What can happen in the last round of the EuroCup?

As we enter the final Round of this season’s EuroCup regular season, a few games can impact the final standings and a couple of other games where teams will only play for their honour.

Today we have three games scheduled and two of them can make changes in the standings. JL Bourg will host Ratiopharm Ulm and the German team could slip to 5th place in the group if they lose and Aris wins tomorrow against Trento. Of course Anton Gavel’s team would still make the playoffs, but the defeat could bring a tougher opponent in the Round of 16. Bourg on the other hand will play without pressure as they had an exceptional season so far and they secured the 1st place in Group B and the automatic qualification to the quarterfinals (the French side could be tied with U-BT Cluj, but Frederic Fauthoux’s team has the advantage in the head to head matchups).

Even more important is the game in Wroclaw, where Turk Telekom has to win against Slask to qualify for the playoffs (if they lose, their only hope left is that Buducnost and Trento will also be defeated). The Turkish team had a great streak of 4 consecutive wins but they lost last week at home against Bourg and now they are in 6th place. The hosts from Poland cannot move up in the standings even if they win as they have a modest 2-15 record and will finish last in the Group.

Tomorrow U-BT Cluj can secure the 2nd place in Group B and a historic qualification to the quarterfinals in just their second year in the competition. To achieve this, the Romanian champions need a win in Lithuania against Lietkabelis, a team that no longer has chances to reach the playoffs but for sure will play hard in front of its home fans.

Prometey and Joventut Badalona are both qualified for the Round of 16, but the final position in the standings is unclear. The importance here would be to finish 4th, a position that would bring the home-court advantage in the eighth-final matchup.

Buducnost on the other hand is not guaranteed at all to reach the playoffs as the team from Montenegro must win against Gran Canaria and hope that Turk Telekom lose. It will not be an easy game as Gran Canaria still hopes to finish 2nd so they will also play with big motivation.

Aris and Trento are only separated by one win, but Aris is 5th and Trento is currently out of the playoffs in 8th place. If Trento wins we could potentially see a four-team tie in Group B and only two of those teams will eventually reach the playoffs.

Hapoel Tel Aviv needs a win against Besiktas to secure second place in Group A and a direct place in the quarterfinals. But they will face a motivated Turkish team that lost its last two games and could finish only 6th in the Group which would mean a tougher opponent and an away game in the next Round.

Lastly, the London Lions need a win against an already eliminated BC Wolves and hope Hapoel Tel Aviv loses against Besiktas. This scenario would take the Lions to the quarterfinals, a great achievement for British basketball.

Imre Halasz

Image: EuroCup