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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 +++ Swaggy P’s tribute to Os moving back to the USA +++ Help Swee’ Pea make the big screen +++ The Dish: Can I play with Madness? +++ Just point out the bounce +++
Apr
89

Euroleague Bracketology: According to Twitter, the 2013 Euroleague champion will be…

Twitter-Bird-BasketballNow that BallinEurope has posted this website’s Official Euroleague Bracket as well as the only truly unassailable set of predictions, BiE takes stock of a little EL Bracketology from good ol’ Twitter. What sort of conclusions may be drawn from a sample size of 30 tweets (well, 29 plus Sannti’s) hashtagged with #ELbracket? Well…

The clear popular favorites within the sample to win their quarterfinals series are CSKA Moscow (with 93% of tweets liking the Red Army), FC Barcelona and Olympiacos (each with 77% of the “vote”). Surely to no one’s surprise, fandom was divided on the Real Madrid-Maccabi matchup, with Los Blancos liked 19-11 among our group.

Of the 16 possible finals matchups, seven combinations were covered. Again unsurprising was the fact that no one was gutsy enough to gamble on Anadolu Efes Pilsen getting so far, but two brackets with Caja Laboral Baskonia hoisting the trophy were found – and after the way these guys have squeaked in to advance twice this season, who can truly scoff? A final outcome of CSKA defeating Barca was chosen by nearly 33% of those who picked a tournament winner, and 60% predicted CSKA for 2013 Euroleague champions.

And some of BallinEurope’s favorite brackets were…

● In the category of “Best Presentation of a Euroleague Bracket” which BiE just made up, the winner is JovicaTasevski. Future bracketcrafters, this is your standard.

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Dec
41

Poll: Which is the best European team going into 2013?

Right. So. Especially after this –

– and with the calendar page about to be flipped into 2013, BallinEurope’s question is: Which is the best basketball team in Europe right now?

Straight by the qualification system, the top four teams in Euroleague round one were Real Madrid, Maccabi Tel Aviv, FC Barcelona and Žalgiris Kaunas – not a bad start there, but Eurobasket.com’s mathematically-derived rankings on Monday morning includes CSKA Moscow at no. 1 and Olympiacos at no. 3. Maccabi, likely saddled by the competitive imbalance they enjoy back home in the Ligat Ha’Al, places a lowly eighth…

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Oct
0

Sunday hangover: Notes, clips from Euroleague week one

Since BiE will typically have to play catch-up with a week’s worth of Euroleague games on Saturdays, a new concept comes to the website in the Sunday hangover. Those of you who have followed BallinEurope since the days of its origins may recall the old “Monday cigarettes” column – and this one hopes to recall those days (but with video clips!). And so, notes and observations from the opening week of play in the big league…

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Oct
61

Euroleague Power Rankings: 2012-13 Opening Day Edition

All right, it’s that time again! With hours to go before the 2012-13 Euroleague season tips off, BallinEurope breaks out its first power ratings for the big league.

Whereas normally a disclaimer to the effect of “the following ratings are based on current trending only and are not necessarily based on the overall quality of the teams” runs here, this year BiE’s switching things up a bit. To wit: For this edition of Euroleague power rankings, the teams *will* be run based on BallinEurope’s totally subjective viewpoint. (Mainly because BiE couldn’t figure out what to do with Barcelona…)

Get your arguments ready and read on for this season’s first power rankings, with Official BallinEurope Fearless Predictions™ for the upcoming season peppered throughout. Enjoy the games!

The favorites
1. Olympiacos Piraeus. The usual reserved spot for the defending champion comes with some justification this year, as Vassilis Spanoulis & Co. show no signs of letting up on their 2011-12 season-ending 22-4 run. In the off-/preseason, Olympiacos’ foursome of Spanoulis, local hero Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou and Evengelos Mantazaris suited up for a disappointed Team Greece – all but Mantazaris acquitted themselves nicely, with 50-of-89 (56.2%) overall shooting and Spanoulis dishing out just under six assists per game in three Olympic qualifiers.

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Oct
0

Is Heat-spurned Malcolm Thomas the answer for Maccabi?

(Malcolm Thomas image courtesy NBA.com)Could David Blatt be panicking? Armed with a retooled roster after last season’s Euroleague disappointment, Maccabi Tel Aviv 2012-13 edition hasn’t overwhelmed in preseason play with little team cohesiveness or incorporation of the Team Russia coach’s patented defensive game plans in evidence. The Israel side washed out in a the four Euroleague-team Domreiter Cup in September before redeeming themselves slightly in Paris, winning the pre-season tourney there last weekend (albeit against lesser competition).

Before topping Galatasaray for the tournament title, Blatt sounded off a bit after his players got by with a win over home team Paris Levallois. “We had two offensive rebounds in 40 minutes,” said Blatt. “You know, I’m 50 and I would have gotten more than two offensive rebounds if I had been on the court.”

But Blatt offered a solution on Saturday which appears to be a matter of fact now, in light of Pops Mensah-Bonsu’s recent release from the club: “Malcolm [Thomas] is exactly the kind of player you need to play a team like Paris Levallois. He is very athletic, fast and plays above the rim. It brings a lot of energy, but also creates a lot of easy baskets … Thomas is very good at offensive rebounding and he will bring what’s missing [on the team].”

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Sep
0

Podcast: Peeking at the Euroleague, riffing on Hecking, interviewing The Iran Jobbers

Now up and running is episode two in the Taking the Charge podcast series, a gabfest brought to you by heinnews and BallinEurope. On the menu over there is a nice spread of basketball-related matters, including:

• a look at recently-run tournaments in Germany: the 2012 Domreiter Cup in Nürnberg with defending Euroleague/Greek League champs Olympiacos besting Brose Baskets Bamberg, Maccabi Tel Aviv and BC Khimki; and the Beko BBL Cup, which saw 2011-12 Euroleague runners-up CSKA Moscow top Bayern München, Beşiktaş JK and Žalgiris Kaunas. (In advance, BiE will say that whoa, eight interesting storylines really demonstrates the allure of the big league: fresh, dramatic storylines that change week to week…);

• some riffing on FC Nuremberg football coach Dieter Hecking’s, um, interesting comments of last weekend and the German basketball federation’s response; and

• a lengthy and fascinating interview with Till Schauder and Kevin Sheppard, producer/director and subject, respectively, of the excellent newly-released documentary The Iran Job. (BiE’ll have a bit more on this later for the more textually-inclined.)

Enjoy the podcast and stay informed about our new releases and comment to your heart’s content via our spiffy Facebook page. Like us! We love your likes!

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Jul
17

2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament Preview: Greece

Just one more day (or so, CET) until the heartily-named 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men tips off in Venezuela. BallinEurope continues with previews of the four European qualifiers with an assessment of Greece, a.k.a. Olympiacos and a bunch of other guys.

Roster: Vassilis Spanoulis, Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou, Kostas Sloukas, Evangelos Mantzaris (Olympiacos); Ioannis Bourousis, Antonis Fotsis (Olimpia Milano); Nikos Zisis (Montepaschi Siena); Nick Calathes, Kostas Kaimakoglou, Ian Vougioukas (Panathinaikos); Dimitrios Mavroeidis, Kostas Vasileiadis (Gescrap Bilbao Basket); and Michael Bramos (Gran Canaria); head coach Ilias Zouros (Anadolu Efes)

Notable no shows: Dimitris Diamantidis of Panathinaikos retired from national team play, returning that all-important starting point guard role to Vassilis Spanoulis – not a bad trade off this year … also out are Kostas Koufos (Denver Nuggets) and Sofoklis Schortsanitis (Maccabi Tel Aviv) due to injury.

How they got here: In Eurobasket 2011, a hot start saw Team Greece winning five of the first six games, only to drop three of the final five with losses to Russia, France and Lithuania in the placement game. In the penultimate match, however, Hellas put together its best game of the tournament in topping Serbia, 87-77, to earn a spot in these qualifiers.

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Jun
2

The BallinEurope video tribute to Anthony Parker

For those not necessarily in the know about European basketball, the announcement of Anthony Parker’s retirement from professional hoops today may not have exactly made most sit up and take notice – just another Cleveland Cavalier gone, right?

Except that Parker’s six-year European CV is loaded with team accomplishments and individual accolades, bringing Maccabi Tel Aviv a superpower’s worth of trophies in the mid-2000s. His brief run earned him a spot on the “50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors” list in ’08 – just one of 35 players and one of five Americans – after racking up consecutive EL MVP awards, one EL Final Four nod and three European rings (two EL, the other the 2001 FIBA SuproLeague title).

BallinEurope today posts its traditional tribute to retiring greats, i.e. career rundown plus YouTube clips! To get started, then…

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Jun
39

2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament Preview: Team Russia

With the lengthily-named 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men tipping off in Venezuela on Monday, BallinEurope takes some time this week to catch up on the four European squads in the running for a trip to London and reckon on a brief assessment of each’s chances in the competition. First up is Russia, the Continent’s representative in qualifying group C.

Extended roster: Semen Antonov (BC Nizhny Novgorod); Sergey Bykov, Maxim Grigoryev (Lokomotiv Kuban); Sasha Kaun, Viktor Khryapa, Andrei Kirilenko, Anton Ponkrashov, Alexey Shved, Eugeny Voronov, Andrey Vorontsevich (CSKA Moscow); Sergey Karasev (Triumph Lyubertsy); Timofey Mozgov (Denver Nuggets); Sergey Monya, Vitaly Fridzon, Dmitry Khvostov (BC Khimki Moscow region); and Artem Yakovenko (Unics Kazan); head coach David Blatt (Maccabi Tel Aviv)

How they got here: Last year in Lithuania, the only team that could stop the Russian juggernaut was France. Les Bleus used a single 8-0 run in the third quarter and a career game from Nicolas Batum (19 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks) to squeak past the theretofore undefeated Team Russia in the semifinals.

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May
8

Euroleague 2012-13: An attempt to deduce the composition (plus Official Fearless Prediction™)

At least this much is clear...

Yesterday, the basketball-centered bit of the Twitter universe was centered in two real-life locales: New York City and Barcelona. Topics in play were the falling of ping-pong balls in New York City and Euroleague’s incipient decision on the construction of Euroleague 2012-13. Hopefully, BallinEurope will get something together on the former later, but for now, BiE’ll attempts a quick look at the roster of teams for the upcoming season.

The three-year A-licenses are currently under review, but you gotta figure Caja Laboral Baskonia, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, Anadolu Efes, Fenerbahçe Ülker, CSKA Moscow, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Montepaschi Siena and Žalgiris Kaunas are in. Asseco Prokom Gdynia is in the second year of its license, making them the 12th of the 24 teams.

Also up for review is Unicaja Malaga. While Spain is still even officially considered *the* best domestic or regional league in Europe (more on this momentarily), the big league could certainly defend a yanking of the license based on the team’s bottom-half finish in the Liga Endesa and consistently better recent performance by Valencia BC.

Virtus Roma is the only original A-license team to have been removed from the EL roll call, getting its placement in Euroleague ball “suspended for having finished in the bottom half of its national competition.” Unicaja might easily find itself on the Eurocup level for 2012-13; let’s just say a *lot* of things would have to happen to even get the team into the EL qualifiers.

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