United League: the miracle did not happen — CSKA defended the title

Saturday finished the regular season of the League. What does he remember and what to expect from the climax of the championship games of the playoffs – says basketball expert MK and one of the people standing at the origins of the League Alexander Fedotov.

Russian star basketball, Dmitry Kulagin (“the locomotive-Kuban”) and Alexey Shved
(“Khimki”) will again meet in the playoffs of the tournament.
Photo: press service of the United League.

It is obvious that this was one of the most intriguing regular seasons in the history of the tournament. Yes, the miracle did not happen – the favourite of CSKA has defended its first place, but this marathon length in seven months, as we predicted before the start, did not become a boring formality. The same CSKA in the middle of the season with two losses held – a rare case! – third place. In the end, they are “freewheeling” at the finish, while UNICS was ahead only because of the advantage in personal meetings (both his loss in the tournament Kazan got it from CSKA).

Even more cool intrigue unfolded in other sectors of the standings. The argument of “Lokomotiv-Kuban” and “Zenith” for a place in the top four, surplas (who is not familiar with the term from the Cycling – Google in the help) “Khimki” in the race with the “Avtodor”, and, of course, the battle for the playoffs – at the end of the regular season for the two vacant places in the next round of the championship has been involved with just seven teams!

Unbelievable but true: this season in the League has effectively erased the border between the middle peasants and outsiders. A place in the top eight was a serious contender even “Parma” yesterday’s newcomer and the holder of record of the tournament (one win last season). Largely due to the coaching talent of the young Latvian specialist Nicolasa Masurca Perm team won seven matches and almost broke the tradition of the League when every season in the playoffs is sure to go at least one foreign club. No not the Russian party yet again not done. This time luck in a tough competition accompanied VEF Riga – basketball players from Latvia did in the classroom that the last four years, did not succeed in the NHL their countrymen-hockey players of “Dynamo”.

The intrigue in this regular season until the end – only the matches of the final round finally set the team on the field, determining the composition of pairs in the 1/4 finals of the playoffs. One of these couples, there’s conflict, was “the locomotive-Kuban” and “Khimki” – two club top-level respectively – the finalist of the Cup of Europe and a participant of the playoffs in the Euroleague this season!

Objectively speaking, Khimki players, and the team worthy of a place on the podium in the top three. And their leaders, which is encouraging, the Russian players Alexey Shved and Dmitry Kulagin rightfully claims the title of MVP of the League-2017/18. But… in the words of the immortal action hero in the fantastic universe of “Highlander”: there can be only one. The winner will receive a ticket to the Moscow Final four, and with it the chance for the title and, not less valuable second place in the Euroleague (the first, remind, belongs to CSKA).

And how can you not remember the scandal with the Greek coach of “Khimki” Georgios Bartzokas during the January match rivals in Krasnodar… and We shall!

In other quarter-finals (they will be held up to three victories – the scheme 1-2-2) will meet Zenit – Avtodor UNICS – Nizhny Novgorod and CSKA – VEF. I would venture to suggest that only the series with CSKA will be limited to three matches.

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