June 27, 2017
FIBA announced the participants for EuroLeague and EuroCup for the upcoming season on Tuesday. As was the case last season, there were more applicants than available spots, meaning that qualifying games will be scheduled. Teams will find out the groups for each competition next week when the draw is conducted.
18 teams applied for the 16 EuroLeague places. The teams that will definitely be in the competition include the usual trio of Russian teams, defending champions Dynamo Kursk as well as UMMC Ekaterinburg and Nadezhda Orenburg. Galatasaray’s strong regular season in Turkey gave them the chance to earn back their spot, joining Fenerbahce and domestic and EuroCup winners Yakin Dogu University. The extra teams mean that only Villeneuve and Bourges qualify directly from France. 6 countries earned an automatic spot with some traditional powers returning as Avenida represents Spain, Schio represents Italy, Sopron represents Hungary, Wisla represents Poland, and ZVVZ USK Prague represents the Czech Republic. Castors Braine returns to represent Belgium.
The remaining 2 spots have already had their qualifying format determined. Lattes Montpellier of France will look to increase French representation, but they will have an interesting series against an Atomeromu team that impressed in Hungary. Polkowice also looks to return, but the Polish team will have to navigate past a real upstart as Piestanske Cajky is the surprise new entry from Slovakia. Qualifiers will be played in a home and home format with the team mentioned first hosting the second game. The losing teams will drop down to EuroCup for their regular season. In the past, some qualifiers have been cancelled due to teams pulling out, so it will remain to be seen whether these high stakes games will be played.
EuroCup expands to 40 teams in the regular season, but still had 2 more teams than places. As usual, the competition is split into Eastern and Western sections for the group stage named Conference 1 and Conference 2. The Eastern qualifier will be between Spartak Noginsk of Russia and Gdynia of Poland. In the Western half, Amsterdam Angels, the composite Dutch team will face Hainaut of France. Qualifiers will be played in a home and home format with the team mentioned first hosting the second game.
In the East, a number of familiar teams will be involved. 5 teams from Turkey are included as Abdullah Gul University, Besiktas, Hatay, Istanbul University, and Mersin will be looking to repeat dominance from their country from last season. Enisey Krasnoyarsk, MBA Moscow, and Spartak Moscow represent Russia. The big story is the inclusion of a number of Polish teams as Gorzow, Bydgoszcz, Sleza Wroclaw, and Torun join the fray. The other country with multiple representatives is Slovakia as Ruzomberok joins traditional powerhouse Good Angels Kosice. Sepsi bring Romanian representation back to the competition while Olympiacos of Greece, TTT Riga of Latvia, and Umea of Sweden are other teams to be the only ones from their country.
There are plenty of countries represented in the Western side of the field. Girona returns, joined by their league-mates from Gernika. Charleville and Nantes represent France while Wasserburg and Keltern return from Germany. Virtus Ragusa and Reyer Venezia are the pair from Italy and KP Brno and Nymburk continue Czech participation. The country with the most teams is Hungary as DVTK, Pecs, Gyor, and Cegled all joined. Namur of Belgium, Elfic Fribourg of Switzerland, and newcomers G.D.E.S. Santo Andre from Portugal are the teams who are the only ones from their country.