With the end of the regular season comes a chance for the eliminated sides to focus more on their domestic campaigns. Emmet Ryan looks at what’s in store for the teams not in the Euroleague playoffs
We’re going to leave Dacka and Crvena Zvezda to one side for now and not just because both are still live teams at the time of writing. The difference in their situations in domestic action, particularly with Zvezda’s Adriatic League campaign already at the back end of the post-season, means it’s far too complex to go deep on who might not be playing in the post-season. Instead we’re taking the seven teams already out of Euroleague and what’s ahead for them. In order to keep things neat, we’re going in alphabetical order…
While still the deepest side in Bundesliga, Bamberg sits three games behind unbeaten Ratiopharm Ulm going into the post-season. With Bayreuth visiting a couple of days after their Euroleague closer with Galatasaray, the schedule doesn’t ease up all that much. Each of Bamberg’s last four games comes in double-week situations, although that does come with a two week break due to the cancelled game against now-defunct Hagen (whose name Phoenix seems super ironic now). The post-season is looking increasingly likely to come down to a series between Bamberg and Bayern in the semi-finals, not a pleasant thought for either. As it stands, its Bamberg with the home court tie-breaker but this will probably go down to the final round of the regular season. Ulm meanwhile won’t fear anyone.
As it stands right now, Barca would play Real Madrid in the first round of the ACB playoffs but that’s really unlikely. The clutter at the top of the ACB is significant and there’s going to be movement. For the side that has suffered the most with injuries this season in Euroleague, the switch to one game a week until the ACB post-season is more than welcome. The one thing this side needs right now is for games not to pile up quickly. They’ve got room to breathe, that can only help.
The smart money says Gala will be in Eurocup no matter what next season but that won’t distract them from their remaining BSL campaign in Turkey. It’s been brutally tough for this side to find consistency and everyone keeps on talking about Ergin Ataman’s next move. This isn’t a healthy look going into the post-season. Clear one week gaps should help again in terms of rest but, after that, it’s probably a first-round series against Besiktas if there isn’t much juggling. That’s not awfully tempting although it could get worse, depending on what happens with Efes and Fener. Making the playoff semi-finals would be a good return considering the way this season has gone.
Maccabi Tel Aviv
Ah the Winner League post-season, what a glorious piece of nonsense. For those wondering, this year’s playoff format is the same of last year’s which means the quarter-finals are best-of-five and then a straight final four format to crown the champion. No two-legged decider, thankfully, and basically what we get with Euroleague. Maccabi only have a couple of double-round weeks before the regular season ends in mid-May. The most likely scenario is Maccabi gets a nice match-up for that best-of-five series, although they could yet end up with a nightmare series against Hapoel Jerusalem, before who knows what will happen in the final four.
Well it’s not been a fun year in Euroleague for Milano but they are just so far ahead of everyone else in Serie A in spite of that. Top seed in the playoffs should be locked down soon enough and from there it’s really hard to see anyone beating them in the playoffs. They will win Serie A and it’s gloriously over-sized trophy.
This is not a fun place for Kazan. They are going to get either Lokomotiv Kuban or Khimki in the first round of the playoffs and if they somehow get through that, they’re going to get CSKA in the semi-finals. Given they need to lock down at least a place in the final to secure a Euroleague spot, it’s not looking like we’ll see them back in the big show next year.
It’s actually a pretty crowded run-in for Zalgiris but that probably won’t matter a great deal in the end. They have held the title since 2011 and have only lost four playoff games in the last five seasons. I can see them possibly dropping a couple of games in the post-season but don’t be shocked if they sweep. The title is staying in Kaunas.