Basketball World Cup of Beer: The Final – USA vs France +++ Tight knit Iceland too much for Great Britain +++ 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 +++

Never mind the Bullock: Wild rumor has Asefa Estudiantes courting Lamar Odom

Cue Estudiantes fans: "If only..."

For those of you who thought the wild rumors of NBA players coming to Europe for 2011-12 ended with the cessation of the player lockout there, well, here’s another for you.

According to Spain-based Sentimiento Amarillo y Naranja, Liga Endesa club Asefa Estudiantes is in the hunt to sign Lamar Odom, who arranged a deal with the Dallas Mavericks last weekend that would allow the disgruntled forward to be listed for the remainder of the season as “inactive.”

Sentimiento reports Estudiantes representatives as having been in contact with Odom’s representatives and have been given a 48-hour window in which the player might accept the offer – though as far as BallinEurope knows, Odom’s contract with the Mavericks won’t allow him to go to any other team.

Estudiantes has just added former Unicaja Malaga/Real Madrid player Louis Bullock and is waiting on a response from Will McDonald, currently with Philippines side Petron Blaze Boosters.

Whatever happens, Estudiantes better come up with ways to win soon: The team sits in 17th place on the Spanish league table and is well within the relegation zone at 2½ games behind UCAM Murcia with six games to play.

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Believe the hype: Playoff action in Spain, Lithuania, Romania, Germany

Sorry, the N-B-what? While Euroball fans can certainly take pride in the outstanding number of Continental players still competing in the big league overseas – a list that includes Team Turkey’s Omer Asik, Team France’s Joakim Noah, Team Britain’s Luol Deng, Zydrunas Ilgauskas of Lithuania, Team Switzerland’s Thabo Sefolosha, French sophomore Rodrigue Beaubois (sort of; the 23-year-old has been mostly listed as “inactive” during the playoffs), old master Peja Stojakovic, and of course “Deadly Dirk” Nowitzki – multiple times the excitement is going on in Europe right now with tournaments happening all over.

Ready for some serious do-or-die action in Spain, Lithuania, Romania and Germany? Read on!

In Spain, what should be one heck of a dogfight (BiE still can’t believe Euroleague club Unicaja Malaga had to fight for the no. 8 seed) tips off tonight with the Malagans taking on FC Barcelona in the ‘Palau at 8.30pm CET (2.30 EST). The ACB brain trust has put together quite the interesting promo for the Spanish playoffs entitled “Canastas imposibles.”

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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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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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Sound bites in advance of Copa del Rey tournament

Huertas loves the Cup

Huertas loves the Cup

The party’s already starting in Bilbao to be sure … after all, the Copa del Rey basketball tournament isn’t just a sporting event; heck, it’s not even just another national cup competition. Instead, the “King’s Cup” consumes much of the national population’s attention as determines the class of Europe’s top hoops superpower is confirmed. Concerts and revelry will be the order of the day against a pastiche of top-flight basketball.

Until Friday, though, everyone waits. And the press asks the questions and collects the quotes while practices seem to go on forever. The following is a selection of what’s on the minds of key players, coaches and pundits as the Copa del Rey hype buildup continues…

• “We are the champions and we must defend the title,” says Fernando San Emeterio in this piece on Baskonia of the same name. Teammate Marcelinho Huertas, meanwhile, finds Copa del Rey time to be “different from any league match” and uniquely Spanish: “En Italia no se vive de la misma manera. La ciudad no participaba de la Copa, ni mucho menos.”

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The Frank Euroleague roundup, week nine

Ataman on the hot seat?

Ataman on the hot seat?

With just one more week to go in first-round play, Francesco Cappelletti touches on some issues regarding those teams positioning themselves for the Euroleague Top 16. Also examined frankly: Ergin Ataman’s tenuous position in Turkey, Zoran Planinic and Nikos Zisis embracing their positions on potential Final Four clubs; and bucking for position on Real Madrid.

Extreme situations

Only a week remains to this Euroleague first stage, but the situations in many groups are still complicated. In Group A, Regal FC Barcelona lies in waits for Montepaschi with a +19 taken in Siena, testifying to the shape of Xavi Pascual’s players. This should be an interesting game, maybe balanced for nearly 40 minutes, but hardly vincible for the Italians. About the same men that last year started the game with a 25-3 first-quarter run for David Andersen and teammates … the final two positions have no owner.

Next week, a devastated Fenerbahce Ulker (unified against Bogdan Tanjevic: that’s the problem) hosts Zalgiris Kaunas, apparently better under new coach Ramunas Butautas; Asvel meanwhile goes to Zagreb to play a high-pressure game in which defenses are going to take control. Fenerbahce and Asvel (3-6) have one more win than Zalgiris and Cibona, but the feeling is they are not favourites to reach the Top 16.

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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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Betting on basketball: Utah Jazz-Real Madrid lines, odds

How many times do you suppose Real Madrid will be a 10-point underdog this season…?

Of all the exhibition games going on in courts around the planet right now, few are more compelling than tonight’s Real Madrid-Utah Jazz NBA Europe Live tour game; still, it’s a bit surprising to see sponsor Bet365 post odds and a pointspread on a game that doesn’t count in the statistics. Particularly jarring is the sight of seeing Real Madrid on the wrong end of a 10.5-point handicap, and the 7/2 odds on the Spanish team to take the game outright.

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