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Feb
3

National Cups: Real Madrid ends 19 years of futility; Beşiktaş, Chalon take first-ever titles; Montepaschi Siena continues dominance

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope today to a quartet of national Cup holders in Real Madrid, Beşiktaş Milangaz, Chalon-sur-Saone and Montepaschi Siena. The former three victories are set to be particularly noted in club annals: Real ended a 19-year drought while Beşiktaş and Chalon both bagged their first-ever championships in their respective national cup tournaments after each were runners-up in 2011. Below run game wraps and highlight clips.

In Spain, Madrid won their first Spanish Cup since Arvydas Sabonis was on the team with a convincing 92-74 victory over FC Barcelona on the Blaugrana home court. Twenty-three was the magic number for Los Blancos, as Madrid took its 23rd such title behind 23 points from tournament MVP Sergio Llull. An extrapolation from the Liga Endesa’s official site goes something like the following.

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Jan
1

Coppa Italia preview: Can anyone stop Montepaschi Siena?

February will see Turin playing host to the Coppa Italia, a grueling four-day tournament featuring Italy’s top eight teams. With the matchups now determined, BallinEurope’s man in Italy, Enrico Cellini, provides a brief preview of the competition.

The first half of Serie A season is over and the table is set for a little appetizer to the final playoffs. In Turin, from February 16th to 19th, the top eight teams of the 2011-12 season’s first half will play each other in elimination games to conquer the Coppa Italia, the second-most important national trophy and litmus paper of each team’s ambitions.

The teams and matchups are as follows.

Montepaschi Siena (1) vs Banco di Sardegna Sassari (8)
EA7 Milano (4) vs Canadian Solar Bologna (5)
Scavolini Siviglia Pesaro (2) vs Umana Venezia (7)
Bennet Cantù (3) vs Sidigas Avellino (6)

Will this be an opportunity for Montepaschi Siena to reassert its dominance after a few unexpected losses or a chance for rampant new challengers to prepare for an assault on the throne?

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Feb
4

February Madness: Rounding up the cups, serving up some highlights

Can it all be over so quickly? February Madness peaked this weekend in Europe, with several domestic cup tournaments being played out and celebrations aplenty. BallinEurope this morning provides a rundown of the action – and, naturally, video clips. Without further ado, then, let’s look in on the insanity.

• To no one’s surprise, Spanish superpowers FC Barcelona and Real Madrid indeed met in the Copa del Rey final with La Blaugrana overcoming their rivals playing on their home court, 68-60. Check out, as the league’s official website, says a collection of clips including “Alley oops terribles de [Boniface] N’Dong y [Fran] Vázquez, mate furioso de Clay Tucker, D’Or Fischer que pone el candado a su aro … ¡Mucha diversión en la Final!”

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Feb
1

Montepaschi Siena takes Coppa Italia; is that a good thing?

BiE is still internally debating whether Montepaschi Siena predictably winning the 2010 Coppa Italia was a good thing or not. On one hand, any other result might have resulted in massive match-fixing allegations; after all, Siena devotees would argue, how else could this dominant squad have possibly lost if not for referee assistance?

Tourney MVP Stonerook adds to his trophy case

Tourney MVP Stonerook adds to his trophy case

On the other hand, another MPS win surely induces little more than ennui in non-Siena Legabasket fans; as Montepaschi pulls away with the six-game lead the team has amassed in league play, the 83-75 win against Bologna only confirms that Montepaschi is far ahead of the remainder in Italian club play. Worse yet, Siena’s dominance in its home country – unlike that of, say, Maccabi Tel Aviv or FC Barcelona – does not necessarily translate into serious contention for a Euroleague title, particularly if the Italians’ two convincing losses against Barça are any indication.

Whatever the medium- and long-term effects of Montepaschi winning in second consecutive Coppa (that’s in two years of the competition’s existence), those Siena dudes still play some nice-looking basketball. Highlights from the final follow the break.

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