Juan Carlos Navarro drives against Bilbao Basket in the ACB League earlier this season. / VICTOR SALGADO - FCB

The 80th edition of Basketball’s Copa del Rey kicks off Thursday evening in La Coruña, Spain with a quarterfinal matchup between FC Barcelona Lassa and Dominion Bilbao Basket.

There's no room for error in this annual hoops festival that pits the top eight Spanish teams against each other in a single elimination tournament that plays out at one location over four days.

Barça came back in the second half to beat Bilbao 66–57 when the two teams faced off at the Palau Blaugrana in league play on 23 December.

Bilbao won their only previous Copa del Rey meeting, which came in the 2008 quarterfinals.

FC Barcelona will be without Nigerian/American center Shane Lawal, who will be undergoing knee surgery. But while Bilbao has also suffered from the injury bug, they do have Álex Mumbrú, the second leading scorer in the league this season.

But regardless of which team appears to be the favorite, in the Copa del Rey only one thing is certain — all bets are off.


FCB Lassa prepare for Copa del Rey and Dominion Bilbao Basket by fcbarcelona