VTB United League 2017-2018
The VTB United League 2017-2018 will be the ninth draw among basketball teams from the post-Soviet space. The geography of the tournament stretches for thousands of kilometers - from the Baltic to the Far East. Unlike the KHL, such a grand scale in Europe can boast, but basketball has its own army of fans who appreciate this game for dynamism, entertainment and unpredictable results.
VTB League Rules
The VTB League 2017-2018, as well as the Russian Football Championship, will be held in a round robin. This means that all teams participating in the competition will hold two matches with rivals from the standings (on their own court and on the opponent's court). As planned, all games will take place on weekends or holidays, thanks to which attendance of arenas will increase significantly. In addition, the day before the official match of the adult teams, youth clubs will play among themselves, for which a separate competition is also provided.
As for the system of distribution of places in the standings, it remained unchanged.Since there are no draws in basketball, the number of victories affects the placement of participants in the League. If the winner cannot be determined in 40 minutes of pure time, an additional time of 5 minutes is appointed. When after the first overtime an equal score is lit on the scoreboard, another 5-minute is assigned, and so on until the winner is determined.
The first eight places in the table guarantee participation in the playoff series, and the draw is held according to the positions taken. This means that the club, which turned out to be on the first line, will play with the eighth league team, the second squad - with the seventh, etc. The series in the confrontation of two teams lasts up to three victories, and the first and second matches take place on the team's floor, which turned out to be more high place in the standings.
The question of the number of teams that will take part in the draw of the VTB United League remains open. In the season of 2016-2017, there were only 13 of them, and in the upcoming draw, this number risks reducing by at least 2-3 clubs. Nevertheless, there are plenty of people who want to join the ranks of the tournament, but strict management policies aimed at increasing competitive levels and financial stability are holding back the expansion of the league.At the moment, it is reliably known that the following teams will take part in the competition:
- CSKA (current league winner);
- "Nizhny Novgorod";
Certain financial problems remain with the club “Parma” (Perm), so the question of its participation will be considered separately at the next meeting of the leadership of the VTB United League. At the same meeting, applications for the participation of potential newcomers will be considered, the start date of the tournament will be determined, the exact number of participants will be formed.
Will the Baltic States remain in VTB?
Recently, the media began to actively replicate the news of the intention of the two Baltic clubs - VEF Riga and Kalev - to leave the league. If everything is more or less clear with the Estonian Kalev: the club has been waving at the bottom of the standings for a long time and is clearly not up to the level of the championship, then VEF has a completely different story. In the 2016-2017 season, the residents of Riga took the honorable seventh place, went into the playoffs, where, however, in all respects they lost to St. Petersburg “Zenith”, but the team’s progress is obvious."VEF-Riga" could be an excellent launching pad for beginning Latvian basketball players who, in the fight against strong rivals, increased their skill level and gained invaluable experience.
The main reasons for the release of “Kalev” and “VEF” are the range of flights and the discrepancy of budgets with more eminent teams (meaning “CSKA”, “Khimki”, “Zenit”). If one can agree with the first statement, it is unlikely with the second one. Firstly, the VTB United League is a popular and widely advertised tournament, so finding a title sponsor who is ready to place your logo on players' undershirts is not that difficult. Secondly, every year the leadership of the league distributes the budget between the teams, and the lion’s share of it is received by the squads from the bottom half of the standings. In addition, solid prize prizes are also foreseen for reaching the playoffs, so the desire of basketball teams from the Baltic states to leave the VTB League structure is based on completely different reasons.
Guess which club is the undisputed champion of the VTB United League from the very beginning of its creation (with the exception of 2010-2011, when Khimki took the trophy). That's right, the Moscow “CSKA”.The hegemon of Russian basketball has the best players, a wide bench and a super professional coaching staff. It is not surprising that in the next draw, “CSKA” will become the No. 1 contender for the next title, and only the ULEB Euroleague's tight schedule will be able to prevent them.
Among other applicants who will lead the battle for the championship with CSKA, we note:
St. Petersburg "Zenith" recently pleased with its meaningful game and desire to fight in every match. Last season, the team failed to reach the league final against CSKA due to the offensive defeat in the Khimki series with a score of 2: 3 (the first 2 matches were won). In the upcoming 2017-2018 season, players will try to prove to their fans that this misfire was just an annoying accident, and the club can fight for the highest places.
In Khimki, the whole game is built around one person - Alexei Swede. It is this person who consistently “drags” in every match, although Jacob Pullen, Sergey Monya, Yegor Vyaltsev and Robbie Hummel contribute to the result. If Dusko Ivanovich's wards manage to save their leaders for the next season, Khimki will again fight CSKA for the honorary trophy.
Lokomotiv-Kuban and UNICS are included in the list of applicants, rather, by inertia. For the former, the main problem is the matches with key opponents (Zenit, Khimki, CSKA), because the Kubans lost almost all in-person meetings in the last draw. “UNICS” cannot find its own game, therefore, periodically there is news in the media about the resignation of the head coach Zakhar Pashutin, about the care of individual players. In the offseason, Kazan citizens need to actively work not only on team interactions, but also on the transfer market. Only in this case, you can count on success.