1997 European Clubs Championship
The European Championship of Men's Clubs was played at the PalaEur in Rome, April 22-24, 1997. Also known as the European Final Four, the championship of what is known as EuroLeague Men debuted a new playing format this year. Now, the title is competed for by 24 clubs divided into four groups of six. FIBA, the governing body of international basketball, ranks the top 12 European national federations based on their international records over the past three years. Countries ranked 1-4 (Greece, France, Italy, Spain) earned three bids apiece, countries 5-8 (Croatia, Germany, Russia, Turkey) received two bids, and the countries ranked 9-12 (Belgium, Israel, Slovenia, Yugoslavia) each got one bid. It is up to the respective national federations to decide which clubs participate. However, the decision must be based on their regulations for national competitions. No wildcards are possible. The 24 clubs each played a total of 16 games between Sept. 18, 1996 and Feb. 12, 1997. The top four teams in each of the four groups advanced to the best-of-three playoff series which continued until just four teams remained. The format then moved to single elimination.
Games played Mar. 6-13, 1997.
- Pall. Olimpia Stefanel, Milan (ITA) def. Virtus Bologna Kinder (ITA) 2 games to 1.
- Smelt Olimpija, Ljubljana (SLO) def. KK Cibona, Zagreb (CRO) 2 games to 1.
- Panathinaikos, Athens (GRE) def. Limoges Geant (FRA) 2 games to 0.
- Olympiakos B.C., Piraeus (GRE) def. Partizan-Inex, Belgrade (YUG) 2 games to 1.
- Teamsystem Bologna (ITA) def. Caja San Fernando, Seville (SPA) 2 games to 0.
- FC Barcelona (SPA) def. Alba Berlin (GER) 2 games to 0.
- Efes Pilsen, Istanbul (TUR) def. Maccabi Elite, Tel Aviv (ISR) 2 games to 1.
- ASVEL, Villeurbanne (FRA) def. Estudiantes, Madrid (SPA) 2 games to 1.
Games played Mar. 27-Apr. 3, 1997.
|Smelt Olimpija 2||Pall. Olimpia Stefanel 1|
|Olympiakos BC 2||Panathinaikos 0|
|FC Barcelona 2||Teamsystem Bologna 1|
|Villeurbanne 2||Efes Pilsen 1|
|Olympiakos BC 74||Smelt Olimpija 65|
|FC Barcelona 77||Villeurbanne 70|
|Smelt Olimpija 86||Villeurbanne 79|
|FC Barcelona (SPA)||29||29—||58|
Most Valuable Player
David Rivers, Olympiakos, guard