June 23, 2016
FIBA announced the teams in contention to play for its two pan-European competitions in the upcoming season on Wednesday ahead of the draw that will be conducted on Monday to determine groups and matchups. The number of teams exceeds the number of spots available again, so qualifying playoffs will need to be played unless teams pull out later. The number of countries involved at this point has increased again as well.
Fifteen of the sixteen EuroLeague clubs will qualify automatically. The last spot will be determined by a playoff between Spanish upstarts Conquero and historical Polish giants Polkowice, who could return after some time away from the competition. Most of the teams that have already qualified are familiar names. The same three Russian teams, UMMC Ekaterinburg, Nadezhda Orenburg, and Dynamo Kursk return. Local powerhouses USK Praha of the Czech Republic, Schio of Italy, Wisla Krakow of Poland, and Avenida of Spain will be in the mix. France will have three teams again as Lattes Montpellier returns to join Bourges and Villeneuve. Sopron will no longer be the only Hungarian team as Gyor will join again after some time away. The big shakeup will be in the Turkish teams as Fenerbahce is back, but the surprise stories of last season take spots as well with Hatay and Mersin looking to build on their last campaigns.
The loser of the two game playoff will drop down to the Western Conference (2) of EuroCup as they join 40 teams that applied for access to the other 31 spots. The other ten teams that have automatically to the conference include French sides Nice and Landes, and returnees Wasserburg from Germany, Lulea from Sweden, Nymburk from the Czech Republic, and Uniao Sportiva from Portugal. Castors Braine drops back down to this competition and fellow Belgian team Namur also returns. Girona also drops down from a higher level while a new Italian team joins the fray in the form of Virtus Eirene Ragusa.
The last five spots in the conference will be determined by a set of playoffs with matchups still to be drawn. Charleville and Nantes from France, Valosun Brno from the Czech Republic, Reyer Venezia from Italy, Umea from Sweden, and Fribourg from Switzerland are some of the more familiar names. Gdynia is a new entry from Poland, while more German teams have applied in the form of Keltern and Freiburg, and a conglomerate Dutch team will be entered again, this time named Amsterdam Angels.
The Eastern Conference (1) has twelve teams of its teams in place already. The competition will be fierce with several perennial EuroLeague teams dropping down as Good Angels Kosice from Slovakia and Galatasaray and Abdullah Gul University of Turkey will be involved. Maccabi Ashdod of Israel returns after an absence, joining regular participants like TTT Riga of Latvia and Pecsi and Miskolc of Hungary. Olympiacos of Greece and Hoptrans-Sirenos of Lithuania bring the competition to new countries. Three Russian teams also earned automatic bids as the more famous Spartak Moscow is joined by upstarts MBA Moscow and Dynamo Novosibirsk.
Qualifiers for the last four spots include a number of teams that have participated frequently, including Enisey Krasnoyarsk and Chevakata Vologda from Russia. Two Hungarian teams are set for this round as Cegledi joins more consistent participants Pecs. Piestanke Cajky also joins in from Slovakia. Istanbul University will look to earn their spot back and are joined by two other Turkish teams as Samsun Canik Belediye and YDUBGD are also involved.