Copa del Rey starts cup fever

Copa del Rey

We can forget about the Euroleague and kiss goodbye to the Eurocup for one week as cup fever descends on Europe. Yes, it´s that time of the year where the best teams in Europe´s biggest Basketball nations fight it out to win their respective domestic cups. Cup week always brings with it plenty of drama as the Basketball is high stakes and the winner truly does take all.

We will be following all the action from domestic cups around the continent, so what can we expect during what promises to be a hugely busy week of high quality Basketball?

Copa del Rey (Spain)

Rumors of the Spanish league’s decline are hugely exaggerated and this week will give the ACB the chance to show off what it has still got. That means some of the best action in Europe as the biggest league on the continent holds its Final Eight Copa del Rey. Some of the best Spanish teams from the Euroleague and Eurocup will fight it out from the 6th to 9th of February for the coveted prize of Spanish Cup Champion. If you want any proof of how big this Final Eight competition is then the fact that every franchise in the NBA will be sending scouts should do it for you.

Sure, this is a blockbuster event, but it is all about the Basketball and the glory. Fantastic Basketball and glory have gone hand in hand for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, and again in 2014 the two giants of Spanish hoops will be among the Copa del Rey favourties. Indeed, the two clubs have won the competition a staggering 46 times between them (23 apiece) and will be the teams to beat this year after already wowing the Euroleague this season.

The Copa del Rey Final Eight will get underway on Thursday February 6th in host arena, the Palacio J.M. Martin Carpena, Malaga. Real Madrid will clash with Gran Canaria Herbalife in the early tip off before Unicaja Malaga seeks glory in front of its home crowd against CAI Zaragoza.

On Friday February 7th Barcelona will open its Final Eight campaign as reigning champions with a game against Tenerife Iberostar, but only after Valencia clashes with Labour Kutxa. The Semifinals will be held on Saturday 8th with the Final taking place on Sunday 9th.

While Spain will be the place to be this weekend for hoops fans, there is no doubt that paying close attention across Europe in the coming weeks will be needed. Yes, Spain boasts the biggest cup competition in European Basketball but there is plenty to look forward to elsewhere.

Leaders Cup (France)

Not least in France where the Leaders Cup is contested. The competition has been known as the Semaine des As for the past 10 seasons, but the French Cup gets a new moniker this year. What won´t change is the often frantic and ultra competitive Basketball on show. This year you can take that and multiply it by a hundred as the French ProA has been close fought and has proved that the top eight teams in the land cannot be split.

There is a five way tie at the top of the league, while there is a two way tie right below those five, and another two way tie directly below again. In other words, if you expect a team to run away with the Leaders Cup this season then you can probably think again as this is shaping up to be one of the tightest competitions in years. Reigning champs Gravelines will not make the trip to Disneyland Paris for the event as the team currently sits 12th in the Pro A and only the top 8 qualify.

The Leaders Cup is being held a week after the Copa del Rey in Spain so Basketball fans have two weeks of unbelievable knock-out ball games to look forward to. The French Cup will get underway on February 14th with the following games.

Strasbourg IG vs. SLUC Nancy
Limgoes CSP vs. Le Mans SB
Orleans Loiret Basket vs. Paris-Levallois
JDA Dijon vs. JSF Nanterre

The Semifinals will be held on February 15ht with the Final to follow on February 16th.

Coppa Italia (Italy)

Italy´s Coppa Italia will take place the same weekend as Spain´s Coppa del Rey, so get ready for plenty of channel hopping. Like the other major cup competitions in Europe, the Italian Cup takes the top eight ranked teams in the current Serie A standings and pits them against each other in a knock-out format that guarantees amazing Basketball and exciting action.

There seems to be a changing of the guard happening in Italian Basketball and rarely in the last decade have the country´s league and cup competitions been so open. Montepaschi Siena has swept all before them in recent years, winning the last seven Serie A league titles and the last five Coppa Italia´s. It is a remarkable record, but it is in more danger of being broken than ever before. Siena has struggled at home and abroad this season and is currently off the pace in the Euroleague and Serie A.

The result of that patchy form by the reigning cup champs has meant this year´s competition is as open as it has ever been. There is a genuine chance that any of the eight teams taking part could come through to win the cup, and that will undoubtedly bring tense games and stunning drama to the Coppa mix in 2014. The competition will be held in Milan´s Mediolanum Forum this season.

The Coppa Italia Final Eight will get underway on February 7th with the following clashes.

Montepaschi Siena vs. ACEA Roma
Enel Brindisi vs. Umana Venezia
Cantu vs. Reggio Emilia
EA7 Milano vs. Banco di Sardegna Sassari

The Semifinals will be held on Saturday February 8th with the Final on Sunday February 9th.

With a couple of weeks of cup action to look forward to, Court-Side will follow the drama every step of the way.

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