BallinEurope is previewing all 18 Euroleague Basketball teams over the next 18 days. Yesterday it was the turn of Baskonia. Today it’s Chus Mateo and Real Madrid.
Chus Mateo and Real Madrid battled back from 2-0 down in the playoffs to win the championship game. Can they go back-to-back in Euroleague Basketball?
Euroleague record: 23-11
Regular season position: 3rd
Playoffs: Beat Partizan (3-2), Won championship game (Olympiacos)
ACB record: 28-6
Regular season position: 3rd
Playoffs: Lost finals 3-0 (Barcelona
Other: Lost Copa del Rey semi-final (Unicaja Malaga)
Mateo Spagnolo (Alba Berlin), Nigel Williams-Goss (Olympiacos), Adam Hanga (Crvena Zvezda), Petr Cornelie (AS Monaco), Anthony Randolpy (Free agent).
Who is new?
Facundo Campazzo (Crvena Zvezda).
Chus Mateo (Coach), Dzanan Musa, Mario Hezonja, Guerschon Yabusele, Walter Tavares, Sergio Rodriguez, Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez, Gabriel Deck, Vincent Poirier, Carlos Alocen, Fabien Causeur, Alberto Abalde, Eli Ndiaye.
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Need to know
The above pretty much lays it all out. Real Madrid really focused on keeping the band together. Facundo Campazzo is back, which is an obvious plus offensively. Adam Hanga is gone, which is a minus defensively. That aside it’s really a roster focused on continuity.
The one surprise to the casual observer is that Guerschon Yabusele is still there. The fallout from the brawl made it seem a cert that he’d never wear a Los Blancos jersey in Euroleague Basketball, or any basketball for that matter, again. Retaining him is an obvious plus in terms of performance but it’s going to be interesting when he visits Belgrade.
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What the bookies think
The defending champions are the favourites in the sportsbooks. Throughout this series, which began 18 days ago, their position atop basketball betting hasn’t wavered. The price has occasionally but Real Madrid at 15/4 favourites to go back to back in Euroleague Basketball.
What we think
The one thing at the back of my head with this team is the age profile. Sergio Rodriguez is 37, Sergio Llull turns 36 in November, Rudy Fernandez is 38. The only two players on this roster under 25 and likely to get important minutes are Carlos Alocen (22) and Dzanan Musa (24). There is also Eli NDiaye (19) but things don’t point to him getting key minutes right now.
Yet, for all that, they’re just really good. We can cut it and slice it any way we want but it’s the same on the whole. Real Madrid has, at least when looking at a 34 game regular season slate, the best team in Euroleague Basketball.
In a world of change, consistency is hard to come by. Los Blancos have pretty much every piece that matters. In terms of the regular season record, that is going to count for a lot in Euroleague Basketball. Real Madrid will be top of the pile.
Pick: 1st place in the regular season