Everything you need to know about the last round of the EuroLeague

Thursday and Friday we have scheduled the games from the last round of the EuroLeague regular season and we can still see important changes in the final standings after this round as teams fight for home-court advantage or a playoff / play-in place.

What we knew for a few weeks already is that Real Madrid will win the regular season. Los Blancos had a stellar season so far and while they are currently on a three-game losing streak in all competitions, they remain the favourites to win both the ACB and the EuroLeague.

After Madrid, four teams fight for the home-court advantage in the quarterfinals. Panathinaikos has an easy game on paper at home against Alba Berlin, so they could finish in second place in the regular season, a remarkable performance for a team that hired a new coach and made many changes in the roster in the summer.

Just like Ergin Ataman who managed to quickly impose his ideas and bring results for PAO, Roger Grimau deserves credit for the position Barcelona is in after 33 rounds. The rookie coach took over Barcelona after Sarunas Jasikevicius left last summer and many people were sceptical that Barca would stay among the top teams this season, especially because the roster also went through important changes. But the Catalan team was solid for most of the season and if they win in Lyon they will start their playoff series in the Palau Blaugrana.

Monaco is the third team that fights for home-court advantage and they will host Bayern, a team that was in the race for a playoff spot for a long time but after losing their last four games the German team is eliminated from contention. Mike James had another amazing season as he became the all-time leading scorer in the EuroLeague and is one of the main candidates to win the season MVP trophy.

Olympiacos is the last team that hopes for a Top 4 finish, but the chances are small. They will have to beat Fenerbahce in Piraeus on Friday and hope for a surprising defeat of the teams currently ahead of them. Olympiacos and Fenerbahce are both sure that they will avoid a play-in matchup, both could switch places between them for 5th place.

Maccabi is sure of its 7th-place finish, which means the Israeli side will have to compete in a play-in game, but their opponents from Thursday, Olimpia Milan are still fighting to qualify for the play-in. The Italian team needs a win and also needs the other results to be in their favour to qualify.

Baskonia and Virtus Bologna are sure of the play-in place but they will play against each other this round for the 8th place, which would bring home court advantage in the play-in round, which could be a huge advantage.

For Anadolu Efes the calculations are simple: they have to beat Crvena Zvezda at home to qualify for the play-in. Ironically the biggest supporters of Zvezda in this game will be their arch-rivals, Partizan. The black and white team has to beat Valencia and hope that Zvezda will surprise everyone and beat Efes in Istanbul, which would allow Partizan to finish 10th and qualify for the play-in.

Imre Halasz

Photo credit: EuroLeague