Euroleague fans can start planning the rest of the calendar year after the draw for the 2013-14 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season and the Euroleague Qualifying Rounds Friday took place on Thursday afternoon in Barcelona. The 23 Euroleague regular season teams – one more team will join them from the qualifying rounds – were divided into four groups of six teams, while the eight qualifying rounds teams learned which opponents they must get through to join the elite teams in European basketball.
The competition format is identical to last season, which means that Thursday’s draw will be the only one this season. Four teams from each regular season group will advance to the Top 16 stage, which will feature two groups of eight. Then the top half of each group moves on to best-of-five playoffs series for a spot in the 2014 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. The lone change from previous seasons is that the eight teams which do not advance from the Euroleague Regular Season to the Top 16 will be reclassified into the Eurocup Last 32. The 2013-14 season formally begins on October 1 with the first games in the qualifying rounds, which runs through October 4. The regular season tips off on Thursday, October 17.
Before the draw, Euroleague Basketball President and CEO Jordi Bertomeu addressed the club representatives and media members on hand as well as tens of thousands of fans watching on television and internet around the world. Mr. Bertomeu revealed that the 2014 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four will take place in the fashion capital, Milan, Italy, at the Mediolanum Forum. It will mark the first time a Euroleague champion will be crowned in Italy since Panathinaikos won the 2002 title in Bologna.
Among Thursday’s other noteworthy events was Georgios Bartzokas collecting his Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year award in a ceremony before the draw. Bartzokas led Olympiacos to its second straight Turkish Airlines Euroleague title in his first season on the Reds’ bench.