With bigger groups and a longer schedule than ever, the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season offers all kinds of intriguing storylines about what teams will gain the upper hand after 18 games. Here's the early take on 10 solid contenders in Group A.
Boulogne Metropolitans 92
Boulogne Metropolitans 92 comes off a fantastic 2020-21 7DAYS EuroCup season in which the team fought through injuries and adversities to win two groups on its return to the quarterfinals. Metropolitans managed to finish first in its regular season group with a 7-3 record and did the same in the Top 16 (4-2) against more-experienced teams like Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, Partizan NIS Belgrade and Dolomiti Energia Trento. Metropolitans, however, had a bittersweet end to a great season after getting swept by Herbalife Gran Canaria in the first round of the playoffs. Metropolitans showed what it is capable of and now hopes to use that experience while playing consecutive EuroCup seasons for the first time since 2015.
Dolomiti Energia Trento
One of the EuroCup's stalwarts of late, Dolomiti Energia Trento proves year after year to be a club that cannot be taken lightly. A former EuroCup semifinalist, Trento will make its fifth consecutive EuroCup appearance, having gotten past the regular season in three of those chances. Last season, Trento opened its campaign by winning the first six games to become one of the first to book a Top 16 spot. It was also on the verge of making the EuroCup Quarterfinals – only to miss out on a tie-breaker by 2 points. Its ability to build on past experiences could make Trento one of the dark horses in the competition, ready to raise some eyebrows once again.
Hamburg Towers is the only newcomer to the 7DAYS EuroCup this season, which marks yet another step forwards for a young club that was still competing in the German second division in 2019. Hamburg comes off its best season ever, which allowed the German powerhouse to be invited to the EuroCup, and will not strive to make the most of this opportunity. The team has only competed since 2014, so competing in the EuroCup is, by far, its biggest challenge to date. Hamburg has been ambitious since day one, putting together a really solid structure and investing in the right staff, like sports director Marvin Willoughby and head coach Pedro Calles. Expect Hamburg to surprise a lot of EuroCup fans.
Former EuroCup champion Joventut Badalona enters its eighth EuroCup campaign with great ambition, ready to keep building on its recent results. After a full decade away from the competition, Joventut returned to the EuroCup in the 2019-20 campaign, reaching the Top 16. Joventut did even better in the 2020-21 season, grabbing as many as six road wins. That allowed the team to reach the EuroCup Quarterfinals for the first time since the club won the title in 2008. Joventut remains loyal to its winning formula: homegrown talents coming from one of the best youth programs in world basketball, and a good number of veterans handling high-pressure situations. Expect Joventut to be a tough contender.
Lietkabelis Panevezys enters its fourth 7DAYS EuroCup season in six years ready to learn from its previous experience and go past the regular season for the first time since its debut in 2016-17. Fully established as one of the best teams in a basketball-crazy country like Lithuania, Lietkabelis enters the 2021-22 EuroCup in search of the consistency required to qualify for the new knock-out stage. Staying strong at home should be critical for all teams, and Lietkabelis relies on its fan base to make the difference at Cido Arena. Lietkabelis's best EuroCup result was a Top 16 finish in 2017, which if repeated would mean reaching the playoffs under the new format.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar heads into its ninth EuroCup season as one of the top candidates to lift the trophy. Lokomotiv won its only EuroCup title in 2013 and has remained a very strong contender most of the way. Last season, Lokomotiv returned to the EuroCup playoffs but lost against UNICS Kazan in the quarterfinals. By keeping head coach Evgeny Pashutin, it is guaranteed that Lokomotiv should keep offering its fun-to-watch, past-paced basketball brand. The Russian powerhouse is undergoing many roster changes but a longer regular season works in its favor to adjust, get better month by month and, of course, be ready to fight when the title is on the line.
Slowly but steadily, MoraBanc Andorra is becoming a classic team in the EuroCup. Andorra first entered the competition in 2016 but is already in its fifth consecutive campaign at this level. It may be a small country, but its basketball team is the pride of the whole nation and its biggest sports reference. Its slogan, Mai Por (Never Afraid) defines its trademark character. Andorra made it all the way to the EuroCup semifinals in 2019, in what has been its best season in the competition to this date. It reached the Top 16 in each of the last two seasons, too. Andorra hopes to use its experience to adjust to the new format and reach higher than ever in the 2021-22 EuroCup.
Partizan NIS Belgrade
It's early in the summer, but few places have had or likely will as an exciting an offseason as Partizan NIS Belgrade. The Serbian powerhouse brought back home nine-time EuroLeague champion Zeljko Obradovic, the man who started his coaching journey with the club exactly 30 years ago. Partizan left behind an underwhelming last season that saw the team miss out on all its trophy hopes and is now in the midst of a roster revamp, too. The club enters its fifth consecutive year in the EuroCup, but with the bar set at an all-time high, it is looking to compete for all the glory. With Obradovic guiding the team on the bench and the support of the incredible black-and-white fans, everyone who knows basketball around the continent will have their eyes on Partizan in the new edition of the 7DAYS EuroCup.
The most decorated team in the history of Polish basketball returns to the 7DAYS EuroCup after a long hiatus as it is looking to get back on the path of restoring its old glory days. Slask Wroclaw has won 17 Polish League titles, but none since 2002. The team previously played twice in the EuroCup and got through the regular season each time. But during the 13 years since its last EuroCup appearance Slask has faced relegation to the lower ranks of Polish basketball – twice. The team is poised to build on the last season's domestic success and continue making progress as it attacks new goals.
Turk Telekom Ankara
Turk Telekom Ankara enters its sixth EuroCup campaign – but just its second since 2010 – with strong new aspirations. Telekom comfortably made it to the Turkish League playoffs last season and is ready to keep that momentum going in its return to the EuroCup. It is a perfect fit: an ambitious club looking for new, high-level challenges. It is also a traditional club in Turkish and European basketball, founded in 1954 and backed by the national telephone company. As one of the main sports references in Ankara, the Turkish capital, Telekom has all it takes to be successful in the 2021-22 EuroCup.