By Aris Barkas / email@example.com
For many years Spanish and Russian teams were dominating the competition in the 7DAYS EuroCup.
However, while many contenders still come from Spain and Russia, times are changing.
Since adopting the best-of-three playoffs format, starting in the 2017-18 season, national diversity has been persistent in the clubs competing in the later stage of the EuroCup.
At least six different countries made the quarterfinals each time and this is the third straight year that this is happening since the 2019-20 season was canceled.
That was not the case in the recent past. Between 2010-11 to 2014-15 we had straight finals between Spanish and Russian teams.
The notable exception was the clash between Galatasaray and French club Strasbourg in 2015-16 and since then, including that season, there were two winners of the trophy from Turkey, with Darussafaka being the latest, plus a German finalist in ALBA Berlin back in 2019.
The 2020-21 season is not an exception. While a strong Spanish-Russian presence remains, six different countries are part of the quarterfinals.
Plus Virtus Bologna from Italy which has already qualified to the semifinals, Buducnost VOLI from Montenegro, and AS Monaco from the homonymous principality can be the first teams from their country to compete in the EuroCup finals.
That’s not a small feat by any means and proves that EuroCup can work as a pathway to the EuroLeague, giving this season to clubs from 15 different countries the chance to go all the way and make it to the big stage.
It’s obvious that certain clubs are more experienced at this level of competition and more ready to jump to the highest level. And of course, clubs from certain countries have the know-how, the tradition, and the budget that permits them to aim for the trophy, while others have more modest ambitions.
What can’t be denied is the progress made by the EuroCup teams, especially during recent seasons, and the rise in the tournament’s competitive level.
After all, the two top EuroCup teams of each season must be ready for the next step and you can’t be ready overnight for the EuroLeague if you don’t have a solid foundation to build upon.