Playoff analysis: Barcelona vs. Panathinaikos

The last two Euroleague champions will clash head to head in the Quarterfinal Playoffs for one ticket to the 2011 Euroleague Basketball Final Four. Defending champ Regal FC Barcelona marches into the playoffs as the only team to go undefeated in the Top 16. Panathinaikos, the 2009 Euroleague champion, was the winningest team in the first decade of the new millennium with four Euroleague crowns between 2000 and 2009 and is eager to stockpile more trophies. The Greens celebrated one of those titles, the 2007 Euroleague championship, at home in Athens. Regal FCB aims to duplicate that feat by winning this year’s title at the Final Four in Barcelona. The teams have met in each of the past four seasons and a total of 18 times over the years, with Barcelona holding a 10-8 edge, but the Greek champs owning the most important victory among them from the 1996 Euroleague title game in Paris, which was Panathinaikos’s first Euroleague championship. The matchups also boasts two of the Euroleague’s elite coaches with last year’s Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year trophy winner Xavi Pascual on the Barca bench and seven-time Euroleague winner on the Panathinaikos sidelines. By the numbers, the teams are not just similar, but clearly among the best as both rank in the top four in overall performance index rating and points allowed on defense. With history as a backdrop and two teams stocked with winners, this series has the makings of a Euroleague classic. Read more here.

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