On Friday, FIBA announced the teams competing in EuroLeague and EuroCup for the upcoming season. Draws for qualifiers and groups for both competitions will be conducted on Thursday and broadcast on FIBA’s YouTube channel. The combination of traditional powerhouses and new faces means that both competitions had more interested teams than spots, which should lead to some competitive qualifying games.
Twenty teams were eligible for the continent’s premier competition so only twelve could qualify directly with eight teams competing for the last four spots. That number of teams means that the powerhouse countries were only given two direct spots. Defending champions UMMC Ekaterinburg will be joined by Dynamo Kursk from Russia. Turkish champions Fenerbahce and Hatay will represent their league. Bourges and Carolo will represent France to round out the countries with one direct entry. A number of other traditional names also earned automatic spots as Final Four hosts Sopron will represent Hungary, Castors Braine continues to carry the torch for Belgium, and Schio of Italy, Polkowice of Poland, Avenida of Spain, and USK Praha of the Czech Republic round out the list of champions.
The number of teams involved mean that some good teams will be fighting for qualification. Fortunately, the earlier end to the WNBA season and some time off after national team competition should mean that teams will be at full strength in October. Nadezhda Orenburg of Russia and ESBVA of France are two teams that are used to not having to fight for their spots who will now have to survive this round. Turkish surprises Cukurova are taking the step up while Wisla Krakow of Poland are another traditional name who could face a test. Reyer Venezia of Italy and Szekszard of Hungary will look to increase their country’s representation at the highest level. TTT Riga of Latvia is looking to recapture former glories while powerhouse Olimpiacos continue to try to introduce Greece back to a bigger stage. Teams that lose their qualifiers will drop down to EuroCup.
The regular season will feature ten groups of four teams again. The teams will be split into an eastern section, known as Conference 1, and a western section, known as Conference 2. Sixteen teams in each conference are already known while two teams on each side will come from EuroLeague qualifying losers and each side will have two qualifying matchups to determine the final teams.
In the east, expect the Turkish teams to be strong again as Istanbul giants Galatasaray and Besiktas are joined by Botas and Mersin. Russia will also have a number of teams as Enisey Krasnoyarsk, MBA Moscow, Spartak Moscow, and promising newcomers Inventa Kursk have automatic berths. Poland’s reintegration into the wider continental scene continues as Bydgoszcz, Torun, and Gorzow will be there. Umea continues to represent Sweden, this time being joined by Sodertalje. Romania’s dominant force Sepsi returns after a surprise run, while Tsmoki-Minsk represents Belarus and Beroe will add Bulgarian participation to proceedings. Qualifiers in this half will see three teams try to further increase participation from their countries as Spartak Noginsk of Russia, Orman of Turkey, and Gdynia of Poland are joined by surprise entry Niki Lefkadas of Greece.
The west should have strong French teams again as Tarbes, ASVEL, BLMA, and Lattes all know that they will be playing. Hungary will provide three teams as Gyor, Cegled, and Miskolc are all threats. KP Brno and Nymburk make the Czech Republic the other country to already know that they are sending multiple teams. Girona of Spain, surprise Germany champions Keltern, and Fribourg of Switzerland all rejoin proceedings. Ruzomberok is the lone team from Slovakia as they are now set up to be the powerhouse in the country. Celje of Slovenia had an exceptionally young and talented team last season and this will be a good step for them to grow in stature as a club while Uniao Sportiva will be ready to welcome teams after they make long trips out to the Azores. Sint-Katelijne-Waver is the only known Belgian representative, but the qualifiers will be make or break for the country with Namur and newcomers Liege Panthers looking to progress. Nantes of France and Gernika Bizkaia of Spain are also looking to boost their countries’ numbers.