TBL roundup: Bandirma Kirmizi stuns Fenerbahce Ulker; Morrison, Pops star for Besiktas; Galatasaray holds on to third place

The Turkish Basketball League, rapidly becoming the most competitive European basketball league, saw a number of key games go down this weekend to tighten things up some at the top of the table. While TBL teams gained much international attention for signing big-name NBAers, e.g. Deron Williams, Sasha Vujacic, Ersan Ilyasova, Mehmet Okur, etc., during the NBA lockout period, BallinEurope reckons they should be more recognized for the excellent parity ruling over Turkish basketball. Might the reign of the twin Euroleague powers Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahçe Ülker be waning?

After the weekend’s action, the top five on the TBL table stayed put, but a stunning upset handed to Fenerbahçe by last-place Bandirma Kirmizi locks the defending league champions in the fifth spot for at least a couple more weeks. Read on for brief writeups on key games, video clips and a look at the standings – just be sure to keep those scorecards at the ready as the league heads into the homestretch; you’ll need ‘em…

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Euroleague Power Rankings: Big Red Machine, Blaugrana Rolling Edition

After a week two loaded with upsets and shocking blowouts, BallinEurope’s Euroleague Power Rankings go through quite a shuffling going into Top 16 round, week three … except of course at the top, where all indications have the championship matchup between CSKA Moscow and FC Barcelona feeling more inevitable than ever. How is your team faring on the (sorta) big board this week?

Traditional advisory warning: These ratings are pretty much highly subjective, as they are formulated from one source, i.e. BiE, and are based on the way teams are trending at present. While play in other leagues was considered, emphasis was put on Euroleague performance especially, and particularly on the two games each has registered in Top 16 play.

And on to the rankings!

The undefeated
1. (↔) CSKA Moscow (12-0 in Euroleague play overall; 9-1 in VTB United League, 8-1 in PBL)
2. (↔) FC Barcelona (9-1 EL; 13-3 ACB)
3. (↑) Montepaschi Siena (10-2 EL; 13-5 Serie A) – No surprises here, unless you count the emphatic statement wins recorded by each of these elite teams in week two at Maccabi Tel Aviv, vs. Anadolu Efes, and at Real Madrid, respectively. NBA fans are chattering about a shortened season? Ha! With each of these teams at 2-0 and having knocked off the no. 2 contender within their groups, they’ve all made the 2011-12 EL Top 16 round a hell of a lot more urgent for nearly every side in the big league.

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Euroleague Power Rankings: Top 16 Tip-off Edition

It seems like forever, but Euroleague 2011-12 resurrects itself for Top 16 opening night tonight. What better way to celebrate, reckons BallinEurope, than with some good ol’ power rankings?

Once again, the caveat emptor-ish bit: These ratings are formulated from once source (namely yours truly) and are based on the way teams are trending at present. While play in other leagues was considered, emphasis was put on performance in the latter bits of the EL season.

To the rankings!

Top dogs
1. CSKA Moscow (10-0 in Euroleague regular season; 8-1 in VTB United League, 7-1 in PBL) – Remember the date December 10, 2011: That’s the last time the scary Red Army lost, in falling to BC Khimki in Russia while getting just seven minutes out of Andrei Kirilenko. The Red Army’s only loss before that was exactly one month prior when they fell in a squeaker at Spartak St. Petersburg in their VTB opener. Considering the starting team alone – an all-star squad of Kirilenko, Milos Teodosic, Nenad Krstic, Ramunas Siskauskas, Viktor Khryapa – BiE has to wonder what non-NBA team could beat ‘em. Even after the star power, the CSKA Moscow bench contributed 43.2 points per game in Euroleague play while the team leads in overall performance rating, assists and assist-to-turnover ratio. This has got to be considered the team to beat in 2012.

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February Madness: Rounding up the cups, serving up some highlights

Can it all be over so quickly? February Madness peaked this weekend in Europe, with several domestic cup tournaments being played out and celebrations aplenty. BallinEurope this morning provides a rundown of the action – and, naturally, video clips. Without further ado, then, let’s look in on the insanity.

• To no one’s surprise, Spanish superpowers FC Barcelona and Real Madrid indeed met in the Copa del Rey final with La Blaugrana overcoming their rivals playing on their home court, 68-60. Check out, as the league’s official website, says a collection of clips including “Alley oops terribles de [Boniface] N’Dong y [Fran] Vázquez, mate furioso de Clay Tucker, D’Or Fischer que pone el candado a su aro … ¡Mucha diversión en la Final!”

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Euroleague week three talking points, part II

Five Euroleague games are to be played tonight, each bearing a number of scintillating storylines – well, okay, maybe not the nearly history-bereft Cholet-Lietuvos Rytas matchup, but you get the point.

For your perusal, then, a few factoids, bites of information and videos in the leadup to tonight’s action. Enjoy the games, and best of luck to Union Olimpija; BiE thinks they’re gonna need it.

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Fenerbahce Ulker whips Efes Pilsen (in possible last-ever meeting) to take TBL title

Kinsey was big for Fenerbahce

Congratulations go out today to Fenerbahçe Ülker, who tore apart Efes Pilsen at home, 76-51, to take the Turkish Basketball League title in six games.

Four players – Mirsad Turkcan, Roko Ukic, Semih Erden and Tarance Kinsey – scored in double figures for Fenerbahçe, while Efes Pilsen was held to a lowly sub-33% on 16-of-49 shooting from the floor. Kinsey contributed eight rebounds as well.

Charles Smith was about the only hot hand for Efes Pilsen, turning in a double-double of 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 10 rebounds.

The series marked the fourth time Fenerbahçe and Efes Pilsen met for the TBL championship and the third in four years; however, today we’re mostly left wondering if in fact this would be the very last meeting between Turkey’s own Lakers and Celtics.

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