Euroleague Final Four preview- Real Madrid

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Euroleague Final Four 2014 logo

Real Madrid began the 2013-14 basketball season in dominant fashion, winning their first 27 games in the Spanish ACB league and their first 13 games in the Euroleague. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with entering this weekend’s Final Four in Milan with an overall record of 44 wins against only seven losses, the defending Euroleague runner-up has struggled as of late.

Since April 11, Real Madrid is a very pedestrian 7-5, which leads one to wonder whether this team reached its peak too early in the season. And they open the Final Four with a game against their ACB rival Regal FC Barcelona, a team that just blew them out on Sunday in Barcelona.

Nikola Mirotic

While that may have been a meaningless regular season game, Real Madrid cannot be happy that they were totally dominated in the game- the final score was “only” 86-75, Barcelona led 21-10 after one period and 72-50 heading into the final 10 minutes. The only positive Real Madrid could take away from the embarassing loss was that Nikola Mirotic had his highest scoring game in two months, putting up 19 points on 7/12 shooting with seven rebounds.

Even with their recent struggles, Real Madrid has to be considered the favorites to win this year’s Final Four. Their 21-3 record was the Euroleague’s best through the Top 16 round, and they placed two players (Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez) on the All-Euroleague 1st Team and another (Nikola Mirotic) on the 2nd Team. They also set a Euroleague record for scoring along the way.

olympiacos-2013 euroleague champions

Real Madrid made it to the Euroleague final last season, only to blow a 17-point lead in a 100-88 loss to Olympiacos Piraeus. Common sense would tell you that they will be highly motivated to make up for last year’s mistake by winning the 2014 championship, but in a one game, single elimination format, anything can happen. And Regal FC Barcelona has already proven that they can beat Real Madrid, so they will certainly be a confident underdog.

Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. He attended Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (columnist) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters, SportsCenter anchor) . In addition to running Bullsville.net and writing for The Sports Bank and ChicagoNow (Bullsville), he is also a KHSAA baseball umpire. He’s a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. Follow Don on Twitter @Bullsville.

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