Turkish Airlines Euroleague
May 19, 2013
bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge
Tel Aviv 2004
Qualifying Rounds 2012
NIKE International Junior Tournament
Pre-draw profile: Real Madrid
The winningest team in European basketball comes off its best Euroleague season in 15 years – and has set the basis to do even better in 2011-12. Madrid was undefeated at home, registering very convincing wins in front of its fans to win regular season Group C. Last season, Real Madrid reached the Euroleague Final Four for the first time since 1996 but on the other hand, did not lift any trophy for the fourth consecutive season – something that had only happened once before. For more than half a century, Madrid has been a reference in European basketball, accumulating a record eight continental titles based on its dominance in the 1960s. Its untouchable cache of 30 domestic league and 22 cup trophies says it all about its status in Spanish basketball. Moreover, almost every time that Madrid did not play in Europe's top competition, it won a different continental club trophy - four Saporta Cups, a Korac Cup and a ULEB Cup between 1984 and 2007 – all as a stepping-stone back to the big time. Players like Emiliano Rodriguez, Clifford Luyk, Wayne Brabender, Walter Szczerbiak, Juan Antonio Corbalan, Drazen Petrovic, Arvydas Sabonis and Dejan Bodiroga have turned Real Madrid into one of the biggest basketball clubs in the world. Madrid won four Euroleague titles between 1964 and 1968 to become a European basketball juggernaut, and added more titles in 1974, 1978 and 1980. Even though it took the club 15 years to win it again, Madrid found success in other European competitions, too. Madrid downed Milano in the 1984 Cup Winners' Cup on last-second free throws by Brian Jackson, then Petrovic had 62 points in the 1989 Cup Winners' Cup final against Snaidero Caserta. Madrid added a 1988 Korac Cup title against Cibona and lifted a 1992 Saporta Cup trophy against PAOK on a buzzer-beating jumper by Ricky Brown. With Sabonis aboard, Madrid won its last Euroleague title in 1995 by beating Olympiacos in the final. Madrid won the 1997 Saporta Cup title against Verona and continued to find success at home, winning Spanish League titles in 2000 and 2005. In 2007, Louis Bullock and Felipe Reyes helped Madrid to lift a new trophy, the ULEB Cup, and win the Spanish League crown for its 30th time by besting archrivals FC Barcelona 3-1 in the finals. Last season with a roster built on young rising talents peppered with experienced pieces, Madrid won its Top 16 group and then used its home-court advantage to outlast Power Electronics Valencia in the playoffs and get back to the Final Four. The experience of playing on European basketball’s brightest stage at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four in Barcelona has strengthened this squad. Madrid has thrilled its fans with its run-and-gun basketball, as coach Pablo Laso's team has reached the 100-point mark three times throughout the regular season. Ambitious, ready and fun to watch, Madrid faces the Top 16 with just one goal in mind - returning to the Final Four to use its experience to do much better this season.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
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