The Basketball Champions 2022/2023 reached the Final Four stage after 3 encounters that needed the 3rd match, but all the hosts passed without too much emotion.
This year’s edition has many similarities with last season’s edition. Spain was chosen as the host country of the competition. If the previous edition was chosen as the location the Bilbao Arena, Bilbao this year will be played in the Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpen, Malaga. Just like last year, the absence of teams from strong championships: Turkey, Greece, France or Italy is surprising.
The Turks started the last edition with Pinar Karsiyaka, Besiktas, Tofas, Darussafaka and Galatasaray but only Tofas reached the Quarterfinals where they lost in 2 matches against Tenerife. This season, Galatasaray, Darussafaka, Bahcesehir, Pinar and Tofas were present without any qualified team in the Quarterfinals, a season even more disastrous than the previous one.
The Italians were represented in 2021/2022 by Happy Brindisi, Dinamo Sassari and Treviso, with only Treviso reaching the Round of 16 finishing with 0-6. This year there were Dinamo Sassari and Reggiana, both finishing in 4th place in the first phase of the groups, a total disappointment.
The last edition, the Greeks had Lavrio, AEK, PAOK and Peristeri failing to reach the Round of 16. AEK, Peristeri and PAOK started this season, AEK succeeded to reach the Quarterfinals where they lost in a decisive match against Hapoel, but a much better year for the Greeks.
The French started last season with Dijon, Strasbourg and Le Mans, only Strasbourg reached the Quarterfinals where it was eliminated in 2 matches by Hapoel Holon. This year Dijon, Limoges and Strasbourg represented France, and Strasbourg tied last year’s performance but Telekom Bonn was too strong in a Best of Three.
Both editions had 2 teams from Spain and one from Germany and Israel in the Final Four. Last year’s champion and the team that won every edition played in Spain (2017; 2022) Lenovo Tenerife will try to defend its trophy; if last year Baxi Manresa was the second team from Spain, this year it will be Unicaja Malaga, which will also be the host of the competition. Germany’s chances at the trophy are brought by their best team this season, Telekom Bonn who will try to improve the 3rd place occupied by Riesen Ludwigsburg last season. After the 4th place occupied by Hapoel Holon last season, Hapoel Jerusalem hopes for a much better ranking and maybe defense will be the key to success.
On Tuesday, April 25, we will find out if the draws will bring the same duel in the semi-finals between the countries, Spain-Germany and Spain-Israel, or if this time we will have a Spanish semi-final instead of a final.
Photo credit: Basketball Champions League