February 18, 2023
EuroLeague Scenarios: Lots left to decide as final two weeks near
Which matchups will determine the final postseason spots?
There are only two weeks left in the EuroLeague regular season. The best news is that the schedule, by coincidence or not, have made things easy for us anxious fans wanting to know the final standings before we get even remotely close to the games taking place.
Only one spot remains open for postseason qualification in Group A, with three teams having already clinched a playoff berth. Possibilities are much more open in Group B, though, with no teams qualified yet and six still in contention to grab one of the four available places.
Let’s break down who can qualify next, and what might happen during the final two weeks of play ahead to start getting the itch of the postseason.
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Group A: Win-and-in for Polkowice and Tango Bourges in pivotal penultimate week showdown
Three teams are already qualified for the postseason in this group. Fenerbahçe leads the way with 22 points in 12 games. With the EuroLeague awarding a “loser’s point” (the winner gets two points, the loser gets one) in every game, the Turkish team will have a minimum of 24 points by the end of the regular season, even if they lose both games. All Fenerbahçe needs is a single win out of these final two games to guarantee first place in the group.
Praha and Valencia, both with 20 points, have also clinched a postseason berth. They can still be jumped over in the standings, though, by one of Polkowice or Tango — but not by both. That’s because the Polish side and the French side face off this upcming week in a pivotal showdown.
EuroLeague tiebreakers go first by head-to-head matchups, then by head-to-head point differential, then head-to-head points scored before heading to overall point differential and overall points scored.
When Tango and Polkowice met back in Week 6, the visiting Polish team defeated Tango Bourges in France by the tiniest of margins: a one-point difference, 63-62. So for Polkowice, it’s rather simple: win and you have the tiebreaker over Tango by beating them twice, thus you clinch your spot in the next round.
Meanwhile, for Tango, a win by anything more than a single point will also give the French side the second tiebreaker and, thus, the playoff spot.
If Tango improbably wins by a single point, all head-to-head tiebreakers would be evened up, leading to … , then the game-points differential! Through 12 games, Tango is at +29, while Polkowice is at -18. So a Tango one-point win would create a 49-point gap between the two teams. But Tango’s final regular season opponent is top-ranked Fenerbahçe, while Polkowice faces seventh-place KSC Szekszvard of Hungary. It wouldn’t be impossible to see a wild swing … if that scenario even matters after Week 13.
But a win of any type for Polkowice, or any win by two points or more for Tango, will clinch the playoff spot. Pretty high stakes for this matchup.
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Group B: DVTK needs a miracle as Spanish sides prepare for final week showdown
While everything remains very open in Group B and no team has qualified yet, things will get much clearer by the end of next week. The two Spanish teams — Perfumerías Avenida and Spar Girona — are fighting for a fourth spot, and while DVTK is still technically alive, they would need a dramatic swing to give themselves a chance.
DVTK lost the first game against their Week 13 opponent Avenida by 42 points back in Week 6, 94-52. In order to have the tiebreak advantage over Avenida, DVTK will need to win this week by at least 43 points.
DVTK finishes up at last place Basket Landes, so there’s a chance they could win both games and get to 22 points total. But they likely won’t be alone there, because the two Spanish sides face off in the final weekend, too. And while DVTK and Girona split their two matchups, Girona has the 12-point head-to-head differential.
The best shot for DVTK is to win both of their games and have at least one of the top three teams — Sopron Basket, CBK Mersin or Beretta Familia Schio — to lose both of their remaining matchups and create a multi-team tie at 22 points. But all three teams play the only two eliminated teams once in the final two weeks, meaning it’s likely they’ll clear the 22-point threshold.
So, the only chance for DVTK to qualify, then, is to defeat Avenida by at least 43 points, then hope for Avenida to pull off a very close win over Girona in the last week and make up the total (group) game-point difference by blowing out Landes in Week 14. Such is life when you’re staring up at a 115-point gap between you and the team you’re needing to pass for the postseason.
The final position, realistically, will be decided in that Girona-Avenida showdown in Week 14. When they faced off earlier this year, the Catalan side Girona crushed Avenida 74-48 at home, meaning last year’s Final Four participants will need to match the blowout loss with a win if it comes down to a head-to-head tiebreak.
But it might not. Girona faces CBK Mersin next week at home, where they’ve been formidable all season, beating everyone but DVTK so far. Wins by Girona and Avenida in Week 13 would turn Week 14 into a win-and-in showdown. But no matter what, both teams will still have a postseason shot after this week.
Schio and Sopron, meanwhile, face off in Week 14. So as we enter the final two weeks, it seems we know who the postseason teams likely are — Sopron, Mersin, Schio and one of the Spanish squads. What place they finish in? That’s still anyone’s guess.
The final week of the regular-season finale is set for March 1, with every team playing that day. And while the postseason will begin with the best-of-three quarterfinals on March 14, there’s still plenty of drama and excitement left in these last two regular season weeks.
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Written by Antonio Losada
International freelance writer covering the WNBA overseas. Bylines at places, touching different bases. Always open to discussion over @chapulana || Full portfolio
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