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Coppa Italia preview: Can anyone stop Montepaschi Siena?

February will see Turin playing host to the Coppa Italia, a grueling four-day tournament featuring Italy’s top eight teams. With the matchups now determined, BallinEurope’s man in Italy, Enrico Cellini, provides a brief preview of the competition.

The first half of Serie A season is over and the table is set for a little appetizer to the final playoffs. In Turin, from February 16th to 19th, the top eight teams of the 2011-12 season’s first half will play each other in elimination games to conquer the Coppa Italia, the second-most important national trophy and litmus paper of each team’s ambitions.

The teams and matchups are as follows.

Montepaschi Siena (1) vs Banco di Sardegna Sassari (8)
EA7 Milano (4) vs Canadian Solar Bologna (5)
Scavolini Siviglia Pesaro (2) vs Umana Venezia (7)
Bennet Cantù (3) vs Sidigas Avellino (6)

Will this be an opportunity for Montepaschi Siena to reassert its dominance after a few unexpected losses or a chance for rampant new challengers to prepare for an assault on the throne?

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Anonymous party sends pig’s head to Scavolini Pesaro HQ; Team responds on court

BallinEurope’s man in Italy, Enrico Cellini, contributes quite a bizarre story out of league basketball there. (To think that Cibona Zagreb fans merely created an interesting image in protest of their team’s poor play.) The headline gives away the punchline so BiE won’t forestall this tale’s telling further … um, enjoy.

On January 2, Scavolini Siviglia Pesaro (then 6-6 in Italy) was supposed to be fully focused on preparing for the toughest match of the season, i.e. the Serie A game against almighty juggernaut and five-time repeat champions Montepaschi Siena. Nobody could have ever expected that the greatest challenge for the team would come from outside the court.

On the morning of the game, Pesaro officials informed media that head of a pig had been left in front of Scavolini Pesaro basketball operations offices by an indignant anonymous fan or group of fans (or rather, more appropriately, “fanatic” or “fanatics”).

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