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 +++ 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 +++

Greatest of all-time: Yugoslavia or Spain?

An interesting exchange of tweets went down last Friday (yes, minus points for untimeliness, but on another job BallinEurope thought deep into the matter all weekend) between HoopsHype/ESPN Deportes writer Jorge Sierra and Team Australia/Milwaukee Bucks big man Andrew Bogut.

Things started innocuously enough, with Sierra plugging a Spanish-language piece he’d written for Deportes: “An article I penned about Pau Gasol’s Spain potentially being the best non-American team ever,” the HoopsHype tweet read.

To which Bogut shot back with, “@hoopshype Yugoslavia of the late 80s might disagree.”

Retorted the ‘Hype: “@AndrewMBogut Gasol has a better record with Spain (2003-2011) than Petrovic with Yugoslavia (1984-1990).

And finally the exchange ended with Bogut’s terse tweeting of “@hoopshype didn’t say Petro. Said teams. Petro, Divac, Kukoc, Radja etc. I know who i’d take…

It’s an interesting debate, particularly for those who remember actually seeing Drazen and the guys play in international competition. (Bogut was four years old in 1988 – November 1988 – and there’s no telling on Sierra. BiE was … well, let’s just say “old enough to have seen Team Yugoslavia.”) In fact, BallinEurope took on a similar subject a while back and decided that the post-communist Team Yugoslavia of 2001-02 captained by aging Vlade Divac was superior to any Spanish side since the decade turned – but that’s just one opinion…

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Pop Quiz: The Euro-/NBA-centric year in basketball

For bonus points, identify this player

Just because the NBA Draft is over, the big league is heading toward a lockout, and the top European teams are thick into the wheeling/dealing of off-season acquisitions with an eye to 2011-12, that’s no reason to forget your history. Were you paying attention this season? Test your knowledge with the official BallinEurope 2010-11 season-ending pop quiz. (And you thought your semester was over…)

The quiz is multiple choice and is European- and NBA-centric in topic. It is multiple guess choice, and so choose the one answer that best completes the phrase or answers the question. You may use any writing implement at your disposal to fill in the answers – as long as you don’t mind marking up your screen, that is. Good luck. You may begin the exam now.

1. In the 2010-11 season, Dirk Nowitzki became most known for:
a) Being a clutch player, despite an arguably disappointing past history.
b) Entering the conversation as one of the NBA’s top 20 players of all-time.
c) Passing 22,000 career NBA points.
d) Take Dat Wit Chew.

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BallinEurope’s 2010 FIBA World Championship power rankings 5.0

Right. It’s time for the final edition – pending Nenad Krstic’s prospective suspension by FIBA – of BallinEurope’s 2010 FIBA World Championship power rankings. Now that Team USA has had it out with Spain and Greece, we can see the picture a little more clearly heading into the tournament tipping off Saturday. There’s a clear upper tier of USA, Spain, Greece and Argentina who can start thinking “podium” now; Serbia might also be included, again pending the Krstic decision.

But while the cream again rises to the top, question marks, dark horses and possible upsets well remain. Who doesn’t like how Germany’s rounding into shape? Or the Whole-Greater-Than-Sum-Of-Parts aspect to Team Lithuania? Or (for those paying attention) the possibilities of Lebanon…?

Without further ado, here’s BiE’s measurement of the trends going into the weekend. Enjoy (well, except for you Canada fans)!

1. (↑) USA. U-S-A! U-S-A! But seriously, the Red-White-and-Blues’ fans have got to be loving the performance of their guys last night against Greece, dominating all facets of the game – especially in the halfcourt, where BiE reckoned they’d be especially vulnerable. Good win for the U.S. Even if Hellas was coming without Ioannis Bourousis and Sofoklis Schortsanitis. Even if Kostas Tsartsaris exposed Lamar Odom and the rest as inadequate to play underneath against the bigger teams. Even if BiE still believes Spain will give them game in the semi-finals … is there a position 1½?

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BallinEurope’s 2010 FIBA World Championship power rankings 3.0

All right, now everything about the 2010 FIBA World Championship is coming into focus!

For example, now we know how good the relatively unknown Lithuanian squad will be – because they beat Slovenia after having to come back and go overtime against the Czech Republic. Um, and Argentina showed they’re awesome by … blowing a 20-point lead at half on their home court. Uh, well, one thing we can all agree on, at least: Team France is damn near sunk before this thing starts after another litany of no-shows.

These ratings are sure to be shaken up after many of these teams will be participating in tournament play or one-off exhibition games against fellow Worlds competitors this weekend. Up until Saturday night, however, BallinEurope sees the power flowing in the following 16 directions…

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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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Power ratings: 2010 FIBA World Championship

August is here and it’s full speed ahead for the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey later this month. In coming weeks, we’ll be seeing the national teams competing in the tournament playing warmup games all over the planet – indeed, some have already begun play.

With the last few big names having declared “yea” or “nay” on participation in the Worlds, BallinEurope figured it was high time to introduce power rankings for the upcoming tournament. Keep in mind that these rankings are not necessarily how BiE is fearlessly predicting they’ll end up when the 2010 Worlds are over, but rather how the squads are currently trending: You know, if the tournament started today…

All rankings are guaranteed to be 100% subjective with some semblance and factoring in of facts, FIBA rankings and sportsbooks’ odds on the tournament; the handy arrows indicate the team’s progress/regress on the chart (BiE’s pretending we ran one last week. Top 15 teams are ranked below the break.

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2010 FIBA World Championship odds: Looking for a dark horse {advertorial}

So call BallinEurope kooky: While everyone else with an eye on basketball – even European basketball, for Arvydas Sabonis’ sake – is concentrating on the NBA free-agent market, BiE is all attention on the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Men tipping off in Turkey in August.

Naturally, bookmakers too are into it and the early odds for the FIBA World Championship are up, including props on outright winner, group winners and even game one matches available at sponsor SportingBet.

Unfortunately, the SportingBet “2010 FIBA World Championship for Men Outright Winner” prop bet is merely that; no “each way” betting allowing punters to bet on the second-place finisher: a key wager in this tourney, should you be one of the teeming majority reckoning Team USA is the prospective runaway champion of this thing. The odds table looks like the following.

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Kobe likely addition to no-shows for 2010 FIBA World Championship

The folks at FIBA are referring to the upcoming 2010 World Championship tournament in Turkey as a “Giant Get-Together,” but with every passing day it seems the meeting gets just a bit smaller.

In seemingly the first mention of such an exclusion, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo lumped Kobe Bryant in with confirmed or near-confirmed Team USA no-shows such as Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony in the ‘paper on Friday.

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What’s missing from FIBA’s World Championship ad campaign?

So the Euroleague season is over and, though domestic league action is still with us for a couple months longer (BallinEurope’s “European Champions” feature is coming soon), something of that international competition spirit is missing for the nonce – at least until the FIBA World Championships in August and September!

And so the high-profile FIBA advertising campaign is starting to become more ubiquitous on at least English-language sports stations and websites. The “Giant Get-Together” campaign, prepared by Turkish production company Böcek Yapim for FIBA, is of quite attractive concept and design, centered on the juxtaposition of key national-team players and the gorgeous sights of host Turkey. (Though the Carlos Arroyo entry is a bit strange; what’s he doing to/on that bridge?)


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