Ivanovic: Too tough for Eliyahu?
It seems like forever, but the Euroleague break is over tomorrow with the beginning of the elite eight playoff round. Today the basketball news outlets are buzzing with anticipation, and BallinEurope brings you a few bits, bites and, oh yes, YouTube clips to get those viewing muscles warmed up a bit…
• Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Caja Laboral Baskonia. The Israeli side’s home ‘paper Haaretz is taking a conservative stance vis-à-vis its team – though if any series looks like a sweep for the favorite, it’s this one – in headlining today that “Maccabi Tel Aviv faces a tough coach in Dusko Ivanovic of Caja Laboral Vitoria, maybe too tough for his own good.” This news outlet also points out that Ivanovic has twice been bounced from a Euroleague title by Maccabi: David Blatt’s 2002 team beat Vitoria in the final eight round, while Tel Aviv took the EL championship by beating TAU Vitoria in the final game of 2005.
In analyzing Ivanovic’s tactics, El Mundo Deportivo editor Jose Hueget speculates that “Lior Eliyahu, who played under Ivanovic in Vitoria last year, returned to Maccabi in part because of the coach, not just because he missed Israel.”
• FC Barcelona vs. Panathinaikos. PAO personnel are publicly relishing their roles as underdogs against favored Barca. At a Saturday press conference, Dimitris Diamantidis proclaimed that he “believes in his team,” Mike Batiste stated that he “loves challenges” and Zeljko Obradovic declared “Let’s go to battle!”
In terms of head-to-head matchups, much hype is centered on RR vs. DD, so how about a review of the last Ricky Rubio-Diamantidis clash, namely Spain vs. Greece in the 2010 FIBA World Championship?