22 September, 2021
27 April, 2022
Sam Dekker (BKSK)
to read

Preview: Eight teams ready for the FIBA Europe Cup Quarter-Finals battle

MUNICH (Germany) - Knockout basketball is upon us as eight teams are left in the battle to be crowned 2022 FIBA Europe Cup winners.

There will be two-legged ties throughout the Play-Offs - including the Final - with the winners of each round decided by the aggregate score.

Here's a look through each of the Quarter-Final matchups:

ZZ Leiden v HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim

First leg: Wednesday March, 9 - Ilshofen (GER) - 19:00 CET 
Second leg: Wednesday March, 16 - Leiden (NED) - 19:30 CET

History: ZZ Leiden had never made it to this stage of the competition before with their previous best campaign coming in the 2018-19 edition when they fell in the Last 16 - losing to eventual winners Dinamo Sassari.

By contrast, this is already a debut campaign to remember for Crailsheim as they started their journey in the Qualifiers, marking their first season in a European competition. They will aim to become the second German side to win the competition after the triumph of Fraport Skyliners in 2016.

Season so far: Leiden almost didn't make it out of the Regular Season, though their 3-3 record would prove to be enough as Mornar Bar suffered defeat on Gameday 6 when a win would have seen them through. The Dutch side then won all three road games in the Second Round on their way to winning the group with five wins out of six.

Meanwhile, Crailsheim's debut began with an impressive road win at FIBA Europe Cup regulars Bakken Bears and they went on to win the group with a 4-2 record. They claimed vital back-to-back wins over Telenet Giants Antwerp and Kyiv-Basket in the Second Round to clinch second place in Group J.

Watch out for
: Danish center Asbjorn Midtgaard has had a strong season for Leiden with averages of 15.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, while club legend Worthy De Jong is still a valuable member at the heart of the team.

Crailsheim guard TJ Shorts leads the competition in efficiency and scoring averages and the American will be key to their success with 18.4 points and 6.3 assists per game as the focal point of the offense.

Bahcesehir College v Sporting CP

First leg: Thursday March, 10 - Lisbon (POR) - 21:30 CET
Second leg: Wednesday March, 16 - Istanbul (TUR) - 18:00 CET

History: Bahcesehir College progressed all the way to the Semi-Finals on their European debut in the 2019-20 season, which was curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Turkish club had been set to face Bakken Bears in the last four.

Sporting CP made its first FIBA Europe Cup appearance last season, but failed to pick up a win in their three games in a shortened Regular Season due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic. This is the farthest a side from Portugal has reached in the competition's history.

Season so far: Bahcesehir won all six games during the Regular Season, though they did survive a scare to beat Iraklis by a single point on the road on Gameday 2. Their winning run was halted by Avtodor Saratov at the start of the Second Round, but it proved to be a minor blip as they went on another five-game winning run.

Sporting recovered from an opening-day loss with three straight home wins as part of a four-game streak to take top spot in Regular Season Group F. Their unbeaten record at home was ended by Oradea, but a double over compatriots Benfica paved the way to a second-place finish in the Second Round.

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Watch out for
: Jamar Smith has been a smooth operator for Bahcesehir and leads the team with 16.4 points per game, while the midseason pickup of Sam Dekker has added another threat.

Travante Williams has been an important all-round contributor for Sporting with 16.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game, while Joshua Patton has the edge in the team's efficiency ratings.

Unahotels Reggio Emilia v Legia Warszawa

First leg: Wednesday March, 9 - Warsaw (POL) - 18:15 CET
Second leg: Wednesday March, 16 - Bologna (ITA) - 20:30 CET

History: Legia Warszawa failed to make it out of the Regular Season on their previous appearance in the 2019-20 season with just one win from six games. They aim to go one better than compatriots Arged BM SLAM Stal, who finished as runners-up last season.

Unahotels Reggio Emilia made their FIBA Europe Cup debut last season and made it all the way to the Quarter-Finals before being knocked out by CSM CSU Oradea. There has been two previous winners from Italy with Umana Reyer Venezia and Dinamo Sassari lifting the title in 2018 and 2019.

Season so far: Reggio Emilia are still unbeaten at home in the competition this season with three victories on home soil helping them to a 4-2 record in the Regular Season. They added three more on their way to clinching top spot in Group J, although they did suffer a surprise 42-point loss to Telenet Giants Antwerp in Belgium.

Legia swept through the Regular Season with a perfect 6-0 record with their first three wins coming in double figures. They dropped their first game to start the Second Round, but bounced back with successive road wins before a decisive third followed in a winner-goes-through encounter at Parma-Parimatch.

Watch out for
: Andrea Cinciarini leads the competition in assists with 8.1 per game with in-form Osvaldas Olisevicius one of the benefactors, having recently played a major role in Lithuania's perfect window in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman has two 30+ point games for Legia this season as the team's leading scorer, while Dariusz Wyka has been a handful on the glass with 8.1 rebounds per game as well as having one of the most recognizable hairstyles in the competition.

CSM CSU Oradea v Bakken Bears

First leg: Wednesday March, 9 - Aarhus (DEN) - 18:30 CET
Second leg: Wednesday March, 16 - Oradea (ROU) - 18:00 CET

History: Both teams have made deep runs in the competition previously upon numerous ventures in the competition. CSM CSU Oradea secured a third-place finish last season when they defeated Parma-Parimatch at the Final Four in Tel-Aviv.

Bakken Bears first reached the Semi-Finals in the 2017-18 edition when they lost 157-144 on aggregate to Italian side Sidigas Scandone, while they were also part of the final four in the 2019-20 season - cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Season so far: Oradea advanced to the Second Round in dramatic fashion on Gameday 6 with their win over Szolnok coupled with a defeat for FC Porto clinching second spot. They built on the opportunity in the next phase with an impressive 5-1 record, with their only blip coming on the road against Benfica.

It has been even less straightforward for Bakken. The Danish champions lost their first two games in the Regular Season before sparking a run of form with four straight wins to advance. However, they only managed a solitary win in the Second Round, albeit an important one as the exclusion of Avtodor Saratov hands them a reprieve.

Watch out for
: Garlon Green is Oradea's leading scorer with 12.3 points per game and is capable of a major highlight or two. The side is filled with experience with the likes of Kris Richard and Alex Gavrilovic adding to a balanced team on both sides of the floor.

Bakken still possess an array of valuable options to cause opposition problems with Ryan Evans their most efficient performer, while Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson leads the team with 16.3 points and 5.2 assists per game and Travis Taylor tops the competition's rebounding charts with 9.1 per game.

Reggio Emilia/Legia v Oradea/Bakken
Bahcesehir/Sporting v Leiden/Crailsheim