Team Spain beats Slovenia behind fearsome foursome, announces final roster

Barack didn't actually make the final cut...

The Spanish Basketball Federation is reporting that coach Sergio Scariolo has finalized his 12-man roster, and that Carlos Suarez has been passed over for Caja Laboral’s Fernando San Emeterio.

Scariolo informed his team of the decision after yesterday’s 79-72 win over Team Slovenia in Ljubljana; he was quoted on the Spanish Basketball Federation’s official website as saying, “We said goodbye to Carlos Suarez with the feeling that with one more year of maturity and experience, he will make a step that will allow him, in my opinion, to be a major player on this team for many years.”

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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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Team USA still favored in 2010 FIBA World Championship, but should they be?

Just a quick note (and link) for fans of the 2010 FIBA World Championship: Be sure to check out the excellent and extensive thoughts on Team USA by M. Haubs over at ESPN TrueHoop Network blog The Painted Area.

In “Spain, Not Team USA, Should Be Considered Favorites To Win 2010 FIBA Worlds,” Haubs makes a convincing case for the defending Eurobasket champions, who in complete contrast to the red-white-and-blues is returning much of the last FIBA tourney’s roster.

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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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Everything you’ve always wanted to know about Barcelona vs. Unicaja (in English)

On Saturday, perhaps the marquee matchup on the ACB slate – if for historical significance only – will be the FC Barcelona vs. Unicaja match. The league’s official website has quite the extensive collection of facts ‘n’ figures about this match and the 15-year record of meetings between these two clubs, of which BallinEurope attempted to extract the most useful bits.

The vital stats
The game tips off in Barcelona (you can watch it live online at ACB 360). Barça attempts to continue its home-winning streak, now at 28 games. Unicaja is riding a three-game win streak in the ACB, its second such this season.

Jimenez and Navarro: Team Spain’s last two captains face off
Carlos Jimenez passed Spain’s national team captaincy baton to former Memphis Grizzlies/current Blaugrana player Juan Carlos Navarro this past summer. With Navarro at the head, Spain took the 2009 Eurobasket title. Of course, under Jimenez, the Spainards took gold in Japan at the FIBA World Championship in 2006.

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Draft profile: Donatas Motiejunas

Now that NBA mock drafting is in full swing (despite the total lack of clarity regarding playoff positioning, not to mention seeing how the damn lottery ping-pong balls fall this year), BallinEurope’s man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick, will be taking a look at some of Europe’s prospective high draft picks. Today, it’s all about big man Donatas Motiejunas.

Vital stats
Position: Centre/Power Forward
Height: 7’0”/2.13m
Weight: 224 lbs/101 kg
Date of birth: 09/20/1990
Current Club: Benetton Treviso

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The Frank Euroleague Roundup: Top 16, week five

Scariolo: No, really, i can explain everything...

Scariolo: No, really, i can explain everything...

With one more week of Euroleague play to go before the field of viable contenders officially shrinks again, Ball in Europe contributor Francesco Cappelletti wraps the round that was in the big league. In this week’s roundup, Signor C. laments Montepaschi Siena’s fate, Sergio Scariolo’s precarious position and the reason Olympiacos might yet give Barca a workout before all is said and done (Hint: It starts with “Linas” and ends with “Kleiza”).

Group F focus
Oddly, the group which could have been in doubt until the buzzer of Week 6 suddenly has two qualified teams after five weeks: These are Real Madrid and Maccabi Tel Aviv, teams which will meet next Thursday at Palacio Vistalegre to define a first place currently in possession of the Israeli side for their 81-76 victory of February 4.

Montepaschi Siena was shocked by a 43-point fourth quarter scored by Alan Anderson and teammates. OK, take out the final (meaningless) 10 points, and 33 remain on the back of the Italian champions. How was this possible? MPS had recovered during the third period thanks to big hearted Terrell McIntyre and bad offensive decisions from previously unstoppable Doron Perkins, but, I mean, if you play with six men (seven minutes of nothing for Nikos Zisis in crisis, Ksistof Lavrinovic plagued by back spasms), and you enter the final fraction with a 3-point advantage at Yad Eliyahu, well, you know your destiny.

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The Frank Euroleague Roundup: Top 16, week three

T-Mc: What can we say?

T-Mc: What can we say?

With a scene-shifting week three of Euroleague Top 16 play in the books, BallinEurope’s Francesco Cappelletti defines his surprise, from Montepaschi’s masterful play to Sasha Kaun’s success to the curse of a Panathinaikos title defense, and more. Read on!

Pianigiani’s lesson to Messina
“I think it was a masterpiece from my players. One of the most difficult games since I started coaching. We were tired, consumed, without an important player against a team that could exploit our problems. We’ll enjoy this night to the fullest”: With these words and a smiling face, coach Simone Pianigiani commented on the game between Montepaschi and Real Madrid.

Honestly, he was right; Siena got the expected reaction after a disastrous exhibition in Istanbul, but the win was huge, much more than the fans and staff were waiting for. Even more so because the victory came despite the absence of Ksistof Lavrinovic, a player as key as only Terrell McIntyre is. Real wanted Montepaschi to play a slow game, to defend strongly and to deny the top facets of the Italians’ game: fastbreaks and transition play.

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Europe’s top national teams of the 2000s

Huge in 2006: Sofoklis and Team Greece

Huge in 2006: Sofoklis and Team Greece

After taking a look at the European players of the decade and top professional teams of the decade, BallinEurope today turns attention to the national level. Which teams from the 2000s will we still recall fondly in years to come? Below are listed eight key national squads from the passing ten-year span, the unforgettable basketball teams that made their marks in sports history.

• 2001-02 Yugoslavia. Sure, Team USA had taken hits to its perceived invulnerability in international competition between meeting Oscar Schmidt in 1987 and Y2K, but on one day in 2002, the Yugoslavian team slammed the door on American preeminence in basketball forever. And this was after breezing through Eurobasket 2001, winning five of six games by double-digit margins. Yugoslavia was the only country to take golds at Eurobasket and FIBA World competitions with (basically) the same team; the 2002 roster included Dejan Bodiroga, Peja Stojakovic, Marko Jaric, Dejan Milojevic, Vlade Divac and Vladimir Radmanovic, a roster good enough to merit mention among a discussion of greatest basketball teams ever assembled, period.

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2009-10 Season Report: Real Madrid

It was a summer of changes in Madrid. Firstly, the landing of gloried new president Florentino Pérez, and later coaching legend Ettore Messina arrived to the greatest club in Europe, with eight continental crowns to its credit.

For 2009-10, the white powerhouse has added more depth to the roster: Veteran Argentinian playmaker Pablo Prigioni, signed from TAU Cerámica (now Caja Laboral) will lead the frontcourt while sharing minutes with reigning European 21s champion Sergio Llull, a player that has stepped up in his role. As shooting guards, Rimantas Kaukenas and Louis Bullock will maintain the offensive scouring from the perimeter; the Lithuanian signed from Montepaschi Siena and will bring more game consistency and experience to the team. Bullock, a 33-year veteran, will continue to lead the team on offense as one of the most dangerous players of the capital’s team.

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