Two traditional European basketball squads – and former EuroLeague champions – face each other for the first time since 2003 in this 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals series. Virtus Segafredo Bologna has the home-court advantage in the best-of-three contest against Joventut Badalona.
Virtus and Joventut are two of the 21 teams to ever win the EuroLeague. Virtus did so twice: first in 1998 when it bested AEK Athens in the championship game in Barcelona, Spain, and again in 2001 when it defeated Tau Ceramica Vitoria-Gasteiz in an unforgettable best-of-five playoff series. Joventut lifted the trophy in 1994 with a victory over Olympiacos Piraeus in the championship game in Tel Aviv, Israel. Virtus has captured three other European trophies, highlighted by the 1990 Saporta Cup. Joventut has claimed four other continental trophies, including the EuroCup in 2008 and Korac Cup crowns in 1981 and 1990. This is a playoff series between legendary squads that know how to win.
The only team without a loss this season, Virtus leads the EuroCup in team PIR (107.7), with Joventut ranked second (100.8). Only one other team in EuroCup history has had a better PIR average than Virtus - the 2007-08 Joventut squad that won the title (108.5), finishing the season with a 16-1 record. Virtus has the highest assists average (24.8) in competition history and leads the 2020-21 campaign in scoring (89.2 ppg.). Joventut is second in assists (20.1 ppg.) and third in scoring (86.4 ppg.) this season. Both teams are comfortable in high-tempo games, so expect a lot of points and some fun-to-watch games!
Experience on both sides
Both teams have key veterans who can make the difference in crunch time. Joventut features two-time EuroCup champion Pau Ribas, who lifted the trophy with Joventut in 2008 and Valencia Basket in 2014, and Ante Tomic, who is playing his first EuroCup campaign after 283 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague games (11th in competition history) and three Final Four appearances. Virtus is led by Milos Teodosic, a EuroLeague and EuroCup MVP. Teodosic won the EuroLeague title with CSKA Moscow in 2016 and has taken part in eight Final Fours. Marco Belinelli won the NBA title with San Antonio in 2014 and played in the EuroLeague championship game with Fortitudo Bologna in 2004.
The Joventut- Djordjevic rivalry
Virtus head coach Sasa Djordjevic is not the most popular person in Badalona and Joventut has already started the trash talk – in good spirits. Joventut faced Partizan Belgrade in the 1992 EuroLeague championship game. Tomas Jofresa hit an acrobatic shot with 10 seconds left to give Joventut a 68-70 lead. Djordjevic took the ball from the inbound pass, dribbled downcourt and stopped at the three-point line to bury one of the most iconic shots in European basketball history. Partizan won 71-70 to capture its first – and to date only – EuroLeague title. Almost 30 years later, Djordjevic and Joventut meet again.