By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
The new season of the Basketball Champions League starts this week as 24 teams jump into the battle for the four remaining berths in the Regular Season.
Ten domestic champions and 22 countries are represented in the four Qualification Groups. The four hosts will welcome five more teams but only one side of each group will end up punching in the ticket to the Regular Season.
The single-elimination format directly connects to one of the main lessons taught in the knockout stage of EuroBasket with multiple leading stars on the receiving end of upsets, anything can happen in 40 minutes on the court. Especially at this extremely early stage of the season, picking out the frontrunners is complicated. However, some teams looking stronger on paper can be labeled as favorites, at least for the sake of discussion.
Undervaluing the teams ultimately claiming the last-minute pass to the Regular Season would be a mistake. Last season, Prometey and U-BT Cluj-Napoca turned heads coming out of the Qualifiers, while earlier successful examples include Hereda San Pablo Burgos going from the 2019 Qualifiers to back-to-back championships and MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg extending to the Final Four in 2018.