In advance of the draws on Thursday, Euroleague basketball have announced the seeds of the 22 Euroleague teams that will be divvied into four divisions in the 2010-11 season, as well as the 16 teams competing for the remaining two EL spots in the Euroleague Qualifying Rounds.
This seedings do not of course determine the draw but, together with some of the regional restrictions, will serve to limit the possibilities a bit – and naturally create at least one group perceived to be the top-heavy clichéd “Group of Death.” The rankings are done on a purely mathematical basis and based in three years’ worth of team performance.
The top seeds are comprised of three teams from last season’s final four in CSKA Moscow, FC Barcelona and Olympiacos; these three are joined by reigning ACB champion Caja Laboral Baskonia. No. 2 seeds are the sure-to-be new-look Montepaschi Siena, EΣAKE champions Panathinaikos, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Real Madrid.
All five Spanish teams confirmed for the competition are within the top three seedings, meaning that a special exception will be made vis-à-vis the Euroleague’s standard policy of disallowing teams from the same nation in the same group. Though Ettore Messina already knows his team will be grouped with either CSKA or Olympiacos automatically, at least one of Spanish no. 3 seeds Valencia and Unicaja will “win” two extra dates against an ACB rival. Other no. 3 seeds are Partizan and Lietuvos Rytas – tough bunch, these 3s.
In the 4s are Turkey’s perpetuals Fenerbahçe Ülker and Efes Pilsen along with Asseco Prokom and Virtus Roma. In the five spots are Žalgiris Kaunas, Cibona Zagreb, Brose Baskets Bamberg and AJ Milano, while the final two places are held by Union Olimpija and French champions Cholet Basket.
For the Qualifying Rounds draw, no. 1 seeds will be Alba Berlin, Asvel Basket; BC Khimki Moscow region; and Unics Kazan; no. 2s are Serbian Superleague runners-up KK Hemofarm Stada, Czech champion CEZ Nymburk, Budivelnyk Kiev and Le Mans Sarthe; no. 3 seeds are surprise Liga HaAl titleholder Hapoel Gilboa Galil, Maroussi BC, Spirou Charleroi, and replacement entry Banvit BC. Finally, the 4th seeds include Serie A finalist Pepsi Caserta, Romanian champs KK Budocnost, Chorale Roanne Basket and Holland’s top dogs GasTerra Flames Gröningen.
The draws will be held beginning at 11.15am CET on Thursday; all the pomp and circumstance may be viewed live at Euroleague.net.