It is clear that Unicaja starts as one of the top favorites. Ibon Navarro’s team was already in the Final Four last season, repeats the squad, except for the change of Kameron Taylor for Darío Brizuela and once again starts as one of the enemies to beat. The greens share Group A of the first phase with Falco Szombathely of Hungary, French Le Mans and Greek Peristeri.
Like Unicaja, no less than 8-10 other teams start the competition with the goal of winning it. These are the main favorites:
The Lithuanian team led by Giedrius Zibenas will play in Group B, along with Opava, JDA Dijon and the Greek Promitheas Patras. Last season they were left out of the quarterfinal play off only because of the average with Manresa. On their home court in Vilnius they will be a very difficult rival. We have to see if the talent gives them to also be competitive at home.
There is little to say that is not known about the Txus Vidorreta painting. They are a veteran team that knows what they are playing and that aspires to repeat, at least, a place in the Final Four. Led by Marcelinho Huertas and Gio Shermadini, Lenovo is one of the main contenders for the title, although they have not started the season very well in the Endesa League.
The Turkish team, with a recent past in the Euroleague itself, is always a candidate for everything. You once again have a compensated template in which The best known face is that of Janis Tima. Good mix of experience and youth. On their track they will be a very tough enemy. Will they be able to reach the Final Four? At the moment, they are in the same group as Lenovo in the first phase, so it will be a good touchstone for them to play for first place and a direct pass to the second phase with the Tenerife team.
The team of Joan Plaza and Mindaugas Kuzminskas wants to renew old continental laurels in this BCL 23/24. Be careful with them. They already won this competition in 2008 and have put together a very solvent squad, in which the name of Ben McLemore, with 550 games behind him in the NBA. They will have the handicap that their court is sanctioned with 80% of its stands closed due to serious incidents in last year’s quarterfinal play-off match against Hapoel Jerusalem.
Karsiyaka Pine Grove
One of those Turkish teams that always start the competition with stripes, but that will have to demonstrate their alleged quality during the competition. Led by Ufuk Sarica they were finalists in 2021, losing against San Pablo Burgos. Kenan Sipahi, Errick McCollum, Darrun Hilliard, Vernon Carey Jr… there’s a lot of talent on that roster.
The current champion always has to start as a favorite, although it is true that this year’s Telekom has nothing to do with the one that reigned in the competition at the Final Four in Malaga last May. Its six most important players and its coach have gone to Paris Basketball in the Eurocup, the rest of the squad has also emigrated to other destinations. In other words, we are facing a totally new Telekom. His coach now is Roel Moors. They don’t start as the main contender to beat, but…
Another of the Turkish teams that is always in the pools. They have started their League with two victories in three days. Zvezdan Mitrovic’s team has a long squad in which the group stands out compared to the individualitiesfleeing from the dependence on a player that they have suffered in previous seasons
We will have to be very aware of how the political situation in Israel affects it. After being runner-up last season, the Hebrews have almost completely maintained the hard core of last year and have surrounded it with signings who have formed a very top squad, with Aleksandar Dzikic repeating on the bench. A sure candidate for the Final Four, he is considered to be one of the main candidates for this continental title. The atmosphere of their court also makes them almost unbeatable in their lair. But at the moment, with the war situation in Israel, everything is unknown as to what can happen to them.
Another Ottoman team that you always have to count on, even if in Europe it is difficult for them to advance to the last phases. With Orhun Ene on the bench, they have put together a squad with several American players in which the best-known face ands Luke Maye, formerly of Manresa and Granada, last season. They play on a very charming court where they will try to become strong to advance to the Final Four?…
Bertram Derthona Tortona
Italian teams have long ceased to be competitive in Europe. Except for the two Euroleagues, Olimpia Milan and Virtus Bologna, the rest of the palacanestro squads have not performed at a good level in either the Eurocup or the Basketball Champions League. Bertram Derthona Tortona wants to change that dynamic. They have put together a squad with illustrious names such as Leon Radosevic, Kyle Weems and Chris Dowe. They share a group with Igokea, UCAM Murcia and Tofas Bursa so from the first phase it will be seen if they are serious or not.