The Euroleague 2015/2016 is starting

Thursday October 15, 2015, the Euroleague 2015/2016 starts. The games will be generally played on Thursday and Friday as it’s become common. In the previous seasons the first game was played one or two days earlier, this year the first gameday starts regularly.

The format was the same as in recent years. The regular season is 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, where the best 16 teams are divided in 2 groups of 8 teams each and each team plays 14 games. The best 4 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 in Berlin.

Group A

Real Madrid
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul
Khimki Moscow Region
Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade
FC Bayern Munich
Strasbourg

Real Madrid is the champion team and begins this Euroleague with every intention to win it again. In contrast, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul ended in a disappointing way the last season, in which the intent was to win everything but in the end won nothing. This season, the Turkish team wants to try again, still under the guidance of veteran coach Obradovic but with various new players. Khimki Moscow Region won the last Eurocup and the ambition now is to have good results in the Euroleague as well. These three teams are definitely the favorites to go to the Top 16. The other three will play for the fourth berth in an interesting battle in which I think FC Bayern Munich is slightly favorite.

Group B

Olympiacos Piraeus
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan
Cedevita Zagreb
Limoges CSP

Olympiacos Piraeus reached the finals in the last Euroleague and in this season starts with the intention to regain the title. Anadolu Efes Istanbul achieved very good results last season and is ready to do even better. These are the two teams that should reach the Top 16 without problems. For the other two places there could be a battle and I think Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz has something more in terms of talent and experience, even if it comes from a season with ups and downs. EA7 Emporio Armani Milan also has a high level potential but after a disappointing season changed a lot, including its coach, so it will need to find a new team chemistry to reach the Top 16.

Group C

FC Barcelona Lassa
Panathinaikos Athens
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar
Zalgiris Kaunas
Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir
Stelmet Zielona Gora

Lassa FC Barcelona and Panathinaikos Athens are the two teams in this group that potentially can reach the Top 16 with relative ease. Zalgiris Kaunas is a team that in recent years failed to achieve great results but it can always be a tough opponent so I think it will be the third team to qualify for the Top 16. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar is very ambitious and could be the fourth qualified in the group but it won’t be easy.

Group D

CSKA Moscow
Maccabi Tel Aviv
Unicaja Malaga
Brose Baskets Bamberg
Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul
Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari

CSKA Moscow should be the dominant team in this group. Maccabi Tel Aviv and Unicaja Malaga are two teams who have been regularly reaching at least the Top 16 and are very likely to do it again in this season. In my opinion the fourth place will be won by the team that will quickly find the right team chemistry because the three contenders have only a few players with Euroleague experience and this can have a lot of influence on their results. For example last year Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari had a very exciting season in Italy but paid heavily its Euroleague debut. From this point of view Brose Baskets Bamberg could have something more.

As always, may the best win! 🙂

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