Yesterday, the Euroleague proceeded for its annual draw in Berlin. After several speeches and awards, the big moment was coming close with the draw of the current Euroleague groups. Here is my analysis of the results.
Maccabi Tel Aviv, Olympiacos, Unicaja Malaga, Cibona Zagreb, Le Mans and Air Avellino.
The situation here seems quite clear as you have three favorites for the qualification for the next round with Maccabi, Olmypiacos and Unicaja while Cibona, Le Mans and Avellino will battle for the 4th access spot to the Top 16. It is difficult to say which of the 3 teams has the best chances to qualify as their recruitment has not been finished. But Avellino as rookie team will probably finish its Euroleague season after the first phase.
Montepaschi, FC Barcelona, Panathinaikos, Zalgiris, Prokom Trefl and SLUC Nancy.
This is probably the toughest group for the small teams to qualify as Montepaschi, Barcelona, Panathinaikos and Zalgiris are the big favorites to advance. Prokom Trefl is building a way different team than last season under coach Pacesas and SLUC Nancy tries to set up a competitive team for the French championship and sees the Euroleague more as a bonus for their fans. I see no way how these two teams could qualify for the next round.
TAU Ceramica, Fenerbahce Ülker, Virtus Roma, Olimpija, DKV Joventut and ALBA Berlin.
This is in my opinion the group that is the most difficult to predict. It has the strongest fifth and sixth team in DKV Joventut and ALBA Berlin and most likely the worst second seeded in Fenerbahce. Olimpija has to win its home games in order to have a chance to pass while Virtus Roma could be the Cinderella story of this group and qualify again for the Top16. TAU is of course the favorite but for the moment, they seem a bit less stronger than the year before.
CSKA Moscow, Partizan Belgrade, Real Madrid, Efes Pilsen, AJ Milano and Panionios.
This will be a very interesting group as I think that every one can advance. Partizan had an extraordinary season last year but lost, like always, their best players. It is important how strong the new additions will be in order to have a chance to advance. AJ Milano lost its go-to-guy in Gallinari but should build up a strong team this season too. CSKA and Real are of course the main teams in this group but also Efes Pilsen under Ergin Ataman will be stronger than last season. Panionios has added former Lietuvos Rytas coach but no Euroleague players so far and will most likely be the weakest team in this group.