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The BBL experience – Rowdy in Frankfurt +++ Fearless predictions: Euroleague playoffs +++ A Dario triple-double? Now that’s good timing +++ Swee’ Pea needs your help +++ Final Four: What the bookies say when the bookies talk +++ The greatest Eurodance tribute to Goran Dragic ever +++ Swaggy P’s tribute to Os moving back to the USA +++ Help Swee’ Pea make the big screen +++ The Dish: Can I play with Madness? +++ Just point out the bounce +++
Jun
2

List of European champions, 2011-12: Final edition

Last week saw the final game in a handful of major European domestic basketball leagues – including Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Serbia – and so BallinEurope offers the final and complete roundup of this year’s champions. And it seems like the season just began … ah, well, onto the 2012 Olympics!

(Incidentally, conclusion of the playoffs means that the new version of the ever-popular Euroleague Transfers Table will be uploaded in a day or two; BiE’s working on it now…)

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Jun
3

Besiktas 80, Anadolu Efes 76: The BallinEurope review of a triple-crown season

Besiktas introduces Deron Williams: It seems like so long ago...

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Beşiktaş Milangaz, who capped a fascinating whirlwind run last night with an 80-76 victory over Anadolu Efes in game six of the TBL championship series. The Black Eagles may add the trophy to their Turkish Cup and FIBA Eurochallenge title in 2011-12, certainly the most successful – and among the most bizarre – seasons the club has ever experienced.

Beşiktaş’ season, like any power in club hoops, began in the summer. All they did to top last year’s high-profile signing of the ultimately marginal Allen Iverson was ink Deron Williams, a franchise guard at his peak, to the biggest contract in European basketball with an NBA out-clause when the player lockout was to be settled.

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Jun
2

List of European champions, 2011-12: Future nearly upon us edition

While Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, Italy and Serbia have yet to crown this season’s basketball champions, most other domestic leagues have, thus allowing us to visualize the makeups of the 2012-13 Euroleague, Adriatic League and (kinda sorta) Eurocup.

Newly welcome champions to the BallinEurope include those from Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina (with some disheartening financial news), Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland – plus updates on the aforementioned championship series and more video highlights, of course. Now cue up the Queen!

Euroleague: The top level in all of Europe provided one of the Continent’s top-level upsets when Olympiacos topped the highly-favored CSKA Moscow on Georgios Printezis’ runner which exploded the internet with less than two ticks remaining on the game clock. Olympiacos created an instant classic this year, nipping the Red Army, 63-61, after lagging behind for nearly the entire game – utterly subjectively speaking, the marvelous comeback kinda recalled two NBA playoff matches from way-back-when, a.k.a. 2002: this and this.

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May
3

Pops the tops: Mensah-Bonsu leads Besiktas to win, produces fantastic highlight clips

Pops, there he goes again

Now that leagues are heading into their championship homestretch, the crème de la crème in Europe is tending to rise to the top – perhaps none more so than BallinEurope fave Pops Mensah-Bonsu. (And yeah, BiE has heard of that Vassilis Spanoulis guy, but run with yet for a moment.) Not only did Pops earn FIBA EuroChallenge Final Four MVP honors in leading his Beşiktaş Milangaz to the title there, he’s also ripping up the competition in Turkey.

In game one of the TBL championship series with Anadolu Efes, Pops was again at the forefront in an 82-75 victory at Efes’ place: Team Britain’s leader was good for a big 18 points on 7-on-9 shooting plus seven rebounds and three blocks in the match, game highs in the first and last stat while second only to teammate Erwin Dudley in boards.

Pops was clearly no. 1 in the intangible excitement factor, however, once again displaying his effortless “Blake Who?” leaping ability on a pair of poster-perfect jams. And since a YouTube is worth 10,000 words, BiE’ll go straight to the clip.

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May
4

List of European champions, 2011-12: End of May update edition

Can the Eurochallenge champions add a TBL title?

Basketball grinds on in Europe’s three dozen or so domestic leagues and so BallinEurope today updates the “List of European Champions” page. Since last posting, new champs have been crowned in Israel (guess who), Slovenia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Holland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania.

Things are progressing meanwhile in Europe’s larger leagues including Spain, Greece, France, Italy, Croatia, Serbia and Germany, and entries for these countries have been updated as well. Plus, new highlight clips and links have been peppered into the list as well; scroll down for BiE’s honorary roll call of European basketball champions.

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May
1

List of European champions, 2011-12: First edition

Olympiacos are the champions

BallinEurope is officially back from his post-Euroleague Final Four vacation (hey, you can’t blame BiE for enjoying Istanbul for a couple extra days after wall-to-wall b-ball reportage)! How to prove it? Well, here’s this year’s first traditional “List of European champions.”

Below runs news on domestic and pan-European champions from across the Continent – from nearly 50 leagues in all – plus, where applicable, video clips. In cases where playoffs are underway, information on the process of each tourney is noted. Read on to find out who reigns in hallowed corners of European basketball like Iceland, Luxembourg and Albania … while wondering if any story can top Olympiacos’ amazing Euroleague run.

Euroleague: The top level in all of Europe provided one of the Continent’s top-level upsets when Olympiacos topped the highly-favored CSKA Moscow on Georgios Printezis’ runner which exploded the internet with less than two ticks remaining on the game clock. Olympiacos created an instant classic this year, nipping the Red Army, 63-61, after lagging behind for nearly the entire game – utterly subjectively speaking, the marvelous comeback kinda recalled two NBA playoff matches from way-back-when, a.k.a. 2002: this and this.

Continue Reading…

May
18

The EuroChallenge Championship Curse: What of Beşiktaş’ future?

In this second piece of a two-part series, sportswriter/commentator Uygar Karaca again considers the EuroChallenge Championship Curse, with special reference to this year’s champions, Beşiktaş; unfortunately for the Eagles, Karaca feels a distressing amount of déjà vu…

In this article, I will try to answer the question as to whether Beşiktaş Milangaz fits into the framework of the “EuroChallenge Championship Curse.” Just to reminder for readers: A few days ago, I compiled a list of teams who won the FIBA EuroChallenge trophy and what happened to them thereafter. Many of these team’s fates were not very nice and unfortunately, one can fairly claim that Beşiktaş is walking a similar path.

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May
4

Revealed: The EuroChallenge championship curse

(image courtesy Hurriyet Daily News)

Yes, but *should* they be celebrating?

Winning the EuroChallenge title is a good thing, right? After all, it’s typically the first Continental trophy to display on the mantelpiece and the champions label wins the club to right to play in the more prestigious (and more big-bucks) Eurocup competition the following season.

Well, Uygar Karaca may convince believers otherwise. In the first of a two-part series for BallinEurope.com, Karaca flips through the pages of recent EuroChallenge history to reveal the success – or lack thereof – championship clubs have experienced directly following a title bid. Hint: It’s pretty bleak stuff after 2004. Sorry, Beşiktaş

Winning a competition, especially on the Continental level, is a great achievement. However, titles come with a price. When success exposes players to the market, for example, clubs with better offers take the stars away. Alternatively, in order to get a trophy, clubs sometimes spend more than they can afford, which triggers the process of eventual financial collapse.

In this article, I tried to see whether winning the FIBA EuroChallenge tournament signals brighter days for the club or rather indicates a peak with the way forward pointing downward. Continue Reading…

Apr
4

FIBA EuroChallenge: Mensah-Bonsu, Erceg, Arroyo lead Beşiktaş to 91-86 win, championship title

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Beşiktaş Milangaz, winners of the 2011-12 FIBA EuroChallenge title with a 91-86 victory over Elan Chalon last night. The win represents not only advancement to Eurocup play for 2012-13, but also Turkey’s second-ever European club championship: An Efes Pilsen side led by Conrad McRae, Petar Naumoski and Ufuk Sarıca ultimately hoisted the 1996 Korać Cup.

BiE fave Pops Mensah-Bonsu earned MVP honors – and the sobriquet of “Mr. Double-Double” – with a monstrous 26-point, 20-rebound effort in the final match.

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Feb
2

Bundesliga roundup: Bayern Munchen snaps road losing streak; Artland Dragons slain; Tibor Pleiss, Brose Baskets put on show for OK City Thunder scouts

Bauermann, Bayern "Almost crushed by snowball"

From the land of Dirk – Nowitzki and Bauermann, that is – David Hein reports on a few happenings in Germany’s top division of basketball. Read on to find out about Bayern Munich’s win on the road (finally); Artland Dragons’ ignominious first quarter against Ratiopharm Ulm; and Tibor Pleiß’ performance for Oklahoma City Thunder scouts.

All is well and good in the southern German metropolis Munich as FC Bayern finally snapped their road losing streak while Artland Dragons coach Stefan Koch was left dumbfounded with his team’s embarrassing start to the top showdown with ratiopharm Ulm. Oh, and Brose Baskets cruised to another win – by 34 points, despite giving 42 minutes of playing time to three Germans 21 years and younger.

Bayern Munich boss Dirk Bauermann was considering bringing in a sports psychologist to talk his players through their nine-game losing streak in the BBL. But Bayern finally unloaded the 5,000-pound gorilla from their back with an 82-72 victory at Phoenix Hagen – Munich’s first road win since beating BG Göttingen on October 15 – to improve their BBL road record to 2-10.

“The relief could be seen on the players. It was pretty crazy in the locker room and the mood on the bus afterwards was superb,” Bauermann told the Abendzeitung daily after the win, which improved Bayern’s record to 13-11, good for seventh place.

“The snowball had gotten so big that it almost crushed us to death. But now the losing streak is over with,” added Bauermann, whose team would have dropped out of the playoff ranks with another defeat.

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