Who are the favorites to reach the semifinals of the Italian Cup?

The Italian Cup Final Eight tournament will kick off tomorrow in the Pala Alpitour in Turin. 

The two heavy favourites to win the trophy are the two teams representing Italy in the EuroLeague and that currently share 1st place in the Italian Lega Basket, Olimpia Milan and Virtus Bologna. It’s a good chance for these two powerhouses to win a trophy that would make their disappointing season (in the EuroLeague) look better. However, both teams will have a difficult matchup in the quarterfinals so it will not be an easy task and many times the Cup tournaments bring surprises as it has a single-game elimination format.

Milan will play the first game of the Final Eight tomorrow at 18:00 CET against another team from Lombardy, Germani Brescia. The “Leonessa” as they are nicknamed in Italy are struggling in the LBA Serie A, where they are on a 6-game losing streak and occupy only the 12th place in the standings with a 7-12 record. The team coached by Alessandro Magro are doing a little better in EuroCup where they won their last two games and have an excellent chance to qualify further. Olimpia Milan on the other hand has a terrible season in Europe, where they have very slim chances of advancing to the playoffs, even though they were considered one of the favourites at the beginning of the season. However, since the arrival of Shabazz Napier, they look better and if the team starts to play close its potential then Milan is the big favourite to win it all on the domestic level.

Virtus Bologna, the other team with a very big budget this year is also playing under pressure, as their results in the EuroLeague are worse than the fans expected. But, just like their rivals from Milan, Bologna started to look much better in the past couple of weeks, winning 5 of their last 6 games in all competitions, losing only against Barcelona. Scariolo’s men will have a tough matchup in the quarterfinals as they will play against Reyer Venezia. The team from Venice just changed coaches, replacing Walter de Raffaele after 7 years with another very experienced coach, Neven Spahija. They have an outstanding squad with experienced players and probably the Virtus-Reyer matchup is the most interesting from the quarterfinals.

The teams that played in the Cup Final (and lost) against Milan in the past two years, Tortona and Pesaro are also present in the Final Eight, Tortona will play against Trento, while Pesaro will match up against Varese.

Imre Halasz

Image credit: EuroLeague