Five former champions and three would-be imitators of them fill the field of eight teams that will carry their 7DAYS EuroCup dreams forward into the quarterfinals after being well-tested in the Top 16 that ended on Wednesday.
The six rounds of the Top 16 separated the survivors from some inspired competitors and marked the path that each team must take to reach the promised land of a EuroCup title – and with it, passage to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague – in two months' time.
Those five former champions – Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar (2013), Rytas Vilnius (2005, 2009) Unicaja Malaga (2017), UNICS Kazan (2011), and Valencia Basket (2003, 2010, 2014) – account for half of the first 16 titles won in the EuroCup since its founding in 2003.
Those same teams have been runners-up on five other occasions, as has another of this season's quarterfinalists, ALBA Berlin. The remaining two spots go to a playoffs newcomer, MoraBanc Andorra, and a team that has made it to the quarterfinals once before, but more than a decade ago, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne.
Two of the three teams that have not won the title before, ALBA and ASVEL, will have home-court advantage in the quarterfinals. And since ASVEL plays MoraBanc, the semifinals are sure to have one new team this season.
In the other three series, ALBA and its veteran head coach, Aito Garcia Reneses, go against his former club, Unicaja Malaga. Valencia will have home-court advantage against Rytas Vilnius in a series between teams with five EuroCup titles combined. And UNICS will be at home for Game 1 and, if necessary, Game 3 against fellow Russian powerhouse Lokomotiv.