On Tuesday April 14 the basketball Euroleague 2014/2015 quarter-finals will start. This round will be played in a playoff series to the best of five games in which the teams qualified from each group will cross path the the ones qualified from the other group. The first classified teams of each group will play the fourth classified ones of the other group and the second classified ones of each group will play the third classified ones of the other group.
The formula is the 2-2-1: game 1 and game 2 will be played on Tuesday 14 / Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 / Friday 17 at the home of the teams best classified in their Top 16 group; Game 3 and, if necessary, Game 4 will be played on Monday 20 / Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 23 / Thursday 24 at the home of the teams worst classified in their group. If necessary, Game 5 will be played on Tuesday 28 / Wednesday 29 at the home of the teams best classified in their Top 16 group.
Real Madrid – Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Real Madrid finished the Top 16 by winning its group with a 11-3 record while Anadolu Efes Istanbul qualified for the quarter-finals at the last game only thanks to Vitoria’s defeat with a 6-8 record. The Spanish team is clearly the favorite to go to the Final Four, it will attempt to win a game in Istanbul to close the series as soon as possible and not risk going to Game 5 that would be played at home but is always tricky. In the regular season, Real Madrid lost in the Turkish capital city to Anadolu Efes Istanbul 75-73, certainly in these quarter-finals will try to give something more.
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul – Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul finished the Top 16 in second place of its group with a 11-3 record while Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv finished in third place of its group with a 9-5 record. The Turkish team is very strong and has a super-winning coach such as Zeljko Obradovic so is the favorite. Maccabi is still the defending champion but last year’s triumph came after some unlikely wins that combined at best tactics and winning attitude but I think it’s unrepeatable. In my opinion Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul will win in Tel Aviv to close the series 3-1 if not even 3-0.
CSKA Moscow – Panathinaikos Athens
CSKA Moscow finished the Top 16 winning its group with a 12-2 record while Panathinaikos Athens qualified only on the final game thanks to Alba Berlin’s defeat with a 7-7 record. The Russian team wants to win the Euroleague after the last two years’ disappointments and is by far the favorite in this series but it’s never easy to go to win in Athens. Panathinaikos Athens suffered almost all its defeats in away games but the team will have to give everything to really try to stretch this series putting pressure on its opponents. I think if the Russian team can’t win Game 3 it’s likely to end up playing Game 5 against a Greek team that will be on fire but should still win the series.
Barcelona – Olympiacos Piraeus
Barcelona finished the Top 16 in the second place of its group with a 11-3 record while Olympiacos Piraeus finished it in the third place of its group with a 10-4 record. Barcelona is very ambitious but the Euroleague 2012 and 2013 champions are tough opponents who lost only once at home throughout this Euroleague. Barcelona is the favorite and has the home court advantage but I think this may be the closest series and the one with the best chance of an upset. In the end, I think that Barcelona will win 3-2.
The winners of the quarter-finals will compete for the Euroleague title in the Final Four to be held in Madrid between May 15 and 17.
As always, may the best win! 🙂