Laboral Kutxa and Neptunas Klaipeda meet in the opening fixture with FC Barcelona starting on Friday versus Bayern Munich Satoransky and Hakanson are both set to make their Euroleague debuts
There are just two days to go before Barça begin their Euroleague campaign, but the tournament itself begins on Wednesday night with Laboral Kutxa hosting Neptunas Klapeida. The 24 teams will play in the same format as last year. They’ll play ten games in the first round groups, then fourteen more in the Top 16. After that, the winners of the best-of-five playoffs will be headed to Madrid for the Final Four in May. That’s 31 games in all that the finalists will have to negotiate.
Current champions Maccabi Tel Aviv have lost some major names including last season’s final MVP Tyrese Rice, Ricky Hickman and coach David Blatt, who has gone to the Cleveland Cavaliers. But they have been well replaced by Marquez Haynes, Jeremy Pargo and Aleks Maric and will continue to be one of the most feared sides, along with Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow, the other clubs that joined Barça in the 2014 Final Four.
Tomas Satoransky is the only player on the first team roster that has yet to make his debut in the Euroleague, although he has played in the second tier competition, the Eurocup. Swede Ludde Hakanson, officially a member of Barça B but who frequently turns out for the first team, is also likely to gain his first experience on the continental stage.
Barça start in Group C along with Panathinaikos (Greece), Fenerbahçe Ülker (Turkey), EA7 Milano (Italy), Bayern Munich (Germany) and PGE Turów (Poland). The top four teams will progress to the Top 16.