Highlights: Croatia beat Spain 80-55 in FIBA Europe U18s +++ Highlights: Serbia coast past Lithuania 83-67 at FIBA Europe U18s +++ Highlights: Greece beat Italy 85-68 in FIBA Europe U18s +++ VIDEO: Basketball World Cup of Beer – Opening Ceremony and Schedule +++ Serbia and Croatia make statements at FIBA U18s +++ Coach James Weldon gives his thoughts on Dragan Bender +++ Sarunas Jasikevičius retires, joins Zalgiris in coaching role +++ Vintage Drazen Petrovic jersey up for auction +++ Ireland announce select squad for Luxembourg friendlies +++ We really need you to nominate beers +++

Fearless FIBA World Cup Wildcard predictions

Tomorrow is the day we find out who the four wild card participants will be in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. BiE’s editor, Emmet Ryan, makes his call on who he thinks will get the tickets to Spain.

First off, I hate the wild card system. Merit should win out but the system is what it is. With that in mind I’m making these picks based on who I think WILL get in not who SHOULD get in. Without further ado, your four FIBA World Cup wild cards will be…

China – FIBA would love to give them a bloody nose but they can’t. They just can’t. They aren’t strong, they could well be the worst team in Spain, yet there is no doubt they get the ticket.

Brazil – They did an awful job at the Tournament of the Americas but the weakness of their roster in Venezuela strongly implied they knew they’d be in Spain either way due to their hosting the next Olympics and being a big market. They’re in.

Turkey – At no point have I flip-flopped on Turkey but to me this is a straight up fight of financial might between Turkey and Greece for the third slot. The Greeks have narrowed it, for most of the time I had Turkey well in front, but I think Turkey gets the ticket.

Finland – Yes, Finland. Their population is similar to Ireland’s, their performance at EuroBasket was good but not ‘there’s no way you can deny them a wild card’ good, and they don’t have the straight up cash money of Greece or Turkey. What they have is 40,000 Finns living in Spain and, far more importantly, the sheer muscle of Rovio. The Angry Birds game developers have promised FIBA a whole lot of mobile advertising space for a tournament that could do with every ounce of advertising exposure it can get. The Angry Birds are the game-changer here. Prior to this week, I didn’t give Finland a prayer. Now I say they take the flight.

Who do you think gets a wild card? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


Paddy Power shouldn’t play ball with Kim Jong-Un

Paddy Power pulling marketing stunts is nothing new but there’s something about their plan to stage a basketball match in North Korea that makes Emmet Ryan feel rather uneasy.

Better get the full disclosure out of the way already. For three and a half years I worked in the online betting industry. Paddy Power were not rivals of the company that employed me but it would be remiss of me not to mention this due to any potential conflicts.

Paddy Power will stage a basketball game in Pyongyang in the new year with a team of non-North Koreans taking on the North Korean national team. The PR stunt comes from the people who brought you a pile of headline grabbing but mostly socially harmless escapades over the past decade. Dennis Rodman is likely to be involved because the Worm needs the money. Lots of people will be up in arms and Paddy Power will get the reaction they want.

None of this is surprising. The only issue really left to be decided is whether conventional basketball rules will be used or the freaky ones conceived by the North Koreans back in the 1990s, Kim Jong-Un and Kim Jong-Il were both big fans of the Jordan era Bulls. That’s where the Worm comes in. Rodman went to Pyongyang with Vice magazine earlier this year, generating a ton of publicity for all parties, and Paddy Power later brought him to the Vatican when the papal succession was under way. That didn’t grab as many headlines so the bookmaker is bring the Worm, or at least his game, back to the place he made the most noise in 2013 to get a big reaction.
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European Leagues leaving streaming money on the table

shut-up-and-take-my-moneyWith Viasat Sport’s streaming deal being limited to Sweden, BiE looks at how national leagues can gain more by working together on international broadcasting.

Many BiE readers already watch national basketball leagues online. Few of you do it legally. Most of you would like to. LiveBasketball.TV (full disclosure, we’re an affiliate site) do an admirable job in covering domestic leagues but they are limited by the rights available to them. With limited coverage on TV networks for European leagues outside of their home market, fans in other territories are forced to root out a feed.
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Crisis in Spain: Player strike averted, ACB playoffs to continue as planned

Phew, that was close…

Typically, it’s a bad sign when a sports page follows up a headline story with a photo like this:

(image courtesy

However, good news from Spain is the order of the day today, as ACB officials have announced that at least a temporary agreement is in place to avert a player strike scheduled to begin today which would have halted the Spanish League’s basketball playoffs from continuing further.

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End of an era as Zalgiris Kaunas formally announces resignation of Mad Vlad

All signs indicate that it’s the end of an era, but it just doesn’t seem real. Yesterday, a patriarchal figure over one of Europe’s most prestigious and historically significant organizations officially stepped down from his high post as observers speculated about what millions of followers could expect next.

No, BallinEurope’s not talking about this guy, but rather that bombastic owner of Žalgiris Kaunas, Vladimir Romanov. Media (outside of Lithuania, that is) will surely be sad to see Romanov, a man who has given us so many ludricrous bizarre outright insane memorable moments in his nearly four-year tenure as The Boss.

BiE for one, will certainly be ever nostalgic for the unwarranted proclamations of genius; for the firings mid-championship series or anytime, really; for the medical recommendations; for the paranoid calling out of the blogosphere; for ordering player minutes like to-go items at the drive-thru; and surely much much more.

Just to reinforce that “le roi est mort,” the club issued a formal report late yesterday reaffirming Romanov’s resignation from board and chairman positions of Zalgiris.

Ran the message: Continue Reading…


Simone Pianigiani to leave Fenerbahce Ulker … for $1 million

Simone Pianigiani

Pianigiani: That’s one million…

The whispers from the Fenerbahçe Ülker fan base have become mutterings which have become grousing over the course of a season which their team entered as favorites to take the whole enchilada: The head of Simone Pianigiani’s head is being called for. Fortunately (for the coach), two glaring obstacles stand in the way.

Firstly comes the question of — believe it or not — economics. Beyond a handful of big deals given to players in the off-season, Pianigiani was given a contract of two years plus a third-year option. Showing the Italian the door right now would cost the Turkish team $4 million. While the contract does account for payment by installment, Fenerbahçe would still have to immediately pony up $1 million — and what European club has that kind of money lying around in 2013?

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Follow the leader: FIBA commission likely to approve NBA court dimensions, rules

This one goes out by request. After a few hours of research (and lots of time spent frustratingly chasing dead ends) BallinEurope comments on FIBA’s first big official move of 2013 – the seemingly inevitable rule changes coming to international basketball representing further acquiescence in the shadow of the NBA.

The story
So here’s what’s known. Back in July, a group of 13 from all around the basketball and business worlds produced a list of proposals under the auspices of the Euroleague’s Basketball Rules Summit.

The summit’s chief goal was to tweak the game to make “the competitions cleaner, fairer and more exciting,” and while most prescribed changes were cosmetic (e.g. jump-ball rules, timeout changes), one radical idea then put forth would make the uniform standard court size based on NBA specifications.

In late November, the Euroleague Commercial Assets Assembly (CAA) met on the subject of certain proposed rule changes with regard to, well, the bottom line of top-level European basketball clubs. While the CAA typically addresses and assesses issues connected with ticket sales, broadcast rights, investment, corporate social responsibility, etc., the commission took it upon itself to discuss two wide-sweeping transformations: the recommendations from the summit and FIBA’s proposed reshaping of international tournaments.

After this meeting, the CAA agreed to send onto FIBA the rule-change proposals, including: Continue Reading…


FIBA’s new international tournament rules: Capitulation, silent collusion or just plain selling out?

Apologies from BallinEurope for not weighing in on this … thing until this morning, but after rereading it for the nth time, BiE felt the rant building but wanted to avoid posting an overly emotional response. Perhaps a day and a good night’s rest would temper my viewpoint; maybe upon waking this morning, we’d all discover after logging in to that the Eurobasket manipulation had all been a smokescreen for the hiring of Mike D’Antoni. Or something.

Or does one…?

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Economic reality hits Netherlands; national team defunct through 2014

On the evening before a meeting of domestic league officials, the Netherlands’ basketball federation announced that the country would not be fielding a men’s national team or a U20 squad in international competition for next summer and in 2014.

The reason? What else but money?

The NBB reported that a debt of €400,000 (over $510,000) has been run up by the club over the past two years; the austerity measures were further blamed on the lack of Netherlands’ clubs’ prestige internationally and the fact that no club could afford to play in pan-European competitions in 2012-13.

All women’s programs, men’s youth basketball and wheelchair teams will continue unimpeded.

Team Netherlands has not qualified for the men’s Eurobasket tournament since 1989.

Thanks to Gideon van der Hijden of Netherlands-based Basketball Plus for the tip!

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