Tomorrow, October 17, 2011, the Euroleague 2011/2012 starts with the first regular season game played on Monday as it’s become traditional, then the other games will be played on Wednesday, Thursday and occasionally in other days.
Technically the Euroleague started at the end of Semptember with the qualifying rounds but obviously they raise less intererest because the best teams don’t play them even if sixteen teams were involved.
The format is the one created through the last years and it starts with the regular season, a round-robin with 24 teams divided in 4 groups each playing 10 games. The best 4 teams of each group advance to the Top 16, a second round-robin where the best 16 teams are divided in 4 groups of 4 teams each and each team plays 6 games. The best 2 teams of each group advance to the quarter-finals which are played in best of 5 games series. The winners will play the Final Four.
Let’s see which teams are taking part to the regular season with some predictions. I have to say that this year predictions are more complex than ever because of the NBA lockout. At this moment the first two weeks of the regular season have been canceled and the future of the NBA season can greatly influence the results of this edition of the Euroleague. For example, currently Emporio Armani Milan has Danilo Gallinari in its roster and CSKA Moscow has Andrei Kirilenko but if the lockout ceased they’d go play in their NBA teams. If the NBA season should be canceled, other players could be hired by European teams and in the Top 16 the balance of forces might be different.
Bizkaia Bilbao Basket
The group has a stronger team in Olympiacos Piraeus and among the others the level is fairly balanced so they will play their chances to advance to the next round. In my opinion eventually the teams that will advance to the Top 16 are: Olympiacos Piraeus, Fenerbahce Ulker, Caja Laboral and Bizkaia Bilbao Basket.
CSKA Moscow and Panathinaikos Athens are the two dominant teams in the group, among the others there is a fair balance. In my opinion the teams that will advance to the next round are: CSKA Moscow, Panathinaikos Athens, Unicaja and KK Zagreb.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Emporio Armani Milan
Real Madrid and Maccabi Electra are the two strongest teams but the group is quite balanced. Emporio Armani Milan is potentially very strong but has an almost completely new group of players who will take some time to really play as a team. In my opinion the teams that will advance to the next round are: Real Madrid, Maccabi Electra, Emporio Armani Milan and Anadolu Efes Istanbul.
Regal FC Barcelona
Regal FC Barcelona and Montepaschi Siena should be the two dominant teams in the group, the other teams are at a similar level so they’ll all try to go to the next round. In my opinion the teams that will advance to the Top 16 are: Regal FC Barcelona, Montepaschi Siena, Galatasaray Istanbul and Union Olimpija.
As always may the best win! 🙂