This week we have no EuroLeague, EuroCup or BCL games scheduled and we won’t see action in the domestic leagues either. Fortunately, we will still see plenty of basketball as this week is reserved for the domestic Cup action in most countries. The Final Eight in Turkey starts today, and the Italian Final Eight tournament tomorrow, but in this article, we will look at the Spanish Cup, where the Palacio de Deportes Martin Carpena in Malaga will host the tournament and the action starts on Thursday with the first two quarterfinals.

In the first game, Real Madrid will play against Murcia. One month ago, in the last game between the two sides in the ACB, Murcia won 73-61. However, it will be a completely different game on Thursday, and the Blancos are the clear favourites to advance to the semifinals. Chus Mateo’s team is the best in Europe this season and with their huge experience, they are very hard to beat in decisive games.

The second game of the day will bring the matchup between Gran Canaria and Valencia. This might be the most balanced and hard-to-predict game from the quarterfinals, however, I would pick Valencia to advance. The ‘’Taronja’’ are only 7th in the ACB and suffered a heavy defeat in Bilbao two days ago, but they are still a solid EuroLeague team. Also, Gran Canaria seems to be in worse shape, losing by 24 points on Saturday at the bottom-ranked Palencia. The team coached by Jaka Lakovic also lost two crucial games in the last two rounds of the EuroCup regular season.

On Friday Barcelona will play another team from Catalunya, Baxi Manresa. The two teams faced each other just two days ago in the ACB and Barca won 87-77 in Manresa. After a very tough month of December when they lost seven games, the Blaugrana squad recovered and seemed to be a force again. With the signing of Ricky Rubio, Barcelona fans can dream of achieving big things this season and want to win the Copa del Rey. Willy Hernangomez is a big factor as he started to play great again and this directly impacted the results of Barca. While Manresa has had a good season so far, Barca shouldn’t have any issues advancing to the semis.

Finally, the hosts Unicaja Malaga will play against Tenerife. While Tenerife is also in a good moment, winning 6 of their last 7 games, Unicaja is the favourite to advance. The team from Andalusia has had a great season so far: they are 2nd in the ACB League standings and 1st in their BCL group, where I think they are the favourites to win the trophy. They might not be the main favourites to win the Copa del Rey, but it would be a huge upset for Malaga to be eliminated after the first game.

Imre Halasz

Image credit: El Espanol