Aug
6

Eurojam 2011 tournament confirms Dan Gadzuric, Francisco Elson; no news on Bar Refaeli

Gadzuric to (Euro)jam for HollandSome news from organizers of the upcoming interesting Holland-based EuroJam 2011 tournament, which pits NCAA men’s and women’s sides against European national teams.

Confirmed for the tournament are NBA Dutchmen Francisco Elson of the Utah Jazz and Dan Gadzuric of the New Jersey Nets – BallinEurope can’t help but speculate as to whether the latter will be using his off-time during the tournament to field offers from European clubs, what with the mass exodus of Nets to the Continent. (NetsDaily hints that Gadzuric’s appearance in the tournament may depend on insurance issues.)

The Sacramento Kings’ Omri Casspi is slated to play for Team Israel in the tourney as well; more on this below.

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Sep
1

FIBA Women’s Worlds continues today

After an off day Sunday, the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women restarts today with some notable matchups – but figure the real fireworks to come on Wednesday night.

Today, defending FIBA world champions Team Australia and Olympic titlists Team USA are still undefeated and are both facing teams characterized as desperate for wins and with very little to lose.

Greece takes on the Opals two days after squeaking past Senegal to advance to the second round. And in what BiE’s guessing will be Team USA’s biggest scare to date, the Stars and Stripes get Canada.

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Sep
3

FIBA Women’s World Championship: Giants cruise, pool play ends today

Taurasi seeks revenge

Another full slate of games is going on today in the Czech Republic with the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women entering game three of pool play.

Team Canada and Team Japan managed to turn in the first surprises of the tournament yesterday in overcoming China and Argentina, respectively, but otherwise it seems like business as usual. As this is being written, the Americans are holding a double-digit lead against heretofore undefeated France, presumably leaving Spain alone with the triple-headed monster of USA, Russia and Australia among the lossless teams.

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Sep
15

Greece vs. Russia: He who wins shall lose?

Rosie knows it

“Sometimes when you win, you really lose. And sometimes when you lose, you really win. And sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic globule, from which one extracts what one needs.” – Gloria Clemente, White Men Can’t Jump

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Teams USA, Turkey and Lithuania for getting tickets punched into the knockout tournament as VIP no. 1 seeds. And while the Argentina-Serbia battle tonight to determine how Group A shakes out should be a dandy, the one to watch – particularly if you’re a FIBA official or conspiracy theorist – will be Russia vs. Greece.

In what is definitely a case of “he who wins shall lose,” the no. 2 seed in Group C will face what appears to be the most difficult path to the championship game in the bracket. Assuming Team Spain handles winless Canada, the winner of tonight’s Russia-Greece contest would first draw Espana as no. 3 seed in Group D in the “eight finals,” followed by (Team USA) the winner of USA vs. Angola/Australia.

The loser of Russia-Greece would get a bracket that includes an opening game against France followed by the winner of Argentina vs. Brazil/Croatia – while hardly an easy road, which do you think David Blatt and Jonas Kazlauskas would prefer?

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Sep
5

2010 FIBA World Championship scenarios (plus fearless predictions™) going into games four

The executioner awaits...

With the 2010 FIBA World Championship picture now coming into focus, BallinEurope can take a look ahead, determining some who will, some who might and some who could reach the “Eight Finals” after tonight’s games.

Though technically only Canada has been mathematically eliminated altogether, the fat lady is definitely warming up in the wings of Angola, Jordan, Tunisia, Iran, Cote d’Ivoire and Lebanon. Thanks to loss to Puerto Rico last night, China, too, can be exterminated from further contention in 2010 tonight as well. Indeed, if all goes as planned, we’ll know the 16 qualifiers for the knockout stage after tonight’s games.

Of course, the excitement of games five comes in the battles for placement. Things are totally up for grabs in Group B after Team USA with Brazil, Slovenia and Croatia in the mix for spots 2-4; the three-way dogfight among Argentina, Serbia and Australia in Group A will make things interesting until the final buzzer tomorrow night; Group C has a similar triple towers setup with an European war among Serbia, Turkey and Russia with two games to go.

And then there’s Group D. Clearly the most intriguing bunch from the start of the tournament, this one has been dominated – yes, dominated – by those two other “B teams” in this tournament: France and Lithuania.

One supposes that in a year when so many big names declared themselves out, the tightly-knit squads of unknowns possess advantages in the “intangibles” areas that make the difference. All philosophy aside, France and Lithuania are advancing while Spain fights to stay alive to surely wonder what in Naismith’s name is going on…

Tonight’s schedule of 12 games plus advancement scenarios, official BiE Fearless Predictions™ and video clips (yes!) follow the break.

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Aug
13

Fearless predictions: 2010 FIBA World Championship, day four

Air Martynas!

Sorry folks, a bit short on time today, but after a perfect 6-0 showing in the official BallinEurope 2010 FIBA World Championship Fearless Predictions™, how could BiE leave you hanging?

With two excellent games going down yesterday (Sheesh, who knew a team that gave up 75 points to Jordan could defend?) in the Slovenia-Croatia sharpshooting bonanza and the USA-Brazil thriller that surely had American fans at least slightly nervous throughout – and all this, as they say, without Anderson Varejao.

Tonight’s two could-be-classics were meanly scheduled by FIBA to go down at the same time: At 8pm CET (2pm EST), Euroball fans get to choose between Spain-Lithuania and Greece-Turkey – BiE’s set to click back and forth, lemme tell ya.

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Aug
6

Fearless predictions: 2010 FIBA World Championship, day two

Whither Spain? In yet another example of “that’s why they play ‘em on paper,” the mighty Spaniards went down thanks to a French attack led by Nicolas Batum (14 points on 4-of-9 shooting, two rebounds, two blocks and one awesome jam), Andrew Albicy (!) and Mickael Gelabale (!!!) and brutal fourth-quarter shooting “highlighted” by three separate FG droughts, 4-of-10 shooting on free throws, Sergio Llull serving up shots for the blocking, and Rudy Fernandez getting himself T’ed right out of the game.

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Aug
6

Fearless predictions: 2010 FIBA World Championship, day one

With just hours left before the 2010 FIBA World Championship tournament in Turkey, BallinEurope quits stalling to briefly drop some surely instant-classic Fearless Predictions™ for today’s games. Wall-to-wall coverage as well as all games broadcast live on your computer is available at the FIBA TV website.

Incidentally, if you’re up for the live chat experience during the USA-Croatia match, BallinEurope will be participating in ESPN’s Daily Dime Live Chat starting at 6pm CET (noon EST). The virtual room will surely be cram-packed with prideful Americans, so come out to represent, fans of Croatia (not to mention Russia, Lithuania, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Turkey and Serbia)!

And the official BallinEurope crystal ball says…

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Aug
3

Non, Nando, non! (or, key games in the 2010 FIBA World Championship)

When is a game-winning shot not a game-winning shot? When you’re playing in a FIBA tournament! Just ask Nando de Colo.

In Eurobasket 2009, Team France took its undefeated streak into the final game of pool play with Greece. In a hard-fought contest, de Colo burned Nikos Zisis for an outside two with 0.2 seconds remaining: The victory and the group’s top seed was Les Bleus’.

Unfortunately, it took far less than 0.2 seconds for the French to realize what de Colo’s pyrrhic jumper meant: Thanks to a pair of early losses, the heating-up Team Spain finished Group F in fourth place, meaning the first-round knockout game would pit them against France.

The rest, as they say, is history. And if you don’t think de Colo’s teammates – playing the entire fourth quarter without Tony Parker, not that they were trying to lose or anything, mind you – realized what the 22-year-old had done, check out the clip below for the most muted tournament win celebration of all-time.

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Aug
28

BallinEurope’s 2010 FIBA World Championship power rankings 5.0

Right. It’s time for the final edition – pending Nenad Krstic’s prospective suspension by FIBA – of BallinEurope’s 2010 FIBA World Championship power rankings. Now that Team USA has had it out with Spain and Greece, we can see the picture a little more clearly heading into the tournament tipping off Saturday. There’s a clear upper tier of USA, Spain, Greece and Argentina who can start thinking “podium” now; Serbia might also be included, again pending the Krstic decision.

But while the cream again rises to the top, question marks, dark horses and possible upsets well remain. Who doesn’t like how Germany’s rounding into shape? Or the Whole-Greater-Than-Sum-Of-Parts aspect to Team Lithuania? Or (for those paying attention) the possibilities of Lebanon…?

Without further ado, here’s BiE’s measurement of the trends going into the weekend. Enjoy (well, except for you Canada fans)!

1. (↑) USA. U-S-A! U-S-A! But seriously, the Red-White-and-Blues’ fans have got to be loving the performance of their guys last night against Greece, dominating all facets of the game – especially in the halfcourt, where BiE reckoned they’d be especially vulnerable. Good win for the U.S. Even if Hellas was coming without Ioannis Bourousis and Sofoklis Schortsanitis. Even if Kostas Tsartsaris exposed Lamar Odom and the rest as inadequate to play underneath against the bigger teams. Even if BiE still believes Spain will give them game in the semi-finals … is there a position 1½?

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