When it comes to basketball in Europe, the Euroleague is extremely important but it doesn’t tell the full story of club basketball at the top level of the game. The second-tier level tournament, the Eurocup Basketball event, is extremely popular and it provides a great deal of excitement, tension and drama for basketball lovers, fans and bettors all across Europe and beyond.
This tournament, sitting one level below the Euroleague, is organised by the Euroleague Basketball Company and it is predominantly made up of basketball teams from the leading domestic national leagues in Europe that form the ULEB, the Union of European Basketball Leagues. The Eurocup is for leading European basketball teams that do not hold a contract to participate in the Euroleague.
Teams gain entry to the Eurocup through their performance in their national league and cup competitions, but there is also scope for teams to be invited into the tournament and there are wild card places up for grabs. The Eurocup came into place in 2002 with it being considered as the result of a fusion between the now defunct Saporta Cup and FIBA Korac Cup competitions.
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For the start of the 2013-14 season, the Eurocup was divided into two separate regional conferences, the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference for the Regular Season phase. At the beginning of the 2014-15 season, the competition welcomed 36 teams into the group stage. This was split into 6 groups, with every group containing 6 teams.
The 36 teams were derived of the 7 teams that were knocked out in the 2014/15 qualification round and 29 teams that gained direct entry to the Eurocup either through wild card entry or their domestic results for the previous season.
Following on from the regular season is the Last 32. The top four teams from each group progressed to the Last 32 where they are joined by the 8 Euroleague teams that fail to qualify for the Euroleague Top 16. These teams are separated into 8 groups, with four teams featuring in every group.
The top two teams from these groups make their way through the Eight-Finals stage and this round is determined on a home and away basis with the winner being decided by an aggregate score over the two legs. The team that holds the higher place in the Last 16 Standings gets to play the second leg of this round at home.
The eight winners progress through to the quarter finals, which are again played out in a home and away format, with the winner decided by aggregate score over the two legs. The team that has the higher ranking with respect to the Last 16 standings will play the second leg of this series at home.
The four winners progress through to the semi-finals, which are again played out in a home and away format, with the winner decided by aggregate score over the two legs. The team that has the higher ranking with respect to the Last 16 standings will play the second leg of this series at home.
The two winning teams will progress to the Finals stage and again, this will be played over a two legged home and away series with the winner being determined by the aggregate score over the two legs. The team that has the higher ranking with respect to the Last 16 standings will play the second leg of this series at home.
The team that has won the Eurocup the most times is Valencia, who have three triumphs to their name, 2002-03, 2009-10 and 2013-14 and Valencia also lost in the 2011-12 final. Lietuvos Rytas and Khimki both have two Finals triumphs and one defeat while 6 other teams have won a final. Spain and Russia have both provided the champions on five separate occasions while Lithuania has provided the winner twice and Israel has provided one winner.
At the start of the 2012-13 season, arena standards were brought in with respect to the capacity for home match games. Every club must play their home games in an arena that had the capacity to seat a minimum of 3,000 fans. In comparison with the Euroleague, non-contract teams must hold their Euroleague home games in an arena capable of seating 5,000 people and contract teams must host their home games in an arena that can seat at least 10,000 people.
The highest attendance record for a Eurocup game came on the 26th of March 2014 when Crvena Zvezda defeated Budivelnyk 79-70 at the Kombank Arena in Belgrade in front of a crowd of 24,232.
With respect to accumulated totals, the leaders are:
- Points: Mire Chatman from the United States with 1187 points
- Rebounds: Andre Riddick from the United States with 471 points
- Assists: Stefan Markovic from Serbia with 319 assists
- Steals: Mire Chatman from the United States with 167 steals
- Blocks: Andre Riddick from the United States with 147 blocks
- Index Ratings: Mire Chatman from the United States with an index rating of 1472
With respect to average totals, the leaders are:
- Points: Igor Rakočević from Serbia with 19.05 points
- Rebounds: Mario Austin from the United States with 8.21 points
- Assists: Lamont Jones from the United States with 5.13 assists
- Steals: Jerry McCullough from the United States with 2.82 steals
- Blocks: Andre Riddick from the United States with 1.77 blocks
- Index Ratings: Michael Wright from the United States with an index rating of 22.14
The most points scored in an individual game was 49 points, scored by Randy Duck of the Brighton Bears against Cholet Basket in the 2003-04 season. The most rebounds in an individual game was 22 rebounds by Lazaros Papapdopoulos of Dynamo Moscow against Aris Thessaloniki which was achieved in the 2004-05 season. The most assists in an individual game was 16, by Omar Cook of Budućnost Podgorica in a game against Ventspils in the 2014-15 season.
In the history of the Eurocup, there have only been 5 triple-doubles scored. The most impressive was achieved by Todor Stoykov from Lukoil Academic in a game against KK Zagreb in a game in the 2003-04 season. Stoykov achieved 33 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in the game.