2nd Round of a Breathtaking Competition

The top 16 matches in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague got under way on january 18. The teams competing for the final four, which will take place in İstanbul, are gearing up for an increasingly fierce contest.

E Group
The most formidable member of this group, which includes Turkey’s Anadolu Efes and Galatasaray Medical Park, is CSKA Moscow, the only team to finish the first round undefeated. The group’s other big gun is Olympiacos, which never lost a home game during the regular season. After an uneven performance so far, Anadolu Efes is forging ahead with extra motivation for the Final Four, to be played on its home court. Galatasaray meanwhile, aggressive in its first season of play in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, faces strong rivals in the Top 16. 

Olympiacos was the team that lured its opponents into committing the most fouls (239) in the first round.

F Group
Finishing top in their group, last year’s Final Four rivals, Real Madrid and Montepaschi Siena, are paired with Group E in the playoffs. This means that if the Turkish teams in Group E stay in the Top 8, their rivals will emerge from this group. The group’s number three is Unicaja Malaga, which got the most rebounds (380) in the regular season. Number four is Bizkaia Bilbao, Euroleague’s newest addition.

G Group
Looking easier than the others, Turkey’s Fenerbahçe Ülker’s group is made up of teams that could do anything at any moment. Far off its earlier form, last year’s champ Panathinaikos ranks out front in the statistics for ball steals and offensive rebounds. Meanwhile Unics Kazan with its experienced players has big names like Henry Domercant and Terrell Lyday in its lineup. Although Italian team EA Milan could rise to the Top 16 at the last minute, it tends to lose the ball a lot and commit too many fouls.

H Group
Another two major contenders in this challenging competition are in this group. Barcelona with its fabulous defense has great team chemistry to boot. And Maccabi Electra, which didn’t lose a single home game, finished second in the tough Group C. Bennet Cantù has emerged as the most balanced team in Euroleague history up to now, while Lithuania’s Zalgiris Kaunas, with players like Sonny Weems and Marko Popovich on its roster, looks bent on pursuing its ambitions.