BallinEurope doesn’t actually get to vote for Euroleague Coach of the Year, but we can still pretend. And in BiE’s opinion, the question of who should get the honor comes down to three, interestingly enough each in his first season with his current club.
Podcast: Talking 2013 Nike Hoop Summit, NBA flopping with SI’s Ben Golliver; Euroleague quarterfinals analysis; reviewing They Live
David Hein and BiE are joined this week by Ben Golliver of SI.com and Blazers Edge; based in Portland, Ben was lucky enough to have attending the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit live and so much time is spent discussing prospects and performance of Livio Jean-Charles, Andrew Wiggins, Dennis Schroder and the rest of the top-quality youth players from that game. (The match in its entirety is still available on YouTube and is embedded directly below.)
Golliver also shares some thoughts on the NBA’s first seasons with “flopping” rules in the books; it seems the man has become something of the expert on the move over there at SI.com, ultimately culminating in the wonderful Floppies awards ranking the 10 most ridiculous dives of the season over there.
Also on our collective mind of course are this week’s Euroleague quarterfinal games five; while Semih Erden and Jamon Lucas were heroic in two Anadolu Efes wins, can the Turkish side continue to neutralize Vassilis Spanoulis’ playmaking ability? And can FC Barcelona produce enough points (like, more than 70) to top the masterful Panathinaikos half-court D?
Finally, our tenuously-related sports movie review of the week focuses on the 1988 cult classic They Live starring professional wrestling all-time great Roddy Piper – one of the great flicks about the Reagan era 80s in America, except with great throwaway lines and comic-book hilarity.
Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter http://heinnews.com/feed/taking-the-charge/ into iTunes or any podcast aggregator.
Now 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.
You’d think that the, um, enthusiasm at times of Greek basketball fans – you know, stuff like this. And this. And this. And … you get the idea – would be daunting for players otherwise pretty much unaccustomed to such behavior. And if the prospect of flares hurtling down like rain isn’t scary enough, you’d figure actually being knifed might turn a player off entirely to basketball in Greece.
Michael Bramos, however, ain’t going nowhere.
In February, Bramos was playing in his first Greek Cup final, another clash between the country’s Red and Green superpowers. That game, as is all too infrequently the case in Panathinaikos-Olympiacos, was marred by violence which delayed the game for an hour. In the midst of the chaos, Bramos was hit by a thrown jackknife.
So when interviewed by David Hein for the latest “Taking the Charge” podcast, what did Bramos have to say about the incident and Greek fandom in general? “If it happens, it happens … and that’s just the way Greece is.” (For more insight from Bramos, click on the previous link to hear the full interview.)
Prospective import players to Greece, this is your model: Just concentrate on the game and shrug off those knife attacks. It is what it is.
Podcast: Interview with Panathinaikos’ Michael Bramos; figuring out Euroleague tiebreakers; Rollerballing
Episode #29 in the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced podcast series Taking the Charge is now online. Lots of time this week is devoted to sorting out Euroleague Top 16 tiebreakers (it’s a tad more interesting than it sounds, hoping) and some general stuff about the March Madness – which BiE has taken to calling “March Manic Depression” ultimately for fans of all but one team…
Cup finals highlights: Barca dominates Valencia; Siena squeaks past Cinderella; PAO bests “club of filth” Olympiacos; Korac Cup final postponed
Congratulations go out from BallinEurope this morning to FC Barcelona, Montepaschi Siena and Panathinaikos, perhaps each respectively their nation’s top basketball club, for taking domestic cup titles this weekend.
In Spain, FC Barcelona showed no letup after outlasting Real Madrid in Thursday’s barnburner from the Copa Del Rey quarterfinal round and cruised through Valencia BC in the finals, 85-69. Nice to note that BiE fave Pete Mickael snagged this year’s MVP award from within a relentless and balanced Blaugrana attack.
Podcast: Santa Claus comes to town, talks hoops (plus, reviewing possibly the worst Christmas special ever)
That’s right: On this week’s special Christmas edition of the heinnews/BallinEurope co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series, David Hein and yours truly host a guy who is certainly the biggest name we will ever welcome to the show, good ol’ Saint Nick himself, Santa Claus.
Santa assists us by doling out a half-dozen virtual gifts to various basketball luminaries playing here in Europe and in the NBA.
As part of our gift to you, this podcast is mercifully short in direct contrast to the typical Titanic length, but the “Taking the Charge” duo still manage to briefly touch on subjects including the big Unicaja Malaga-Panathinaikos trade (and possibly the previous such Euroleague-based acquisition – do we really have to go back to 2009?), the controversy of the German Bundesliga’s Giessen 46ers, and the reason why the Mayan Apocalypse didn’t happen, among others.
And for this week’s movie review, join BiE and (his victim) Hein for a discussion of quite possibly the worst holidays-themed piece in any visual medium, He-Man & She Ra: A Christmas Special. Seriously awesome in insane campitude, the entire masterpiece of so-good-it’s-bad 1980s animated cartoon series is embedded below; BiE dares you to watch it.
After defending Euroleague champions Olympiacos took care of business in an 85-81 win over Caja Laboral Baskonia last week, Greece-based media outlet Ekathimerini spun their game wrap under the headline “Greek stars gift Reds opening Euroleague win.”
Indeed, last year’s heroes Giorgos Printezis and Vassilis Spanoulis were instrumental in the comeback victory, providing 33 points combined as the team’s high scorers. And Olympiacos management seems light-years removed from their former fascination with overpaying the Josh Childresses of the basketball world by investing in homegrown talent Dimitrios Mavroeidis and Stratos Perperoglou while otherwise standing pat with much of the 2010-11 final roster.
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!
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.
Panathinaikos’ wild offseason is apparently not over yet. Previously linked with Yi Jianlian, Sun Yue and Dejun Han, the Greens may finally be ready to sign with a Chinese player (and perhaps gain a nice foothold in that lucrative basketball market): Namely, Ailun Guo of the Liaoning Dinosaurs. According to Bball Headlines, Dinosaurs front office reps stated that they “have indeed received documents from Panathinaikos,” but a board meeting must be held before the club lets Guo come to the Continent.
The 18-year-old was last seen on the international stage (albeit briefly) in the 2012 Olympic Games, appearing in three games with Team China, including 26 minutes against Brazil in which his 4-of-7 shooting earned Guo eight points. He’s also represented China in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, 2010 FIBA U17 Worlds and the 2011 FIBA U19 Worlds.