Basketball World Cup of Beer: The Final – USA vs France +++ Tight knit Iceland too much for Great Britain +++ EuroBasket 2015: Round-up and Highlights from Wednesday’s qualifiers +++ FIBA dropped a sweet promo for the World Cup +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer – Bronze Medal Match +++ Rudy gets iced, the internet rejoices +++ FIBA World Cup Preview – Group C +++ CSKA Moscow’s Kyle Hines and Sonny Weems take the ice bucket challenge +++ Tony Parker does ice bucket challenge but his friend can’t use a camera phone +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer: Semi Finals +++

CSKA Moscow-Zalgiris Kaunas: The history, the highlight clips

Though CSKA Moscow and Žalgiris Kaunas have never met on a opening day before, this matchup of perpetual Continental powers makes for an appropriate inauguration for the 2011-12 Euroleague season.

Since the 2001-02 edition of the big league, both sides have appeared in Europe’s top basketball competition, building up something of a rivalry (albeit a bit of a one-sided one) over the past ten seasons over eight EL meetings and a handful of others in various pan-European competition.

On this opening day, BallinEurope takes a brief look back at previous clashes between these two clubs.

• In the modern era, things began for these teams in 2003-04. That memorable season saw Arvydas Sabonis suiting up for Žalgiris for a third go around and bagging the league MVP award despite his advanced age of 39 and the Lithuanian side’s bouncing from the Top 16 round.

CSKA would meet Žalgiris in week seven of the old 14-game pool-play format that season; the old warrior Sabonis played limited minutes in battling a flu bug, yet still went for 19 points and eight rebounds. (See video below for an admirable display of Sabas’ range and general dominance – who’d’ve known he was virus-laden?) Moscow emerged as winners anyway, with J.R. Holden unstoppable from outside and Marcus Brown, he who would a few years later become Kaunas’ favorite adopted son, each putting in 21 points for CSKA in the fast-paced 90-81 victory.

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Euroleague Final Four flashback: FC Barcelona takes first EL title, 2003

While many of us (ahem) were shocked that FC Barcelona did not qualify for this year’s Euroleague Final Four to be played at the Blaugrana’s venue, Barca made good in defending home court the last time the Spanish capital hosted.

In 2003, Barcelona brought a veritable dream team to the tournament to chase the team’s first-ever Euroleague title, including the likes of Dejan Bodiroga, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Juan Carlos Navarro – not to mention a Hall of Fame-level coach in Svetislav Pesic. They’d face a final four composed of traditional powerhouses CSKA Moscow and Benetton Treviso plus then-Final Four debuter Montepaschi Siena.

(Hard to believe this was just eight years ago, eh?)

Enjoy a recap of the 2003 tournament, plus a brief reminiscence about those days from Bodiroga, below. And see you in Barcelona!

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Euroleague Final Four flashback: Kinder Bologna wows Palau Sant Jordi crowd, 1998

While Barcelona has played host to the Euroleague Final Four three times before, the Palau Sant Jordi has served as home venue only twice; the first of these was in 1998, some eight years after the stadium was opened.

That year’s EL Final Four featured Kinder Bologna making the big tournament for the first time since 1981, led on court by the likes of Predrag Danilovic and Antoine Rigaudeau – and coached by a 38-year-old named Ettore Messina, then winning his first Continental title. Let’s travel 13 years back in time with league historians to the ‘90s; if you’d like to reach further back, BiE’s trip to 1969 is here.

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