Monday Hangover: Žalgiris Kaunas impressive again; Saric’s 2012-13 debut; Goldsberry’s Bizarro Buzzer-Beater of the Week

Goldsberry, who won for losing

Damn, BallinEurope watched a lotta sports this past 72 years: Euroleague games, highlights, quarters here and there, a VTB United game, three hours of late-Sunday night NFL football, two sports-related films for upcoming Taking The Charge podcasts … life is ball games … and especially basketball, but unfortunately BiE watches almost nothing live and compresses most viewing into the weekend.

So no further ado: Three quasi-brief impressions from the bigger games, done up bullet-style.

Žalgiris: Ever interesting, ever relentless. BallinEurope’s recommended EL game of the week was Žalgiris Kaunas at Emporio Armani Milano. Žalgiris, with its slight vulnerability shown lately, needed to make a statement in this game in BiE’s opinion. Don’t worry Greens men and women: After this game, your guys will be sure to move up in the BallinEurope Euroleague power rankings

Continue Reading…


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.

Continue Reading…


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?

Continue Reading…


Power rankings (already updated): 2010 FIBA World Championship

See, BiE secretly knew this would happen … you break down, make a few fearless predictions online and bam! The inconvenient fact of a loss – two losses in fact, one particularly egregious – goes down and you suddenly have to rework the whole damn post on 2010 FIBA World Championship power rankings.

In the egregious loss previously referenced, the proclamation that Team Canada would “surprise a few people” proved prophetic, but not in the way assumed. Over a squad that FIBA was forced to label a “Canadian developmental team” did Spain romp for a final score of 84-38. Those who’ve doubted the star power of Team Spain can note Felipe Reyes, Rudy Fernandez and Carlos Suarez all going for double-figures in limited team plus probably with one arm tied behind their backs.

And Team Slovenia was no doubt downloading BallinEurope’s original power rankings to use as fodder to beat up on Australia, 71-60. No depth, judged BiE? “Ha!” responded the Slovenes, who brought Sani Becirovic to put up 20 points and unleashed The Dragon for Goran Dragic to add 13. (BiE told you the Aussies would never get above no. 10 for the remainder of the tournament.)

Ah no matter … we knew these things were flexible, right? Plus, BallinEurope gets to splash a big “updated” across the post, like a real cutting-edge producer of news and opinion. BallinEurope’s official 2010 FIBA World Championship Power Rankings run below the break.

Continue Reading…


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.

Continue Reading…


Vrankovic names preliminary Team Croatia roster; includes 11 Euroleaguers, just six from Eurobasket

How do you say, “Let’s clean house!” in Croatian? Because that’s the phrase Team Croatia coach Josip Vrankovic was certainly employing when he assembled his 17-man preliminary FIBA World Championship.

After the disappointing finish by the Croats in the 2009 Eurobasket competition, then-head coach Jasmin Repesa hastily resigned and thereafter replaced by Vrankovic; now Vrankovic is ejecting Repesa’s team members, it seems.

Out are Sandro Nicevic, Nikola Vujcic, Marcio Stojic and Nikola Prkacin; Marin Rozic has retired from basketball altogether and Mario Kasun has retired from international play. In is the sensational Ante Tomic, to be training alongside the likes of Marko Tomas, Davor Kus, Zoran Planinic and Stanko Barac.

Continue Reading…


Big third quarter boosts L.Rytas to LKL championship win over Zalgiris Kaunas, 80-71

Congratulations go out tonight to Lietuvos Rytas, who decisively won the Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL) championship over arch-rival Žalgiris Kaunas, 80-71.

Thus ends a very bizarre LKL playoffs and, for Žalgiris Kaunas, a revolving door of a season at coach with the final four games seeing the team essentially sort-of led by some combination of Marcus Brown and/or Dainius Šalenga. Call the collective coach Marcušalenga.

In any case, L.Rytas simply brought too much Milko Bjelica, too much Martynas Gecevicius and for a while too much Kenan Bajramovic. BiE’s ultra-brief you-are-there recap goes as the following.

Continue Reading…


Fantasy tips from the Euroleague boss: Final week

Langford: He upon whom the Boss hopes are pinned

Langford: He upon whom the Boss' hopes are pinned

Hello everybody, greetings from the Euroleague Basketball headquarters! This is Javier Gancedo of, in what possibly will be my last SportingBet Fantasy Challenge column this season.

If you want to keep me on the page in the fantasy off-season, make some noise! Start a riot! Go to Budapest and demonstrate in front of Os Davis’ home, wherever it is! Just kidding: It has been a pleasure to give you my impressions on the game. It has been a terrific fantasy season, after all, I just hope you enjoyed reading this column as much as I did writing it.

So the Top 16 comes to an end this week, which means the game will be over on Thursday. On one hand, I can’t complain – no more waiting until 3am to open the game after a long Euroleague/Eurocup week – but on the other hand … of course, I’ll miss it. Still, with one week to go I have a chance to win the BallinEurope Invitational Challenge private league…

Continue Reading…


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.

Continue Reading…


Euroleague Top 16 draw: The Frank take

The Euroleague Top 16 group draw was orientated, due to the guidelines, well before it started. So, while Group G and Group H were fixed, it remained to see where Maccabi Tel Aviv and Efes Pilsen Istanbul would be directed: to the Barcelona-Panathinaikos group or the Real Madrid-Montepaschi gang. The two teams went into the latter’s, making Group F the toughest of Top 16.

Welcoming Partizan Belgrade and Maroussi BC are Regal FC Barcelona and Panathinaikos – especially the Greens, because in Catalunya they’re fearless until they play like they have since the beginning of this season – who are today thanking God in helping them avoid two teams with Top 16 traditions and rosters not to be underestimated. Further, Zelimir Obradovic’s squad has the fortune of playing four home games: The team shares the OAKA venue with Maroussi BC.

Nevertheless, to Sarunas Jasikevicius and his teammates, Partizan recalls that painful elimination in the 2007-2008 Top 16, when the defending champions were beaten in the final game by the Serbians in a burning Pionir Arena. This time, with Aleks Maric in the paint for Nikola Pekovic, the date Panathinaikos must underline is March 4th, when Barça flies to Belgrade in the second week of Top 16 competition, an undoubtable advantage: The dynamics of Group E dynamics will still be in flux and the Spanish side must be focused to prevent a win they could strongly regret later.

Continue Reading…