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 +++ EuroBasket 2015: Wins for Macedonia, Belgium, and Georgia +++ Q&A with Alex Krstanovic on the Belgrade Trophy +++

Podcast: “The Euroleague Bonanza”

On this, the eve of Euroleague basketball 2012-13 edition, David Hein and BallinEurope (unleash) present a serious gabfest on all things Euroleague (and some NBA) with two of our favorite hoops scribes. It’s two hours of solid basketball talk, a.k.a. episode four in the “Taking the Charge” podcast series, which Hein took to calling “The Euroleague Bonanza” early. Show segments – really, this thing is so long, segmentation is necessary – are:

• A chat with UK-based John Hobbs of Talk Basket – Having attended several media events in Germany as well as the actual Alba Berlin-Dallas Mavericks NBA Europe Live tour game itself, John joined David Hein and myself to talk about Dirkamania, marketing the NBA (particular in that tricky British market) and the actually quite substantive >David Stern ‘n’ Jordi Bertomeu press conference of last week. Plus, fearless predictions from the Basket Talker … sort of.

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Eurobasket 2013 qualification round bullets – plus Official Fearless Predictions™

With 13 games to play tonight in the EuroBasket 2013 qualifying round, BallinEurope takes a quick look around the blogosphere regarding a few subplots, storylines and players to watch. We’ll do this in the time-honored tradition of the ESPN TrueHoop Network, i.e. bullet-style.

● Some in the Spurs Nation were enthused with Davis Bertans’ play for Team Latvia against Romania and Adam Hanga for Hungary generally.

● Team Israel’s Yogev Ohayon is playing like he did in high school

● …while Guy Pnini “defended his performance” in the first three games by nailing a clutch three in his side’s upset of Serbia, though the woeful shooting continued with a 1-of-5 line.

● After Jonas Jerebko, Detroit Pistons fans will also want to keep an eye out for Slava Kravtsov, described as “dominant” for Team Ukraine against Hungary – after all, team executives are.

● Speaking of Jerebko, *still* no word on whether he’ll be suiting up for tonight’s home game against Bulgaria, but Team Sweden head coach Bradley Dean asserts that “we have no excuses and we don’t want any.”

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2012 Olympic basketball: The perspective from Spain on the gold-medal game (plus really specific Official Fearless Prediction™)

Marc and Pau: So key yet again

The Liga Endesa official website editorial staff today attempts to answer the question on the mind of USA-detractors and underdog-backers, i.e. “¿What must happen for Spain to win Olympic gold?” Below runs an extrapolation of the article, featuring eight bits of advice of varying degrees of difficulty, plus BallinEurope’s own ever-lovable Official Fearless Prediction™ on the final game of the 2012 Olympics.

Team USA is transparent enough that everyone seems to know their weaknesses and how to exploit them; the blueprint is universally known, but no one is able to implement the game plan. The enormous quantity of talent on Team USA means that playing even a perfect game does not translate to a win.

“We will try not have too many possessions, not miss many shots and control the boards,” said Juan Carlos Navarro. Doing it all at the same time is difficult, but we will try. I don’t know if we’ll reach 100 points … but the points are not important. [What’s important is] to play good defense.”

What else must be done:

Limit turnovers. It is evident that the U.S. defensive pressure up top results in many steals that finish with easy baskets on the other end. Attacking with the ball and getting off to a quick start offensively is key to the USA game. And against Team USA, passes to the wing or inside expose the offensive to further losses amidst the quick hands and speed of the American defenders.

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2012 Olympics: Five reasons Russia will beat Spain (and one other Fearless Prediction™)

Now that BallinEurope’s personal Olympic bracket has been shot to hell, BiE will revert to the cumulative readers/contributors’ podium picks of USA-Russia-Argentina. Followers know that BiE’s ridden Russia since the opening ceremonies and the quarterfinals, despite a Spain win, only strengthened this convinction. Below, then, are five reasons why Russia will overcome the 4.5-point favorites.

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Fearless Predictions™ by BallinEurope readers, contributors: USA, Russia, Argentina will medal

Right, things will be tipping off shortly in London with eight teams remaining in bids for a podium spot. And with the votes in and brackets fashioned, let’s see what BallinEurope contributors (including David Hein, Enrico Cellini and Sam Chadwick) and readers find in their own crystal balls…

Gold medal: USA (with 86% of votes)
So probably the only surprise here is that it wasn’t unanimous. Dissenting votes were logged for Spain and Russia, though the latter may carry a bit of an asterisk. The sole voice liking the Reds to take it all was commentator El Diablo from Australia (!) who took his home side to win the gold, then backed down, explaining “I still reckon that Russia will beat the US, assuming Shevd doesn’t lose his shit again…

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BallinEurope’s Official Olympic Basketball Tournament Bracket (So who do you got?)

In hopes of stimulating healthy discussion (and of starting a Twitter trend), below runs the Official BallinEurope Olympic Basketball Tournament Bracket. So who do you got? Post predictions here or, if you tweet, hashtag it #OlympicBracket and BiE’ll retweet.

Happy bracketing!

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2012 Olympics: Is Spanish dominance over? (Plus Official Fearless Predictions™)

BallinEurope may be pulling the trigger a bit early on this one, but has to ask: Was the loss to Russia on Saturday a harbinger of things to come from Team Spain? Not to put too fine a point on it, but is the marathon (by today’s standards) golden age of Spanish basketball in international competition over?

It is that sheer length of the era of Spanish dominance that makes one wonder about the security of Los Rojos’ presumptive top-dog status going forward: Since 2001, Team Spain has medalled in nine of 13 international tournaments – including the Olympic Games, FIBA Eurobasket, FIBA World Championship/Cup and Mediterranean Games. In the past six years, the Spanish have taken home three golds and five silver from FIBA and the IOC, the sole missed podium coming at the 2010 FIBA Worlds, when Pau Gasol no-showed and Team USA brought its “B Team.”

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2012 Olympic basketball: Today’s Official Fearless Predictions™ (with now-95% record at stake)

“Ladies, ladies, I don’t mean to brag but, I’m the greatest.” – Sidney Deane

Kudos go out today from BallinEurope to, well, BallinEurope. And thanks to Team Russia, whose stirring 77-74 win from an early 22-5 deficit against favored Team Spain brings BiE up to a 19-1 mark in Official Fearless Predictions™ thus far.

These have already been written up on BiE in one form or another, but we’ll just make these Fearless Predictions™ on the remainder of today’s games. Official now: BiE’s got USA over Lithuania (but by fewer than 34.5 points); Brazil over China; Argentina over Nigeria in a deceptively close one after the African side redeems themselves after the USA Armageddon Game; and, in the upset special of the day – and with two players short and Oz hot, this one would really be an upset – Team Britain over Australia.

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Games three, 2012 Olympics: Official Fearless Predictions™

Just enough time to get in some Official Fearless Predictions™ this morning … note that BallinEurope is at 12-0 through two days of Olympic competition. Note, too, that only serious homers and lobotomized octopi should be less than 11-1 at this point anyway, depending on the person/being’s choice for the Argentina-France game.

So here goes on a day with what should be a couple of fair battles and a bunch of blowouts: Lithuania over France (still running with this pick); Australia over China; Argentina over Tunisia; Russia over Brazil in today’s match of the day; Spain over Britain; and Team USA over Nigeria.

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Plan Y for Team Lithuania (plus Official Fearless Predictions™)

BallinEurope’s Lithuanian agent Skyped BiE today with two words on his mind: “Lithuania’s doom.”

“Today?” BiE countered.

“No, it already happened two days ago,” said Y. and he was off with a prescient, simple formula for success after the 23-point blowout at the hands of Argentina.

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