College basketball's Midnight Madness is just two weeks away, but the preliminary round of Euroleague basketball has already started. Remember that 22 of the regular season competitors have already been determined. This preliminary round is to narrow 8 teams down and select the final 2 regular season competitors. The first games were home-and-away elimination matches where the most total points won.
We start with Greece #3 vs Greece #4. And Greece #3 wins. Remember Pittsburgh’s Levon Kendall? In the two games he scored 7 points and grabbed 5 rebounds for the winning team. Remember Billy Keys who played for New Mexico St? Of course not, but he’s one of Greece #3’s best players scoring 28 points and grabbed 9 boards. Remember Jared Homan of Iowa St? He scored 19 points and grabbed 12 boards for the victors. Hooray for Greece #3.
Elsewhere Germany #3 beat France #3. Both teams participated in the Euroleague regular season last year, so France #3 is sad. Rashad Wright of Georgia scored 14 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists for Germany #3.
Also Italy #3 beat the Champions of the Latvian League. Cartier Martin of Kansas St. scored 15 points and grabbed 6 rebounds for Italy #3. Daniel Hackett of USC scored 35 points, grabbed 5 boards, and dished out 4 assists for Italy #3. Now that’s what I’m looking for, a college basketball player I remember putting up solid numbers in the Euroleague.
Finally France #2 beat the Champions of the Belgian League. Justin Doellman formerly of Xavier scored 18 points and grabbed 5 rebounds for France #2.
Greece #3 Maroussi Athens will now face Germany #3 ALBA Berlin
Italy #3 Benetton Treviso will now face France #2 Entente Orléans Loiret
The two winners earn bids into the regular season. These will again be two-leg games and the games will take place October 6th and 9th.
To American basketball fans, combining the total points from two games doesn’t seem like a logical way to determine a champ. Where’s the best of 5 or best of 7? But it produced some interesting results. First, the home team won every leg. But the team hosting the second leg won every series. Also, the strategy was different. When total points from two games matters, there was no incentive to foul at the end of the first games and all 4 of the opening leg games were decided by less than 5 points. In the second round, teams had to foul and none of the second leg games were close.