Right. So. Especially after this –

– and with the calendar page about to be flipped into 2013, BallinEurope’s question is: Which is the best basketball team in Europe right now?

Straight by the qualification system, the top four teams in Euroleague round one were Real Madrid, Maccabi Tel Aviv, FC Barcelona and Žalgiris Kaunas – not a bad start there, but Eurobasket.com’s mathematically-derived rankings on Monday morning includes CSKA Moscow at no. 1 and Olympiacos at no. 3. Maccabi, likely saddled by the competitive imbalance they enjoy back home in the Ligat Ha’Al, places a lowly eighth…

Here on the virtual homefront, the BallinEurope Euroleague Power Rankings had CSKA at no. 2 going into this –

– and would certainly move ‘em up to no. 1 based on a season highlight-film win in which everything went right; for good measure, the Red Army upped its VTB United League record to 8-1 with a triumph over Triumph.

BiE had Olympiacos at no. 3, but win over Milano showed the businesslike efficiency in the second half that trademarked last season’s miracle run(s).

Could the defending Euroleague/Greek League champion Reds be The Continent’s tops going into 2013?

Real Madrid got past something of a recent speed bump by returning to their open-floor game against Union Olimpija and remained undefeated in Liga Endesa by topping Blusens Monbus this weekend:

Also getting past recent difficulties – specifically, three weeks in November which saw a 1-2 mark in Euroleague and the team’s only loss in the VTB – Žalgiris has shown the talent and depth to go deep in both leagues’ playoffs.

Finally, how about Maccabi? Sure, there’s was this –

– but, hey, anomalies happen, right? The truth is one Ricky Hickman miss and an inexplicably hot Tomas Ress were the barriers to a 10-0 Euroleague run from the Israeli side.

The point? In pointed contrast to seasons past (and 2011-12 in particular), no one or two dominant-looking teams are roaming the courts of Europe this team around in a nice show of parity at the top. So in lieu of power rankings (and BiE hedging with anybody, for that matter), we’ll do it the democratic way. Weigh in below and feel free to defend your choice in the comments section. Remember: Vote early, vote often and your vote counts!

Which is the best team in Europe going into 2013?

  • Olympiacos (27%, 24 Votes)
  • Zalgiris Kaunas (26%, 23 Votes)
  • CSKA Moscow (15%, 13 Votes)
  • FC Barcelona (12%, 11 Votes)
  • other (9%, 8 Votes)
  • Real Madrid (7%, 6 Votes)
  • Maccabi Tel Aviv (4%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 89

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