BiE’s official Irish awards ballot +++ Joakim Noah wins NBA Defensive Player of the Year +++ Swee’ Pea makes the cut – Reaches Funding Target +++ The Dish – Too Rude for Masai Uijiri +++ The BBL experience – Rowdy in Frankfurt +++ Fearless predictions: Euroleague playoffs +++ A Dario triple-double? Now that’s good timing +++ Swee’ Pea needs your help +++ Final Four: What the bookies say when the bookies talk +++ The greatest Eurodance tribute to Goran Dragic ever +++

Sam vs. the Future: Basketball predictions for 2012

It’s always a good time for some predictions, eh? Sam Chadwick, Ball in Europe’s man in the UK, today dusts off the Official BallinEurope Crystal Ball in looking forward to another year of top-quality basketball in the world’s top competitions. Who does Sammy like in the NBA, Euroleague, college ball and the Olympics? Read on to find out (and see plenty of highlight clips).

This year sees the London Olympic games, a shortened NBA season, another year of Euroleague basketball and the NCAA Final Four – what more could we possibly ask for? Happy new year…

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Weekend video wrap: El Classico, Nike Hoop Summit, EL Women final, BBL Cup

For The Continent, quite a bit of important basketball action went down this weekend. In the ‘States, the best of Team USA faced off against the world in the Nike Hoop Summit game; in Spain, arguably the two best women’s teams on the planet meet for the FIBA Euroleague Women final; the German domestic league awarded its cup; and another titanic battle with predictable finish went down in Barcelona. (Yes, there will be Ricky Rubio highlights.)

• In El Classico, a.k.a. FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid – which this season is beginning to turn into La Pesadilla Grandes for The Whites – Barcelona again overcame by the deceptively close score of 78-73. Since Baskonia took care of fifth-place Cajasol, 78-65, Madrid finds its sole possession of second place on the ACB table gone.

As for the highlights, has the Human YouTube Clip added another weapon to his ridiculous arsenal? Check out Rubio *rejecting a freaking shot* at 29 or so seconds in. Also for Rubio fans, check out the sequence beginning at about 1:17 which starts with an alley-oop off the glass and ends with a graven Ettore Messina looking like he’s watching the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls out there.

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