|03 December 2012|
Only one team in groups E-through-H has already clinched qualification and week 5 action could see up to four more sides seal a place in the Last 16 or set up a ferocious showdown on the final day between almost all involved.
We break down the situation in each group:
|Ryan Thompson and his Okapi Aalstar teammates can qualify for the Last 16 with a win on Tuesday|
How They Stand: Okapi Aalstar (3-1) and Paris Levallois (3-1) could reserve the top two places on Tuesday; Belfius Mons-Hainaut (2-2) need to win to stay in the run for a top-two finish; BCMU Pitesti (0-4) are out of contention.
Okapi Aalstar and Paris Levallois could do each other a big favour on Tuesday night, when the Belgians visit Pitesti and the Parisians travel to Mons-Hainaut.
Should both teams win, they will reserve the top two spots in the group and fight it out for first place when they go up against each other, next week.
If this does not happen, Aalstar will have an advantage over their rivals as long as they take the victory in Romania.
They could then even lose in Paris on the final day and still qualify, but the exact safe margin can only be determined after Tuesday's game in Mons.
Mons had beaten Paris in the reverse fixture but will still be looking to defeat the French by the widest margin possible on Tuesday, since a three-way tie at the top is probable and they are currently the worst positioned in such an eventuality, having lost their two games to Aalstar by a combined margin of 20 points.
The two Belgians can still take out the Parisians if they both win their respective remaining games.
How They Stand: EWE Baskets Oldenburg (4-0) have already clinched top spot in the group; Szolnoki Olaj (2-2) could take second on Tuesday; BC Timisoara (1-3) can only hope for a combination of results if they fall on Tuesday; Lami-Véd Körmend (1-3) are out of the race definitely if they lose.
Szolnoki Olaj will terminate the race for qualification in the group and accompany Oldenburg to the Last 16 if they defeat fellow Hungarian side Körmend on Tuesday, and Timisoara go down to Oldenburg.
Should Szolnoki lose but manage to protect their four-point advantage from the previous all-Hungarian clash, and then go on to defeat Timisoara on the final day, they will still go through.
If Körmend overcome their compatriots, they could potentially get away with losing their last game as long as Timisoara lose on Tuesday and then defeat Szolnoki next week.
In case this three-way tie materialises, each of the contenders will have two wins and two losses in the mini table that takes into consideration only the results in the games between them.
The next criteria is the goal average in the head-to-head clashes between the three and right now, pending the final two game days, Szolnoki have the edge over both Timisoara and Körmend, with a goal average of 1.099.
|BCM Gravelines are one win away from the Last 16|
How They Stand: BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque (3-1) could punch their ticket to the Last 16 on Tuesday; Nothing will be decided for either SLUC Nancy (2-2) or Tsmoki-Minsk (2-2) on game day 5; Pizza Express Apollon (1-3) face an adverse do-or-die battle.
BCM have already beaten Nancy in the first all-French clash of the group this season and if they replicate that success at home on Tuesday they will not only clinch qualification but also secure top spot in the group.
Nancy can turn the tables and emerge as front-runners in the race for first place if they give their compatriots a taste of their own medicine and prevail by more than 12 points.
If they lose, they will have to beat Minsk by eight points or more on the final day.
That direct clash between the two contenders will most likely determine who goes through, unless Apollon manage to stay alive on Tuesday, when they host the Belarusians.
The Cypriots however face an uphill struggle as their slim hopes involve winning by at least 31 points and then hope for a combination of favourable results.
Minsk on the other hand cannot clinch qualification should they win in Cyprus, but a victory could afford them a cushion in their last game, if Nancy fall to BCM.
In that case, the Belarusians could still lose by up to six point at Nancy in week 6 and still go through.
How They Stand: One of Telekom Baskets (3-1) or Hapoel Unet Holon (3-1) could seal qualification or take an enormous step, respectively, on Tuesday; Port of Antwerp Giants (2-2) need to win in order to maintain realistic chances; Armia (0-4) are out of the race for a place in the Last 16.
Antwerp take on Armia on Tuesday in a must-win game for the Belgians, but the deciding game in this group takes place on Wednesday, when Holon play host to Bonn in Israel.
The Germans will punch their ticket to the Last 16 with a victory, while if the hosts prevail they will put themselves in an effectively unassailable position ahead of the final day of action.
Holon would then go into their game in Antwerp next week with peace of mind, knowing that they could lose by up to 23 points and still go through, as second in the group.
Should the Germans fall, they would look to at least protect their 7-point advantage from the reverse fixture, while the point difference is relevant to Hapoel only in case of a victory, in a potential battle for first place on the final day.
If the Israelis slump to defeat on Tuesday then their game at the Giants next week turns into a-winner-takes-all clash, provided the Belgians defeat Armia this Tuesday.
For Groups A-D click here