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The BBL experience – Rowdy in Frankfurt +++ Fearless predictions: Euroleague playoffs +++ A Dario triple-double? Now that’s good timing +++ Swee’ Pea needs your help +++ Final Four: What the bookies say when the bookies talk +++ The greatest Eurodance tribute to Goran Dragic ever +++ Swaggy P’s tribute to Os moving back to the USA +++ Help Swee’ Pea make the big screen +++ The Dish: Can I play with Madness? +++ Just point out the bounce +++
Nov
136

Poll: Which player in Europe should be in the BallinEurope logo?

Congratulations, thanks and an apology all go out from BallinEurope this morning.

In order, that’s a congrat to Arvydas Sabonis, who will receive the honor of immortalization (sorta) as one half of the to-be-redesigned BallinEurope logo. Sabas was mighty impressive in amassing more votes from readers in the public opinion poll here than Dirk Nowitzki, Ricky Rubio and poor Tony Parker combined;

a shout out to all those who voted in the BiE poll; you’re gonna love part two for sure; and

apologies for the relative lack of contributions last and, foreseeably, this week. To put it in brief, BiE headquarters is relocating (read: “Os is moving”), but in December things will be again running smoothly here.

Right, then. Let’s get down to business. Based on suggestions from BiE readers, contributing writers and such, the field for Sabonis’ cartoon opponent in the BallinEurope logo will be the following.

Erazem Lorbek got some support from commenters and BiE admits that once again the Barcelona big went underrated on these pages. So BiE didn’t have Lorbek in his top five for Euroleague MVP balloting last season; this nomination should make up for that. While Lorbek’s numbers are generally down in 2012-13, he looks to be rearing back with three consecutive double-digit EL games and could be wearing the Blaugrana colors for some time yet.

The BallinEurope endorsement, however, goes to Sofoklis Schortsanitis. Not only is Big Sofo a fan favorite, not only would Sofoklis be done well in caricature, but can’t you just imagine him squaring off against Sabonis? Vote Sofo.

Despite the possibility of imminent retirement, Juan Carlos Navarro stays on the list. And Bo McCalebb’s there because he’s Bo. And because BiE wants that FYR Macedonia jersey in the logo.

Finally, there’s Vassilis Spanoulis. Damn straight BiE went there; after all, the guy did orchestrate Olympiacos’ magic run to cap 2011-12 with a couple of titles and he’s been an anchor on Greek national teams since 2000.

You may now blow up the comments section – but vote first!

Which player in Europe should be in the BallinEurope logo?

  • Vassilis Spanoulis (56%, 108 Votes)
  • Juan Carlos Navarro (20%, 39 Votes)
  • Bo McCalebb (11%, 21 Votes)
  • Sofoklis Schortsanitis (11%, 21 Votes)
  • Erazem Lorbek (2%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 194

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Oct
8

On Panionios BC and the future of Greek basketball

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.

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Oct
61

Euroleague Power Rankings: 2012-13 Opening Day Edition

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!

The favorites
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.

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Jul
0

Highlights: 90 seconds from the Olympic qualifiers

Here’s a quickie for you, then: Approximately 90 seconds’ worth of official highlight clip from the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, starring Bo McCalebb, Vassilis Spanoulis, Ike Diogu and a whole bunch of others…

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Jul
61

Upset in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament today: What are the chances?

Right, so BallinEurope has already publicly logged Official Fearless Predictions™ for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament knockout stage in bracket format. Europe’s four representatives – group winners all – take on some decent African and North American competition, but nevertheless the bookies like an all-Europe final four in Venezuela.

Indeed, there’s a high probability that none of these favorites will be eliminated today. In Groups B and D produced a fair number of underdog victories in round-robin play: Venezuela over Nigeria, Nigeria over Lithuania, New Zealand over Angola, and (BiE maintains) Angola over FYR Macedonia. In contrast, the quite-predictable 2008 version of this tourney included zero upsets in round-robin play and really only one that might be called at least moderately surprise: Puerto Rico over Slovenia.

So which European teams should be worried about the upset today/tonight (tomorrow morning CET)? From least to most? BiE would say the list looks like this…

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Jul
17

2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament Preview: Greece

Just one more day (or so, CET) until the heartily-named 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men tips off in Venezuela. BallinEurope continues with previews of the four European qualifiers with an assessment of Greece, a.k.a. Olympiacos and a bunch of other guys.

Roster: Vassilis Spanoulis, Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou, Kostas Sloukas, Evangelos Mantzaris (Olympiacos); Ioannis Bourousis, Antonis Fotsis (Olimpia Milano); Nikos Zisis (Montepaschi Siena); Nick Calathes, Kostas Kaimakoglou, Ian Vougioukas (Panathinaikos); Dimitrios Mavroeidis, Kostas Vasileiadis (Gescrap Bilbao Basket); and Michael Bramos (Gran Canaria); head coach Ilias Zouros (Anadolu Efes)

Notable no shows: Dimitris Diamantidis of Panathinaikos retired from national team play, returning that all-important starting point guard role to Vassilis Spanoulis – not a bad trade off this year … also out are Kostas Koufos (Denver Nuggets) and Sofoklis Schortsanitis (Maccabi Tel Aviv) due to injury.

How they got here: In Eurobasket 2011, a hot start saw Team Greece winning five of the first six games, only to drop three of the final five with losses to Russia, France and Lithuania in the placement game. In the penultimate match, however, Hellas put together its best game of the tournament in topping Serbia, 87-77, to earn a spot in these qualifiers.

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Jun
0

Quiz: The NBA- and Euro-centric year in basketball, 2011-12

2011-12: The year of Spanoulis?

Quick! Before those memories of basketball championships European and NBA fade completely, take a brief look back at the season that was – one crazy one on The Continent that began with Tony Parker, Ty Lawson and Mehmet Okur playing over here and concluded with titles taken by King James and Emperor Spanoulis. Get out those pencils and take the BallinEurope quiz…

1. The 2011-12 Euroleague season:
a) was one of the greatest ever
b) was the greatest ever
c) proved Jordi Bertomeu’s contention that “we don’t need NBA imports to be a top-quality competition
d) was awesome, but man, i’m jonesing. When does the season start?

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Jun
13

Olympiacos wins! Olympiacos wins! Olympiacos wins! (a.k.a. *The* European basketball story of 2011-12)

Let’s put this into perspective. The last time Olympiacos took the Greek national title, they were led by David Rivers and Dragan Tarlać. Vassilis Spanoulis was 15 years old and not near professional club play. Dejan Bodiroga was in the middle of his career and Mirsad Turkcan had just turned 21.

Across the pond, Lebron James was 13; Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and *those* Chicago Bulls were about to earn their fifth rings; Kobe Bryant had just become the NBA record-setter as youngest NBA starter ever. In international play, Team USA still wore an aura of invincibility. The World Trade Center was still standing and the European Union was optimistically looking forward to including former communist-led countries as member states.

It seems like a dream to BallinEurope, so one can only goggle at how Olympiacos fans must be feeling today (aside from hungover, that is). Yes, the Reds in the decisive game five of the national championship series took the 82-76 victory over rival Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos, nine-time consecutive champions and typically previously perpetual Olympiacos nightmare this time of year.

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May
3

Red reign forecast? Olympiacos on brink of Greek title after beating Panathinaikos, 84-72

Olympiacos shrugged off both history and the Dimitris Diamantidis-Mike Batiste duo last night in taking game three of the Greek League championship series over rivals Panathinaikos, 84-72. With a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, the Reds are poised to take its first domestic league title since 1997; historians will of course note that ’97 marked Olympiacos’ last Euroleague championship until 2012 – and a string of six consecutive runner-up finishes could be broken.

The Reds got out to a 7-0 lead which expanded to 20-8 within the first quarter and ballooned to a 78-55 advantage in the fourth quarter before Olympiacos took feet off the pedal. Individually speaking, several Oly players contributed memorable performances: Euroleague heroes Vassilis Spanoulis and Giorgios Printezis were good for 31 points together while Marko Keselj added 10. Joey Dorsey grabbed eight offensive rebounds in snagging a game-high nine boards overall.

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May
106

The BallinEurope All-American Euroleague team (also all-Russian, -Greek and -former Yugoslavian teams)

Sonny Weems: Lithuania's top import in 2011-12

Now here’s an argument starter for you … with much debate perpetually going on among European basketball fans vis-à-vis the influence of American and/or NBA players on the Euroleague, BiE decided to take a look back at the 2011-12 season in hopes of drawing some comparison on an individual, player-by-player level.

Below, then, runs four all-star squads based on play in this season’s edition of the big league; for convenience and competition’s (rather than geopolitics’) sake, players from Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro and FYR Macedonia will be virtually suiting up for the “former Yugoslavia” team.

Right, so who wins this tournament…?

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