FIBA Europe Cup - Wednesday Focus: Week 6
MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) - The final day of the FIBA Europe Cup Regular Season is upon us and there are still as many as five places in the Second Round up for grabs. Elan Chalon became the latest team to join the ranks of qualified teams on Tuesday, bringing the total number of teams with tickets to the next phase to 20.
Perhaps the most intriguing battle for qualification will take place in Group B, where Kormend and Donar Groningen face off in an almost elimination style duel that will determine the fate of both teams. Meanwhile, Group J features a similar, yet indirect tussle between Apoel and Pardubice.
However, the Czech side nullified these efforts with an upset against then-undefeated Tsmoki, as they caught up with Apoel in the standings and re-joined the qualification race with full intensity.
Although the situation in Group J was severely scrambled, it is clear that the group leaders from Minsk are through to the Second Round, even if they were to finish third in the standings in a possible three-way tie.
After the latest results, such is also the case with Pardubice. However, Apoel control their own destiny and would progress to the next round with victories against Tsmoki.
There are two contrasting scenarios that await Apoel, depending on the result of the final game in Belarus. On the one hand, they would top the group with a win. On the other, Dimitrios Koustenis's men could drop to third place if they lose and Pardubice picks up a victory against Siauliai, as expected.
There is also a possibility for another option: Apoel could finish second in the group even with a loss against Tsmoki, if Pardubice lost to Siauliai.
Although a third-place finish would not automatically spell elimination for Apoel, they would no longer control their own situation, as point differential would determine the teams that advance.
Generally speaking, with a good point differential, one qualifying victory could prove enough to claim one of the best third-place finisher spots reserved for Conference 2.
Although knock-out stages are still quite a bit away in the FIBA Europe Cup, the Group B game between Kormend and Donar Groningen will give us an early taste of the genre. Heading into the final fixture, both teams are knotted with identical 3-2 records in the standings, but there may be place in the Second Round for only one of them.
French side BCM Gravelines have already locked up qualification, leaving their Hungarian and Dutch counterparts to battle it out for the second remaining place in a do-or-die type of game.
Donar won the first match-up between the sides earlier in November, surviving to take a 79-74 victory in Groningen, but Kormend stayed in the race by steam-rolling group leaders BCM Gravelines 85-60 last week.
After Tuesday's results in other groups, only Kormend are in contention for one of the best third-placed qualification palces, with SL Benfica claiming one spot allocated for Conference 1 already.
Due to their poor point differential, only finishing second in Group B can send Groningen to the Second Round. Therefore, a win is necessary for Donar to avoid elimination.
Meanwhile, Kormend can afford to lose by up to 8 points. In this case, they would progress as one of the best third-placed teams. If the Hungarian side lost by more than 8 points, the spot would go to Belfius Mons-Hainaut from Group C.