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 +++ Thomas Klepeisz shows you how to celebrate a winning bucket +++

Lietuvos Rytas: Stable in Motion (and Jonas Valanciunas, too)

In the leadup to the 2011-12 Eurocup Final Four tournament beginning on Saturday, Eurosport Turkey basketball commentator Uygar Karaca contributes a series of previews on the remaining quartet entitled “Four Teams, Four Stories” to BallinEurope. Today, Karaca takes a look at Lietuvos Rytas – and the club’s amazing ability to continually come back and adapt.

Valencia is not alone in its ambition for the third crown. Their opponent in the semifinals, Lietuvos Rytas, for the last five seasons has demonstrated the model on how to come back again the damage they have suffered. Nobody can deny that L. Rytas is a difficult place to work for coaches, but somehow, with different players and different head coaches, this club has managed to book a ticket for the final four of Eurocup in Khimki.

It seems Lietuvos Rytas has a similar scheme although the names change: One US-based star and three domestic leaders. Recall 2005, when they got their first crown in the ULEB Cup. Coach Vlade Djurovic left mid-season and Tomo Mahoric, the young Slovenian coach, led them to victory against Makedonikos in the finals with players like Delininkaitis, Stelmahers, Robertas Javtokas and Tyrone Nesby.

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What good can Dominic James bring to Partizan?

Welcome to Partizan Belgrade, Dominic James! “Now,” wonders the Grobari fan, “what can he do for us?” BallinEurope’s man in Serbia, Marko Savkovic, takes a look at the former Marquette Golden Eagle vis-à-vis Dragan Todoric’s master plan for the club.

In our praise of Partizan’s system of basketball, we’ve stated how this team’s success has turned it into a hot destination for American players looking to improve their careers. Since Bo McCalebb broke into big time two years ago, quality players from overseas have been offered contracts by Dragan Todoric, the Belgrade club’s perennial sporting director.

Take Lawrence Roberts: He was brought into shape for the first time since his college career thanks to Partizan’s conditioning routine. Or James Gist: a versatile power forward who is now one of players that Fenerbahçe Ülker has built its game around. Both found their game in Belgrade. Todoric has chosen wisely, one might say. Which is why Acie Law’s hiring might be counted as a mistake.

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What makes the Partizan “system” of basketball?

BallinEurope today welcomes Marko Savkovic into its corps as the Serbia-based writer takes a look at just what has made Partizan Belgrade basketball tick through its many years of success…

In December, Armani Jeans Milano denied Partizan Belgrade from playing in its sixth consecutive Top 16 phase of the Euroleague. And yet again, in what is now considered a trademark display of affection, fans continued singing to their players and the team they love after the buzzer. They were grateful for what they considered a memorable season in which their team again defeated the likes of Maccabi Tel Aviv and Real Madrid.

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The Frank Euroleague roundup, week two

Maric a true big man

Francesco Cappelletti’s regular column with BallinEurope is back as our man in Italy takes a look at the after-effects of Euroleague week two action. This time out, Francesco sees European basketball history returning to the old days on the Continent while Balkan squads fight economic problems but dispatch Western European teams anyway. And early on, what have proven to be the better Euroleague transactions involving big names and bigger contracts? Read on!

The *big* problem
The recent history of European basketball shows an amazing evolution to starting fives full of dynamism and athleticism, but not weight – even in the 5 position, originally land of real big men limited in the paint. We were used to having pick-and-rolls, then pick ‘n’ pops. Now it seems it’s time to go back to the old traditions.

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Highlights from Union Olimpija-Efes Pilsen 2OT thriller

The Euroleague’s game of the night last night and probably ultimately in all of week one was seen in the Union Olimipija-Efes Pilsen battle – and BallinEurope does mean battle – in Ljubljana. By the time the buzzer sounded, some 8,700 had thrilled to only the third double-overtime regular-season game in EL history, with Olimpija surviving, 95-90.

Official highlight clip and writeup follow the break.

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Official BallinEurope Euroleague Power Rankings: The preseason

Since BallinEurope’s Official Power Rankings were so, um, popular during the FIBA World Championships, today we’re kicking off the same schtick for the upcoming Euroleague campaign.

The rules, again: These rankings are basically purely subjective (at this point; once the games are played, actual wins and losses will be figured in) but are based loosely on last season’s performance, Euroleague seedings before the draw, transactions made in the offseason, and performances in preseason games. (Olympiacos fans, you might want to look away right now.)

Today, the EL according to BiE looks something like the following.

1. FC Barcelona – Early on, it looks like business as usual for the side that dominated European club basketball in 2009-10 (well, until that gnarly showing in the ACB Finals, that is). In the off-season, Barça mostly stood pat while adding “only” Kosta Perovic; this weekend, the Blaugrana pummeled Euroleague contenders Real Madrid and Power Electronics Valencia by 172-118 to cruise to the Spanish Super Cup. Perhaps *this* will be the year Barcelona takes a quadruple cup, eh?

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Euroleague Final Four head-to-head matchups: Partizan Belgrade vs. Olympiacos

Whoa, the Final Four starts in two days? Almost unbelievable. But enough digression! Yesterday, BallinEurope presented a brief position-by-position rundown of Friday’s FC Barcelona-CSKA Moscow game. Today, a consideration of the late game, Partizan Belgrade vs. Olympiacos.

Similarly to the early game, Partizan-Olympiacos also features a matchup between classic plucky underdog versus season-starting prohibitive favorite. Just like CSKA, Partizan wasn’t even “supposed” to be in Paris for the Final Four this year but don’t tell them; this one will be all about guile vs. slick weaponry.

The head-to-head matchups look something like the following.

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Partizan Belgrade takes Adriatic League in thriller

Partizan Belgrade completed the four-peat this weekend, with the team taking its fourth consecutive BBL title in extraordinary fashion. Dusan Kecman is today the toast of Belgrade (and owes Dame Fortuna quite a big favor) after sinking a three-pointer from beyond halfcourt to win over Cibona Zagreb, 75-74.

(It just isn’t Cibona’s year, is it?)

With the shot, Kecman saved one Partizan player from “goat” status while simultaneously cruelly snatching away the “Hero” title from a pair of Cibona shooters. After Marko Tomas hit a three-pointer to close the gap to 72-71, Lawrence Roberts proceeded to miss consecutive free-throw shots. With no timeouts, Zagreb got the ball upcourt and over to Bojan Bogdanovic, who sent home the three like Big Shot Rob used to do, but “left” 0.6 seconds on the clock.

And fate had other plans for Cibona at that 0.6 seconds, it seems. Video of the insane last 25 seconds of gametime and official FIBA writeup run below the break.

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Fantasy tips from the Euroleague Boss: Top 16, week five

Teletovic rocked for the Boss last week

Teletovic rocked for the Boss last week

Hello everybody, this is once again Javier Gancedo of, ready for yet another SportingBet Euroleague Fantasy Challenge week. There are two more weeks in the Top 16. The good news is that it is being extraordinary. Nobody would have predicted that no teams would be 100% qualified after four weeks and that the only one eliminated from the playoff race would be defending champion Panathinaikos.

More good news … of course, the Quarterfinal Playoff will be fantastic and we are heading to a great, great Final Four. Once again, the perfect combination exists: a great, universally loved city, a first-class basketball event and four very good teams fighting for the ultimate title. The bad news, however, is that we only have two more weeks in the Fantasy Challenge. What will we fantasy players all do in the meantime? It’s a long wait until next October, after all…

Anyway, as for my team, Meet the Boss, I had a so-so week with 144.8 points. Just when I could have reached first place in the BallinEurope Invitational Challenge, I ranked 21st in the private league this week. The private league leader is samwong, who has 53.1 points more than me … but I rank 4th, so it’s going to be tough. Still, of course, I will do my best.

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The Frank Euroleague roundup: Top 16, week two

Vujosevic: Among the best. Really.

Vujosevic: Among the best. Really.

It’s time for the look back at the wacky Euroleague week that was with Francesco Cappelletti. This week, BallinEurope’s man in Italy examines messing with rotations in Olympiacos and Unicaja; praises Partizan for the potential blueprint win over FC Barcelona; and chides the narcissistic defending champions for their shameful general laziness.

No instant replay, Partizan wins
The rule says that, when the buzzer sounds, the ball is no longer playable. This was the reason for the theatrical scene in Belgrade, wherein instant replay helped coaches and referees solve a risky situation. Pete Mickeal went with the hook shot over Slavko Vranes at the end of the overtime, and Lawrence Roberts swept the ball away from the rim. If the ball was over the rim, referees must make a goaltending call and Regal FC Barcelona credit for the (unmade) basket and the away win. But the ball was considered not fully over the rim, so Roberts’ action was legal.

Luckily, Partizan won. They deserved it. One week after having beaten Panathinaikos in Athens, the Serbian boys stopped the best team in Europe and made them play like no other had before. Dule Vujosevic can really aspire to stand on the podium of European coaches alongside Ettore Messina and Zelimir Obradovic, not only for his ability to develop young prospects in a hurry but also for his tactical knowledge: This week’s game was an example of how a coach can influence a game closed in the forecasts.

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