The Euroleague playoffs have begun and Ricky Rubio's squad enters undefeated.
NBA TV is broadcasting Regal FC Barcelona's first match in the Top 16 at Noon Central today.
If you're watching, already watched, or want to talk about something associated with the Wolves that hasn't actually lost this season, this is your place.
If you don't understand how European basketball is organized (as I didn't until this morning) look below the fold.
European Basketball Primer
- The Union of European Leagues of Basketball (ULEB) organizes the Euroleague (highest level of European basketball) and Eurocup competitions (second highest). As such, the ULEB Rankings are the competitive hierarchy of European domestic leagues.
Euroleague (competition format) consists of 5 rounds.
- The Qualifying Rounds that result in two of eight teams moving on to the Regular Season, with the remaining teams going to Eurocup.
- The Regular Season includes 24 teams divided into 4 groups of 6 playing a double round robin.
- The top 4 teams in each group advance to the Top 16 (the 09/10 Top 16 is starting January 27, 2010) where 4 groups of 4 teams play a double round robin.
- The top 2 teams in each group advance to the Quarterfinal Round where each #1 team from the Top 16 is pitted against a #2 team from a different group in a best of 5 series.
- The Final Four consists of the winners of each Quarterfinal series in single-elimination. All told, between the Regular Season and Final Four teams play between 10 and 23 games.
- Teams compete in their domestic leagues where their performance influences invitation to Euroleague and Eurocup. There are often multiple domestic leagues in a country, but they exist for competitive stratification, rather than overlapping. See the ULEB rankings link above for comparison of domestic leagues.
- Lastly, teams often compete in their national cup. For example, Spain has the King's Cup, Italy has the Italian Cup, and Greece has (surprise!) the Greek Cup. In Italy, however, they also have the Italian Championship and the Italian SuperCup (between the top Cup and Champsionship teams).
- This is all to say that for us NBA fans, there's no direct analog for how a European team's season works. NBA teams have the 82-game Regular Season and Playoffs consisting of four rounds. But Panathinaikos, for example, played 35 A1 Ethniki games, 3 Greek Cup games and 22 Euroleague games in their 2008/09 season. By winning all 3 of their competitions (Euroleague, domestic league, national cup), Panathinaikos won their 2nd Triple Crown.