The Basketball Champions League is back! Starting this Wednesday, Lenovo Tenerife will retain the continental crown, which coincides with the start of the seventh edition of FIBA Europe’s best club competition. Txus Vidorreta’s band Rytas will host Vilnius, The current Lithuanian champion is at the top of what is considered by many to be the toughest #BasketballCL in history.
The most successful.- The Tenerifeans are one of five teams that have participated in all editions of the BCL, along with AEK of Athens, Nymburk, Ostend and SIG Strasbourg. Canaristalar, who became the champion in the 2017 and 2022 editions, collected 106 matches in total and is the club with the most wins in the tournament history (81). The islands in the competition ended with a historic draw and 24 losses.
Historical order.- Txus Vidorreta is the coach with the most wins, especially 68, all of them at the Canary bench. The all-time standings include other players from current Lenovo Tenerife, such as Sasu Salin, the tournament’s best three-pointer ever; Marcelinho Huertas, who is in second place in Dusan Djordjevic’s (Ostend) maximum assistant list with 358 and 351; or Tim Abromaitis, who is seven rebounds behind the all-time leader: Petr Benda has 339 to 346 (Nymburk).
High level.- The list adopted for the 22/23 season initially included 52 clubs, including the qualifying stage, of which 18 were league champions last season and a total of 35 reached the semi-finals in their local leagues. The list includes representatives from up to 29 countries. Evidence of this year’s level is that teams such as Germany’s Brose Bamberg, who have been in the Euroleague recently, have fallen, for example, in the qualifying rounds.
Templates.- Galatasaray of Dylan Ennis, Dee Bost or Angelo Caloiaro; French Dijon, headed by former canarista Nenad Markovic; Limoges, former European champion or SIG Strasbourg; Hapoel Holon, Daroussafaka, AEK, Dinamo Sassari and a long etc. is on the prestigious list of this edition; in the case of the current tournament runner-up BAXI Manresa, with Lenovo Tenerife plus four other Spanish clubs; Unicaja de Málaga from the previous one; Bilbao Basket and UCAM Murcia.
Same format.- The competition system will be the same as last year. There will be a regular stage of 32 teams divided into eight groups of four. Eight group champions will qualify directly to the Top 16; the second and third will be measured by the second and third from the other groups in a play-in to the best of three games. Once the four groups of four of the top 16 have been determined, the top two of each group will advance to the quarterfinal playoffs, which will be played as best of three games; and from there four teams will come to play the Final Four in one venue.
Lenovo group.- Canada set Framed in Group Hwith Rytas Vilnius, who just dethroned the historic Euroleague Zalguiris Kaunas as Lithuanian champion, and will be their rivals this Wednesday at Santiago Martín (19:30); Peristeri, now led by the legendary Vassilis Spanoulis, in his first bench experience; and Bnei Herzliya, who finished second in Israel after knocking out the mighty Macabbi Tel Aviv in the semi-finals. Greeks and Israelis will meet in Athens this afternoon on opening day.
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