Exploring EuroLeague Playoff Possibilities

A chaotic EuroLeague playoff picture gained little clarity, if any, in Round 29. That sets up a thrilling regular-season finale in Round 30, with six teams still alive for the final three postseason berths.

Zalgiris slid into the eighth and final spot last week when it won its fifth straight (and six over the last seven), but the club’s place in the playoff is far from finalized. 

In fact, the official EuroLeague site shows different tiebreaker scenarios that could shape the postseason field. Each of the remaining contenders’ Round 30 matchups are detailed, as well as some of the dozens of playoff scenarios. Check out the complete rundown via EuroLeague.net


Record: 15-14 

Current Standing: 6th

Next Up: Thursday at No. 2 CSKA Moscow 

Saski Baskonia has a simple enough task ahead of it—at least, as simple as it is beating one of EuroLeague’s best clubs on the road. Baskonia holds the tiebreaker over Panathinaikos and thus is guaranteed the No. 6 seed with a win at CSKA Moscow. 

Baskonia scored the victory in their first meeting back in Round 11, getting big all-around games from Vincent Poirier and Tornike Shengelia. The club’s been without Shengelia since Round 16, but he returned to practice from his knee injury this week.

A loss on the road Thursday complicates matters for Baskonia somewhat, though it’s in good shape with tiebreakers. It swept the regular-season series with eighth-place Zalgiris and 10th-place Maccabi, but a loss coupled with a Zalgiris loss and Olympiacos and Olimpia Milan both winning eliminates Baskonia.


Record: 15-14

Current Standing: 7th

Next Up: Thursday vs. No. 15 Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 

Rick Pitino-coached Panathinaikos came to life since the two-time NCAA national champion took the reins in December. The club claimed the Greek Cup in February, amid a six-game winning streak in EuroLeague competition. 

The win streak, which included a thrilling, 78-77 defeat of CSKA Moscow to complete the season sweep, catapulted Panathinaikos from also-ran into the thick of the playoff chase. The CSKA result is particularly noteworthy because if standings hold through Round 30, this would be the first-round matchup.

Panathinaikos hasn’t seen its Round 30 opponent, Buducnost VOLI Podgorica, since all the way back in Round 5, long before Pitino’s arrival. Panathinaikos won on the road, 72-67. 

Pitino’s club can move into sixth with a win and a Baskonia loss, but must also be cognizant that an upset loss and Zalgiris win would relegate Panathinaikos to eighth place. The club owns a tiebreaker over Olimpia Milan, if it comes to that, but not over Maccabi.  


Record: 14-15

Current Standing: 8th 

Next Up: Thursday at No. 3 Real Madrid 

One of the hottest clubs in EuroLeague surged to its fifth-straight win in Round 29, and jockeyed for an important spot in the playoff race, by beating fellow postseason hopeful Olympiacos Piraeus on the road, 72-68. 

Zalgiris hit the skids midway through the season with the since-returned Leo Westermann sidelined, and Derrick Walton Jr. was out for much of the same stretch. With Westermann back in the lineup and chemistry restored, the team is on a roll that brings it into a challenging Round 30. 

Zalgiris faces Real Madrid on the round, the first meeting since a 90-79 Real Madrid win on Nov. 2. Rudy Fernandez scored all 15 of his points behind the 3-point line in that contest, and he comes into this matchup showing no signs of cooling his hot shooting hand. 

A Zalgiris win guarantees it a place in the playoffs, with hope of climbing to No. 7. The club owns tiebreakers against Panathinaikos, as well as over two of the three teams jockeying for that same No. 8 spot it currently occupies, Maccabi and Olympiacos. A Milan loss coupled with a Zalgiris win gets the club into the playoffs; ditto if Panathinaikos loses. A win coupled with victories for Baskonia, Panathinaikos, and Maccabi get Zalgiris in. If Panathinaikos and Milan win, while Baskonia loses, Zalgiris is out. 

A loss coupled with a win for any one of Olympiacos, Milan, or Maccabi eliminates Zalgiris. 


Record: 14-15

Current Standing: 9th

Next Up: Thursday at No. 4 Anadolu Efes Istanbul  

A five-game winning streak last month came to an abrupt halt for AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan. The club’s now outside of the top eight and fighting for its playoff life after dropping three straight to Real Madrid, Panathinaikos, and first-place Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul last week. 

The road back to that all-important No. 8 spot gets no easier in Round 30. Olimpia Milan travels to fourth-place Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Thursday. An Olimpia Milan win would close a season sweep, with one of the most exciting finishes to the 2018-19 coming in Olimpia Milan’s 81-80 victory the last time around when Mike James buried a 3-pointer in the closing seconds. 

A Milan win and Baskonia loss are one of the scenarios that punch Milan’s playoff ticket; as is a Maccabi loss. A scenario in which both Milan and Zalgiris win lands Milan in the playoffs with a Panathinaikos loss—or the opposite, with Panathinaikos winning and Zalgiris losing. An Olympiacos win, with Panathinaikos and Zalgiris both losing, rounds out Milan’s playoff scenarios. 


Record: 14-15

Current Standing: 10th

Next Up: Friday at No. 1 Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 

Former NCAA Tournament standout Alex Tyus channeled that March energy with a career-high 20 points in Maccabi’s Round 29 rout of Gran Canaria. Maccabi remains in the playoff race, but the scenarios that land it in the field are challenging. 

Maccabi needs to win on the road against the No. 1 team in EuroLeague, Fenerbahce Beko, which won the first matchup, 74-70. Maccabi then needs Zalgiris, Olympiacos, and Milan to all lose. A Baskonia win and losses for both Zalgiris and Panathinaikos land Maccabi in the field, as does a Baskonia win and losses for Olympiacos, Milan, and Panathinaikos. 


Record: 14-15

Current Standing: 11th 

Next Up: Friday vs. No. 16 Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul 

Olympiacos draws the most favorable Round 30 matchup of any of the six surviving teams jockeying for the last spot. However, last-place Darussafaka should not be taken lightly–FC Bayern Munich experienced that firsthand last week. A 92-87 loss eliminated Bayern Munich from the tight playoff race. 

Olympiacos won the first meeting in Round 15, with four players scoring in double-figures. A repeat performance is crucial, but the club faces a demanding road to finish in the top eight. It needs either both Milan and Zalgiris to lose, Baskonia and Zalgiris to lose, or Panathinaikos and Milan to lose.

Penny Hardaway, Memphis Making A Push For Nimari Burnett

Nimari Burnett didn’t post an edit for it but he did confirm that he was down to four schools: Michigan, Texas Tech, Oregon and Alabama — with visits set to each one. 

Caleb Furst Visits Purdue, Sets Trip To Virginia

Caleb Furst, a Top 35 big man in the 2021 class took an official visit to Purdue during the last weekend of August and has scheduled two more official visits, a source told Stockrisers.

Cam Hayes Moves Into 2020 Class

Significant news out of the 2021 class, as five-star guard Cam Hayes has opted to re-classify to 2020, his mother told Stockrisers. This is a move that has been anticipated and is now official.

Duke, Kentucky Among Programs In Hot Pursuit Of Kennedy Chandler

Kennedy Chandler is bound to have an excellent season for Briarcrest High School. This summer he was the star guard on the Peach Jam winning Mokan Elite roster—a squad that was loaded with future division one prospects.

What Would Terrence Clarke Bring To Each of His Six Finalists?

This past week, the Terrence Clarke buzz picked up dramatically. 

Jack Molloy Is A Hidden Gem In The Class Of '21

Jack Molloy is one of the hidden talents in the class of 2021. 

7-Footer Chet Holmgren, The Top '21 Center, Can Ball Away From The Basket

Chet Holmgren is one of the most unique high school basketball talents in the nation. Standing at 7-foot, you may think he is a back to the basket player—but you'd be wrong. 

Prince Aligbe Exploded On The Under Armour Circuit This Summer

Prince Aligbe had a breakout summer running with Grassroots Sizzle 17U team on the Under Armour circuit. 

Q&A With Bryant's KK Robinson

This summer was a huge one for KK Robinson. The six-foot point guard picked up several offers and showed the Nike EYBL circuit that he is for real. 

Shakeel Moore Has Set His First Official Visit

Three-star prospect Shakeel Moore has set his first official visit: NC State.Moore burst onto the scene this year and announced his transfer to in-state powerhouse Moravian Prep, who figures to be among the top programs in the nation.Moore says that NC State, Providence, Saint Louis, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, DePaul, Notre Dame, South Florida, Tulsa and Seton Hall, are each heavily involved in his recruitment process at the moment.Moore intends to trim his list later this month.