FIBA dropped a sweet promo for the World Cup +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer – Bronze Medal Match +++ Rudy gets iced, the internet rejoices +++ FIBA World Cup Preview – Group C +++ CSKA Moscow’s Kyle Hines and Sonny Weems take the ice bucket challenge +++ Tony Parker does ice bucket challenge but his friend can’t use a camera phone +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer: Semi Finals +++ EuroBasket 2015: Wins for Macedonia, Belgium, and Georgia +++ Q&A with Alex Krstanovic on the Belgrade Trophy +++ Thomas Klepeisz shows you how to celebrate a winning bucket +++

Who can stop Team USA?

This one goes out by request to BallinEurope’s Lithuanian agent Y. … with Team USA coming together to play the Dominican Republic today – with or without Chris Paul – BiE tries to answer the question “Who [if anyone] can beat Team USA?”

Good one.

A few gauntlets have been thrown by the Americans already, the least of which is certainly not the roster itself. That roster, one more time, is the following.

Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)
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2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament Preview: Greece

Just one more day (or so, CET) until the heartily-named 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men tips off in Venezuela. BallinEurope continues with previews of the four European qualifiers with an assessment of Greece, a.k.a. Olympiacos and a bunch of other guys.

Roster: Vassilis Spanoulis, Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou, Kostas Sloukas, Evangelos Mantzaris (Olympiacos); Ioannis Bourousis, Antonis Fotsis (Olimpia Milano); Nikos Zisis (Montepaschi Siena); Nick Calathes, Kostas Kaimakoglou, Ian Vougioukas (Panathinaikos); Dimitrios Mavroeidis, Kostas Vasileiadis (Gescrap Bilbao Basket); and Michael Bramos (Gran Canaria); head coach Ilias Zouros (Anadolu Efes)

Notable no shows: Dimitris Diamantidis of Panathinaikos retired from national team play, returning that all-important starting point guard role to Vassilis Spanoulis – not a bad trade off this year … also out are Kostas Koufos (Denver Nuggets) and Sofoklis Schortsanitis (Maccabi Tel Aviv) due to injury.

How they got here: In Eurobasket 2011, a hot start saw Team Greece winning five of the first six games, only to drop three of the final five with losses to Russia, France and Lithuania in the placement game. In the penultimate match, however, Hellas put together its best game of the tournament in topping Serbia, 87-77, to earn a spot in these qualifiers.

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Official BallinEurope Euroleague Power Rankings: Final preseason edition

The 2010-11 Euroleague season tips off tomorrow? Right, then. Presenting the last preseason – and thus last totally subjective, because we’ll be able to base these things on, you know, wins and losses beginning next week – BallinEurope Official Euroleague Power Rankings™. (Plus lots of video clips.) Enjoy!

1. (↔) FC Barcelona – Yeah, as though we didn’t know how good Barça was going to be this season, they went and bored down behind mighty Pete Mickael to take out the Los Angeles Lakers at home. In addition, they’re 3-0 in ACB play thus far while outscoring opponents by an average of 82-68, the Human YouTube Clip has added a couple more highlights to the infinite reel, Juan Carlos Navarro has been “¡espectacular,” et cetera.

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Greece vs. Russia: He who wins shall lose?

Rosie knows it

“Sometimes when you win, you really lose. And sometimes when you lose, you really win. And sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic globule, from which one extracts what one needs.” – Gloria Clemente, White Men Can’t Jump

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Teams USA, Turkey and Lithuania for getting tickets punched into the knockout tournament as VIP no. 1 seeds. And while the Argentina-Serbia battle tonight to determine how Group A shakes out should be a dandy, the one to watch – particularly if you’re a FIBA official or conspiracy theorist – will be Russia vs. Greece.

In what is definitely a case of “he who wins shall lose,” the no. 2 seed in Group C will face what appears to be the most difficult path to the championship game in the bracket. Assuming Team Spain handles winless Canada, the winner of tonight’s Russia-Greece contest would first draw Espana as no. 3 seed in Group D in the “eight finals,” followed by (Team USA) the winner of USA vs. Angola/Australia.

The loser of Russia-Greece would get a bracket that includes an opening game against France followed by the winner of Argentina vs. Brazil/Croatia – while hardly an easy road, which do you think David Blatt and Jonas Kazlauskas would prefer?

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Fearless predictions: 2010 FIBA World Championship, day four

Air Martynas!

Sorry folks, a bit short on time today, but after a perfect 6-0 showing in the official BallinEurope 2010 FIBA World Championship Fearless Predictions™, how could BiE leave you hanging?

With two excellent games going down yesterday (Sheesh, who knew a team that gave up 75 points to Jordan could defend?) in the Slovenia-Croatia sharpshooting bonanza and the USA-Brazil thriller that surely had American fans at least slightly nervous throughout – and all this, as they say, without Anderson Varejao.

Tonight’s two could-be-classics were meanly scheduled by FIBA to go down at the same time: At 8pm CET (2pm EST), Euroball fans get to choose between Spain-Lithuania and Greece-Turkey – BiE’s set to click back and forth, lemme tell ya.

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Fearless predictions: 2010 FIBA World Championship, day three

Scene from the Summer of Love

Who had Germany to win in a nail-biter over Serbia in the 2010 FIBA World Championship game last night? That’s right: BallinEurope, baby! As Sidney Deane once said, “I don’t mean to brag, but I’m the greatest.” (Of course, we’ll not be discussing the performance of Team France, who followed up the stunning win over Spain with an impressive 27-point immolation of … never mind.)

BiE went 21-3 over the course of days one and two; here’s to hoping the trend continues with BallinEurope’s official Fearless Predictions™for today’s six-pack of games.

We’ll dispense with three must-miss games in brief. In terms of blowout, the only question is whether the damage Argentina does in beating up on hapless Angola tonight will top Serbia’s certain smoking of Jordan. All things considered, that three-game suspension of Nenad Krstic was quite the wrist-slap indeed: Assuming a win today, the realistic worst-case scenario for Team Serbia in the first games has happened and the team sits at 2-1.

As for Tunisia-Iran and the battle for Group B impotency, BiE picks Iran. Bonus prediction: This game will set the mark for lowest attendance in this tournament.

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BallinEurope’s 2010 FIBA World Championship power rankings 4.1

Whoa … anyone who thinks these “friendly” games in the runup to the 2010 FIBA World Championship don’t matter to the teams involved certainly wasn’t paying attention the literal battle that ensued during last night’s final game of the Acropolis Basketball Tournament between Greece and Serbia.

With the Acropolis tourney now in the books and a handful of other interesting friendlies having played out this week, BallinEurope gets ready for more international matches this weekend with another round of power rankings. Enjoy!

1. (↔) Spain. BiE has been warned that Team Spain’s 84-68 over Brazil in Logroño on Wednesday was well assisted by referees and Brazil without Tiago Splitter and Nene is hardly Brazil at all. On the other hand, Spain handled Argentina, Mike Krzyzewski’s got love for the Pau-less team, and Espana shows no serious signs of weakness.

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BallinEurope’s 2010 FIBA World Championship power rankings 4.0

BiE was waiting for a result from last night’s Brazil-Argentina game in Spain before preparing this week’s edition of the official BallinEurope 2010 FIBA World Championship Power Rankings.

Now that those numbers are in, the long-awaited list may be unveiled; who’s hot and who’s not? In BiE’s opinion, readings off the lay lines of the ever ether-shifting momentum (plus YouTube videos!) look something like the following.

1. (↔) Spain. It’s been a good news/bad news deal for Spain this week. The bad news is that Team España is finally experiencing a few injury woes, a situation nearly every legitimate qualifier except the USA has faced in July/August: Jorge Garbajosa and Alex Mumbru did not practice yesterday, while Marc Gasol and Rudy Fernandez will sit tonight against Brazil. The good news: the slightly new-look Spain brought in Sergio Llull and returned Juan Carlos Navarro on Sunday against Argentina to take control of the second half and win, 83-76, in Logroño. Nice arsenal Sergio Scariolo has there.

2. (↑) USA. All right, so BiE isn’t *quite* ready to leap up and start chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” just yet, but maybe Coach K’s run-run-run philosophy can work – at least against lesser-lights like France and China. Maybe former University of New Mexico Lobo Danny Granger can be a go-to guy for the Red-White-and-Blues. Maybe things are as simple as Andre Iguodala’s summation of “We’re the fastest team in the world, so we’ve got to use that to our advantage.” Maybe Lamar Odom can play center against the likes of Spain and Turkey … wait a second, losing some perspective here…

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Sunday roundup: Slovenia stunned; France smoked by Canada; USA, Serbia, Lebanon roll

With three key warmups for the 2010 FIBA World Championship tipping off tonight, BallinEurope takes quick stock of some of the games played in the last few days and relevant news on the Team Brazil roster and Hellene injuries – links and video abound, too.

Slovenia shocked by New Zealand…
No matter what Team New Zealand does in Turkey, Kirk Penney and the Kiwis have already played their match of the year, a 104-103 double-OT victory over Slovenia in Maribor on Friday night.

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Power rankings (already updated): 2010 FIBA World Championship

See, BiE secretly knew this would happen … you break down, make a few fearless predictions online and bam! The inconvenient fact of a loss – two losses in fact, one particularly egregious – goes down and you suddenly have to rework the whole damn post on 2010 FIBA World Championship power rankings.

In the egregious loss previously referenced, the proclamation that Team Canada would “surprise a few people” proved prophetic, but not in the way assumed. Over a squad that FIBA was forced to label a “Canadian developmental team” did Spain romp for a final score of 84-38. Those who’ve doubted the star power of Team Spain can note Felipe Reyes, Rudy Fernandez and Carlos Suarez all going for double-figures in limited team plus probably with one arm tied behind their backs.

And Team Slovenia was no doubt downloading BallinEurope’s original power rankings to use as fodder to beat up on Australia, 71-60. No depth, judged BiE? “Ha!” responded the Slovenes, who brought Sani Becirovic to put up 20 points and unleashed The Dragon for Goran Dragic to add 13. (BiE told you the Aussies would never get above no. 10 for the remainder of the tournament.)

Ah no matter … we knew these things were flexible, right? Plus, BallinEurope gets to splash a big “updated” across the post, like a real cutting-edge producer of news and opinion. BallinEurope’s official 2010 FIBA World Championship Power Rankings run below the break.

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