as it happens as well.
Logo at left will be that of the 2012 Euroleague Final Four, just released/announced in the runup to the draw this afternoon.
The groups in the quest for that EL Final Four bid will be comprised as follows.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Gescrap Bilbao Basket
Emporio Armani Milano
Maccabi Tel Aviv
Perhaps the first Euroleague player tweets on the groupings came from Montepaschi Siena’s Shaun Stonerook and Nikos Zisis. Tweeted the former: “Should be fun.Can’n’t wait to get it started“. (Damn, he *is* excited.)
The latter had six minutes earlier weighed in with, “Very interesting groups in euroleague top 16! We are going to play 6 battles!!”
Does Montepaschi lead the Euroleague in tweeters? Here’s Igor Rakocevic, about a quarter-hour after his teammates: “Grupo muy interesante para nosotros en TOP16!!! Vamos a jugar 3 partidos en España! Eso me gusta mucho!!!”
(In English, that’s “Wow! Interesting groups for top16!! Our group with 3 Spanish teams!!! I like that!”
Real Madrid’s Martynas Pocius showed some nice sportsmanship with his tweet, “Was quietly hoping to see Zalgiris in the same group but not this time! Good luck Green&White!”
Kneejerk reactions from BiE? How about:
• How about that mini-Endesa Liga in Group F? Three Spanish sides plus Montepaschi Siena? BiE doesn’t know if that’s the oft-created “Group of Death,” but BiE’ll take it as the highest-scoring overall of these groups.
• BiE also digs the pairing of FC Barcelona and Maccabi Tel Aviv, both Final Four-Fearlessly Predicted™ teams — can’t wait to see that game early … and maybe later, too?
• Considering Group E, BiE’s hedging bets that CSKA Moscow extends its run to 16-0 going into the elite-eight tournament.
• Early Official Fearless Predictions™ will go with CSKA Moscow, Anadolu Efes, Real Madrid, Montepaschi Siena, Panathinaikos, Fenerbahce Ulker, FC Barcelona, Maccabi Tel Aviv … slightly boring, perhaps, but BiE just couldn’t talk himself into Milano or Unics Kazan…