By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Basketball Champions League quarterfinals start this week and this time around, things are already more tense than usual.
The unexpected stand of Murcia creates an unprecedented situation. Speaking about the referees is not something new, however openly accusing a whole competition of favoritism is a first for the BCL.
And while this is not a shock, considering everything that usually goes into a showdown between clubs from the same country, obviously creates a different kind of context.
On the other hand, AEK is expected to travel with Greek fans to Israel for the game against Hapoel Jerusalem in what’s expected to be a memorable game.
Tenerife hosts Manresa on a repeat of last season’s final and so far the “quietest” series seems to be the coupling between Telekom Basket Bonn and SIG Strasbourg, with the fireworks expected on the court, especially by Bonn’s star and MVP candidate TJ Shorts.
That’s why Murcia’s reaction is puzzling, to say the least, or a very blunt attempt from an underdog to create extra pressure on the favorite or even on the referees.
So, it was about time. There has been always a feel-good factor in the BCL from day one and most teams were just happy to have a chance to compete at a continental level. Pretty much everyone considered participation itself as the main reward for having a good season in their domestic leagues.
This time, things are a bit nasty at least in this particular case. And, strangely enough, that’s one more proof of the growth of the competition. You don’t get petty and nasty about something that you don’t care about…