Eight BKT EuroCup contenders will try to take another step towards glory when they meet in the single-game eighthfinals on Tuesday, March 5, and Wednesday, March 6. Here’s a look at the pairings.
BKT EuroCup Eighthfinals at a glance
London Lions (12-6) vs. Turk Telekom Ankara (8-10)
The EuroCup Playoffs will land in the British capital for the first time when the London Lions host Turk Telekom Ankara. London placed third this season in Group A, while Turk Telekom had to wait for other results on the final night of the regular season to become the final team to qualify for the postseason as the sixth-placed finisher in Group B.
This will be London’s second straight season on this stage and it will face last season’s EuroCup runner-up. London fell to Joventut Badalona in the eighthfinals last season while Turk Telekom reeled off victories over Germani Brescia, ratiopharm Ulm and Prometey Slobozhanske en route to a finals showdown with Gran Canaria. Boran Guler, Mehmet Yagmur and Melih Dogan are the only players remaining from that run and only Yagmur played in the title game.
Prometey Slobozhanske (10-8) vs. Aris Midea Thessaloniki (9-9)
Prometey Slobozhanske won three of its last four games in the regular season to climb to fourth place in Group A and earn a home game in the eighthfinals against Aris Midea Thessaloniki, which placed fifth in Group B in its first EuroCup campaign in nearly a decade. Aris also arrives at the postseason in good form after back-to-back wins against playoff contenders.
The Ukrainian powerhouse has never played a EuroCup Playoff game on the road. Last season, its first in the competition, Prometey knocked out Veolia Towers Hamburg and Promitheas Patras, in the eighthfinals and quarterfinals, respectively, before coming up short against Turk Telekom Ankara in the semis. All the games were played at Prometey’s home away from home in Riga, Latvia. The last time Aris reached the knockout stage in the EuroCup was in 2006 when it lost to Dynamo Moscow in the championship game.
Dreamland Gran Canaria (12-6) vs. Besiktas Emlakjet Istanbul (9-9)
Defending EuroCup champion Dreamland Gran Canaria will put its crown on the line against Besiktas Emlakjet Istanbul. After winning the first 10 games of the season, Gran Canaria lost its form and lost three of its last four regular season games to fall to third place in Group B. Besiktas, which returned to the competition this season for the first time since 2016, also hit a late-season rut with three straight losses to the top three teams in Group A and placed sixth.
The champs return seven players from their title-winning roster and will be eager to show that experience counts. Gran Canaria disposed of another Turkish squad, Frutti Extra Bursaspor, at this stage last season and then blasted Paris Basketball in the quarterfinals, topped Joventut Badalona in the semis and Turk Telekom Ankara in the championship game. Besiktas head coach Dusan Alimpijevic and guard Derek Needham were both on the Busraspor squad and guard Kyle Allman played on that Paris team, so Besiktas will know what to expect at Gran Canaria Arena.
ratiopharm Ulm (10-8) vs. Joventut Badalona (10-8)
ratiopharm Ulm will host Joventut Badalona in an eighthfinals rematch from two seasons ago in which Ulm stunned heavily favored Joventut. Both teams struggled late in the season with Ulm losing five of its last seven games to place fourth in Group B and Joventut dropping three in a row to finish fifth in Group A.
A handful of players from both sides remain from their famous 2022 showdown in which eighth-seeded Ulm knocked out a Joventut team with the best record in the competition. Nicolas Bretzel, Phillipp Herkenhoff, Karim Jallow and Thomas Klepeisz are still with Ulm, while Joventut features five who played in that game - Pep Busquets, Andres Feliz, Pau Ribas, Ante Tomic and Guillem Vives – as well as Vladimir Brodziansky and Yannick Kraag, who were on the roster. Ulm is seeking its third straight trip to the EuroCup Quarterfinals, while Joventut, which lost in the semifinals to Gran Canaria last season, will try to win a playoff game on the road for the first time since defeating Khimki Moscow Region in the now-defunct Last 16 knockout stage in March 2008. Ricky Rubio and Rudy Fernandez were Joventut’s top scorers that night with 18 points apiece.