London awaits Euroleague season
The 2012/13 Turkish Airlines Euroleague season, which will culminate in the Final Fours at the O2 in London in May, begins on Tuesday night with the qualifying round in Italy.
Eight teams will vie for the 24th and final spot in the regular season over the next four days in Desio, Italy with one loss being enough to force a team to settle for a spot in the EuroCup.
The four quarter finals will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday with the semi finals set for Thursday and the final being held on Friday. Early favourites for the spot in the regular season will be Pallancestro Cantu and Unics Kazan - who both had impressive campaigns in the Euroleague last season.
Euroleague Qualifying Round Quarter Finals
CEZ Nymburk (CZE) v Telenet Oostende (BEL) - Tue, 5pm
Pallancestro Cantu (ITA) v Lukoil Academic (BUL) - Tue, 7:45pm
Unics Kazan (RUS) v ratiopharm Ulm (GER) - Wed, 5pm
Le Mans Sarthe (FRA) v BC Donetsk (UKR) - Wed, 7:45pm
The winner of the Qualifying Round will join Group A of the regular season, which begins on October 11, where they will tussle with Panathanaikos (GRE), Real Madrid (ESP), Khimki (RUS), Fenerbahce (TUR) and Union Olimpija (SLO) for one of four spots in the Top 16 stage.
Reigning champions Olympiacos of Greece will be in Group C alongside Caja Laboral (ESP), Anadolu Efes (TUR), Zalgiris (LTU), EA7 Emporio Armani (ITA) and Cedevita Zagreb (CRO).
Gropu D will see last season's runners-up CSKA Moscow (RUS) paired with another team that made the Final Four in FC Barcelona (ESP). Both teams will be looking to progress from a group that also contains Partizan mt:s Belgrade (SRB), Lietuvos Rytas (LTU), Brose Vaskets (GER) and Besiktas (TUR).
The only group that does not contain a Final Four participant from last season will be Group B, but it contains plenty of big names in European basketball in Maccabi Electra (ISR), Montepaschi Siena (ITA), Alba Berlin (GER), Unicaja Malaga (ESP), Asseco Prokom (POL) and Elan Chalon-sur-Saone (FRA).
This season will see a new format for the Top 16, with two groups of eight replacing the traditional four groups of four. The Top 16 stage will last from just after Christmas until April and will see eight teams qualify for quarter finals, which will be contested as a best-of-five series to decide the four teams that will battle it out in London come season's end.
For more info on the Euroleague season, including an early bird deal on a season-long Euroleague.tv pass visit the Euroleague website