BiE’s editor takes the ice bucket challenge, nominates Basketball Ireland boss +++ Žydrūnas Ilgauskas considering a comeback? Wow LeBron has power +++ The Dream Team’s children +++ Highlights: Belgium beat Belarus, Germany stay alive +++ EuroBasket 2015: Bosnia, Belgium, Israel, and Latvia lock up spots +++ First Person: Follow the FIBA World Cup through BiE’s eyes +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer: The Final – USA vs France +++ Tight knit Iceland too much for Great Britain +++ EuroBasket 2015: Round-up and Highlights from Wednesday’s qualifiers +++ FIBA dropped a sweet promo for the World Cup +++

Highlights: Kentucky down Chalon-Reims

Big Blue got off to a big start in pre-season beating French Pro B team Chalon-Reims 81-58 in the Bahamas. Aaron Harrison stole the show with this big dunk
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A really early look at the 2015 NCAA Basketball odds

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
BiE’s editor used to work in betting, he still thinks about it a lot, and with one Euro potentially being a game-changer next year, he’s really interested in why Kansas are being under-valued.

Rock chalk Mykhailiuk may not have a ring to it but it seems apt especially as the local press around KU are cooling on Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk already. One look at the really early 2015 odds for the NCAA Basketball title and it’s clear the Jayhawks are there or thereabouts but the wunderkind has yet to be truly accounted for by oddsmakers. Kansas at +1400 looks a great bet for hedging in the early going. Only a fool ordains a champion in the off-season but you have to think the Jayhawks are a 1 or 2 seed come March, at worst at 3, based on Bill Self’s body of work. That makes them a good team to carry all the way to the middle weekend of the big dance before you start laying them.

The team to steer clear off, and then some, right now is arguably the most talented team in the sport. The Kentucky Wildcats are loaded and John Calipari is a brilliant coach but you just can’t bet on anybody at +275 in August. It’s beyond foolish. That number will come out and the smart bettor will hang on until it does. Right now, that’s just too stingy a price.
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Travis Black fights to get back on the floor

Travis Black got the chance that so many young ballers spend their lives working for. He got a scholarship to play basketball and get an education at the same time. Half-way through his college career, that’s all in jeopardy because of a NCAA ruling. Emmet Ryan spoke with the Irish baller about his fight to regain his eligibility from the NCAA.

It was quite the leap. Travis Black spent his teenage years playing for Swords and Ard Scoil Ris in Ireland before getting the chance to go to the US at 17. The Dubliner had to leave his family behind to try his hand at pursuing his dream. Black didn’t immediately go to college, despite finishing second level in Ireland because he was told he had to do more to qualify.

“I was told that since I graduated from secondary school in Ireland, moving to America I did not have the credentials to be considered a American high school graduate. So I was classified as a Junior in high school,” Black told

“After graduating I attend a Prep School for a year to strengthen my academics where I also participated on their basketball team.”

Black first made it into the juco ranks, helping the Spartanburg Methodist Academy to the NJCAA Final Four. From there he got an offer to play Division II ball with Clayton State. That’s when the NCAA stepped in.

“They declared me ineligible for my final two years so basically I’m done playing but with all this publicity maybe I can get the case reviewed again. If that does not work I might have eligibility to play NAIA which is another Division but I’m waiting on word regarding that situation,” said Black.

“I receive a great amount of support from my teammates. The coaching staff has let me continue to practice with the team and allow me to have a major role within the team.”

Essentially Black is being punished for furthering his education. By finishing his Leaving Cert in Ireland and then going on to complete high school in the US, the Dubliner has done all he can to make sure he was eligible to play at the NCAA level. The governing body doesn’t see it that way.

“The NCAA always promotes students first and athletes second. I’m just a young Irish lad trying to get my bachelor’s degree, while pursuing my dream of playing college basketball,” said Black.

“Not only is my eligibility taken but my opportunity to have school paid for which is worth $40,000 for the next 2 years,” he said.

Black’s fight came to BiE’s attention following a massive social media campaign last weekend. The Black family back in Ireland has mobilised the basketball community locally and their efforts have seen support come in from across the globe. Black recognises the importance of this kind of backing.

“The more the NCAA is being publicized in a bad way, the more chance they might review the case. Like I said because there such a big organisation in America so they don’t want to have a bad name,” said Black

“To have so much support from people I don’t even know gives me hope and shows that the people who have been there for me since day one is great to see as well. I would like to give a big thanks to everybody that has supported me,” he said.

“To all the people I do know and for the ones who I don’t know, it means a whole to me and my family. All I ever done since I have been in America is work hard, represent my family, my friends and last but not least my country. In doing this my way of paying back my family, friends and country was not only playing college basketball at a high level but earning a college degree as well. I kind of felt ill letting them down but there is nothing I can really do. I still plan on reaching those goals though because I have come too far to stop now and with all this support from back home and around different places I know I’ll get it done.”

You can show your support for Black by tweeting with the hashtag #LetTravisPlay


Juco Javonte Douglas nails a just plain filthy putback dunk

There is nothing remotely European about this clip. It would however be most un-European of us not to bring it to your attention. Javonte Douglas is a junior college player with the College of Central Florida Patriots. He nailed a putback with no regard for human life.


Madness? No, this is San Jose!

Sparta is in Europe so that totally makes this legitimate for us to post. That and it’s too ridiculous not to. This is the new floor at the San Jose State Event Center, the creatively titled home of the SJSU Spartans. In case you were wondering, they opted for five Spartans in the design to represent five players on the court. (h/t Gheorghe The Blog).

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Podcast: Interviewing ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla on European prospects, college hoops

Episode #46 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online or via iTunes.

We’re very pleased to have guesting on the show this week none other than former University of New Mexico Lobos head coach/current ESPN college basketball analyst and commentator/fantastic tweeter Fran Fraschilla. Since Fraschilla was in attendance at the recent FIBA U19 World Championship tournament, we gladly pick the man’s brains for his takes on Dante Exum of Australia; Sebastian Saiz, incoming freshman at Ole Miss; Nick Duncan of Team Australia and Boise State University; exciting Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic; and most of *that* Team USA side.

Just as naturally, BiE couldn’t resist getting the dish on Elias Harris’ prospects with the Los Angeles Lakers (a deal which Fraschilla recently tweet-praised), UNM’s chances in the 2013-14 season, and why he got out (and stayed out) of the coaching game back in ’02.

Hein and BiE were also able to yuk it up in our sports movie review of the week, because we checked out a true classic in sportsworld-side satire from the minds of those South Parkers, Trey Parker and Matt Stone – that’s right, we’re talking Baseketball!


Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter into iTunes or any podcast aggregator.

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FGCU 78, Georgetown 68: The dunk, upset and prediction of the year

Cinderella, March Madness, instant history, the excitement of college hoops, etc. etc. So Florida Gulf Coast University destroyed what was left of BallinEurope’s NCAA Tournament bracket after the (sigh) University of New Mexico debacle plucky Harvard victory on Thursday with a thrilling 78-68 win over heralded no. 2 seed Georgetown. Unfortunately, the troika of FGCU’s European players didn’t do much, but who cares? The basketball upset of 2013 has been accomplished.

Therefore, the immediate YouTube-based reaction and clips, for posterity’s sake.
First off, let’s give props to a guy named Hebrew Hammy. Ol’ Hammy went on something called Collision Sports Talk a couple of nights ago, making the truly fearless prediction of the Eagles overcoming the mighty Hoyas. At least this part of the guy’s bracket ain’t broke…

And sure, here’s the dunk everyone’s gonna be discussing, posting, tweeting and retweeting today. Welcome to your 15 seconds of viral fame, Mr. Chase Fieler!


March Madness: BallinEurope unleashes NCAA Tournament bracket

All right, fellow amateur bracketologists, see below the break for BallinEurope’s filled-out NCAA Tournament bracket. Full disclosure: BallinEurope used much more heart than head in formulating these predictions — so sure, In BiE land, Gonzaga can take the whole thing and New Mexico can finally bag that elusive Elite Eight bid (taking out Ohio State in the process, no less). BiE does not recommend application of sentiment in filling out brackets. Unless you just want to prolong a dream…

P.S. Go Lobos!

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Poll: Who are you cheering for in the 2013 NCAA Tournament?

After trawling the rosters of teams invited to the 2013 NCAA Tournament, a.k.a. The Big Dance, a.k.a. the cause of March Madness, BallinEurope has decided to divide its loyalty among three European-accented college squads.

And you? Who do you like in the big bracket? Vote below, vote early, vote often. And let the Madness begin!

Who are you cheering for to win the 2013 NCAA Tournament?

  • My alma mater (33%, 5 Votes)
  • Duke (20%, 3 Votes)
  • Any team except for Duke (20%, 3 Votes)
  • Gonzaga (13%, 2 Votes)
  • New Mexico State University (13%, 2 Votes)
  • Florida Gulf Coast University (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Any underdog (1%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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March Madness: Three teams (and nine players) to support in the 2013 NCAA Tournament

Can Harris, Gonzaga continue to ride the wave?

Can one website support three teams in a single competition? Hey, it’s March Madness, so why not? Earlier, BallinEurope took a brief look at half the European players set to compete (or not) in the 2013 NCAA Tournament; today, nine more – and a bit of a conundrum Though some 18 names on Big Dance rosters represent the Continent in this year’s tourney, three teams have each amassed a European triad – not to mention a few certain NBA draft picks and difference-makers in the tournament.

The easy choice for the European basketball fan would of course be Gonzaga. With a realistic shot at winning the whole enchilada and having perfected that up-tempo style for which this basketball program has become known, why not get on the bandwagon? After a topsy-turvy season during which it felt like a new no. 1 topped polls weekly, the Bulldogs finally emerged atop the ratings, only to see that ranking immediately erased thanks to bracket-building.

Of course, one could eliminate the Zags from contention for your Tournament-time devotion on a technicality. Guy Landry Edi’s hometown according to the NCAA and media sources is Paris, France. However, serious followers of FIBA ball will recall that, after playing with Team France in the U16s, he then suited up – thus changed his eligible nationality in FIBA terms – for Côte d’Ivoire in the 2010 FIBA World Championship (and subsequently the 2011 FIBA Africa Championship).

So could it be that Edi is finally worn down? Or, put another way, what happened to this guy in 2013? Since the New Year’s Eve game at Oklahoma State, Edi has totaled nearly as many personal fouls (11) as points (16, including seven in the Seniors Day Game blowout against Portland). Heck, he hasn’t scored a point since January 24, since going 0-for-13.

BiE wonders if we’ll ever see this player again (and thinks, yeah, maybe in Pro A next season):

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