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.
Congratulations go out from BallinEurope this morning to the first entrant into Euroleague 2012-13, BC Khimki Moscow region, with their win over BC Valencia in the Eurocup championship game yesterday. In a possible Euroleague title-game preview – at least in terms of home bases – the Russian side topped the Spaniards, 77-68. In the consolation game, Lietuvos Rytas bagged a bronze medal in taking out Spartak St. Petersburg, 71-62.
Game highlights and official writeup of the final match follow.
After examining each of the four finalists this week, Eurosport Turkey basketball commentator Uygar Karaca considers a few key players, matchups and tendencies that could affect today’s championship match – plus highlights and an Official BallinEurope Fearless Prediction™! Well, sort of.
It’s another final day for Eurocup. This means that we’re going to see one side hopping around and celebrating after a huge victory and on the other side, players leaving the court with faces looking to the ground and hearts broken with disappointment. Which one will play the victor’s role: hosts Khimki or their Spanish opponents Valencia? Can we make a prediction?
Basketball enthusiasts fairly know that it’s not fair to merely name one team as favourite. So I will try just to put forth some ideas, to try to reach some conclusion; i don’t know yet whether I will reach one or not.
Firstly, as a reminder, last year saw Russian side UNICS Kazan taking the Eurocup title against Cajasol Sevilla of Spain. Then we must consider the recent experiment we’ve seen: In the semifinals, we had a chance to observe that these two finalists have two different faces. Both can defend the basket aggressively and can find easy points – and vice versa. One thing to note is that in the 2009-10 Eurocup final, Valencia played ALBA Berlin and we can say that Kosta Perovic, Matt Nielsen, Florent Pietrus, Victor Claver and Sergiy Lischuk were just merciless while defending. The latter three remain with Valencia and scoring from low post plays will not be easy for Kresimir Loncar, Khimki’s main aggressor under the rim.
Another point was the ability of Spartak St. Petersburg to find open shots against Khimki in the Final Four match. The Eurocup season in general showed us that Khimki kept their rivals’ scoring very low on some occasions but not quite frequently. Valeriy Likhodey did significant damages to Khimki especially in the second half and Nick Caner-Medley’s shooting-oriented game can do the same.
Today, the final chapter of the series is devoted to BC Khimki Moscow region. With VTB United League and Russia Cup titles already in the club’s recent history, will they finally break through with a pan-European championship? Karaca seems to think so…
BC Khimki Moscow region is a relatively young club on the international basketball scene. However, they improved themselves quite rapidly: Coming from the same line of teams such as Avtador, Ural Great, UNICS and Lokomotiv Rostov which presented themselves as alternative powerhouses to CSKA Moscow, Khimki managed to earn a Russian Cup in 2008 and the VTB United League title in 2011. The missing trophy from the shelf is a pan-European prize. The team came close in 2006 against Joventut and in 2009 against Rytas with losses in the Eurocup finals both years. The hosts hope to be third-time lucky on their home court.
Since BallinEurope’s Official Power Rankings were so, um, popular during the FIBA World Championships, today we’re kicking off the same schtick for the upcoming Euroleague campaign.
The rules, again: These rankings are basically purely subjective (at this point; once the games are played, actual wins and losses will be figured in) but are based loosely on last season’s performance, Euroleague seedings before the draw, transactions made in the offseason, and performances in preseason games. (Olympiacos fans, you might want to look away right now.)
Today, the EL according to BiE looks something like the following.
1. FC Barcelona – Early on, it looks like business as usual for the side that dominated European club basketball in 2009-10 (well, until that gnarly showing in the ACB Finals, that is). In the off-season, Barça mostly stood pat while adding “only” Kosta Perovic; this weekend, the Blaugrana pummeled Euroleague contenders Real Madrid and Power Electronics Valencia by 172-118 to cruise to the Spanish Super Cup. Perhaps *this* will be the year Barcelona takes a quadruple cup, eh?
All right, now everything about the 2010 FIBA World Championship is coming into focus!
For example, now we know how good the relatively unknown Lithuanian squad will be – because they beat Slovenia after having to come back and go overtime against the Czech Republic. Um, and Argentina showed they’re awesome by … blowing a 20-point lead at half on their home court. Uh, well, one thing we can all agree on, at least: Team France is damn near sunk before this thing starts after another litany of no-shows.
These ratings are sure to be shaken up after many of these teams will be participating in tournament play or one-off exhibition games against fellow Worlds competitors this weekend. Up until Saturday night, however, BallinEurope sees the power flowing in the following 16 directions…
See, BiE secretly knew this would happen … you break down, make a few fearless predictions online and bam! The inconvenient fact of a loss – two losses in fact, one particularly egregious – goes down and you suddenly have to rework the whole damn post on 2010 FIBA World Championship power rankings.
In the egregious loss previously referenced, the proclamation that Team Canada would “surprise a few people” proved prophetic, but not in the way assumed. Over a squad that FIBA was forced to label a “Canadian developmental team” did Spain romp for a final score of 84-38. Those who’ve doubted the star power of Team Spain can note Felipe Reyes, Rudy Fernandez and Carlos Suarez all going for double-figures in limited team plus probably with one arm tied behind their backs.
And Team Slovenia was no doubt downloading BallinEurope’s original power rankings to use as fodder to beat up on Australia, 71-60. No depth, judged BiE? “Ha!” responded the Slovenes, who brought Sani Becirovic to put up 20 points and unleashed The Dragon for Goran Dragic to add 13. (BiE told you the Aussies would never get above no. 10 for the remainder of the tournament.)
Ah no matter … we knew these things were flexible, right? Plus, BallinEurope gets to splash a big “updated” across the post, like a real cutting-edge producer of news and opinion. BallinEurope’s official 2010 FIBA World Championship Power Rankings run below the break.
August is here and it’s full speed ahead for the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey later this month. In coming weeks, we’ll be seeing the national teams competing in the tournament playing warmup games all over the planet – indeed, some have already begun play.
With the last few big names having declared “yea” or “nay” on participation in the Worlds, BallinEurope figured it was high time to introduce power rankings for the upcoming tournament. Keep in mind that these rankings are not necessarily how BiE is fearlessly predicting they’ll end up when the 2010 Worlds are over, but rather how the squads are currently trending: You know, if the tournament started today…
All rankings are guaranteed to be 100% subjective with some semblance and factoring in of facts, FIBA rankings and sportsbooks’ odds on the tournament; the handy arrows indicate the team’s progress/regress on the chart (BiE’s pretending we ran one last week. Top 15 teams are ranked below the break.
After the disappointing finish by the Croats in the 2009 Eurobasket competition, then-head coach Jasmin Repesa hastily resigned and thereafter replaced by Vrankovic; now Vrankovic is ejecting Repesa’s team members, it seems.
Out are Sandro Nicevic, Nikola Vujcic, Marcio Stojic and Nikola Prkacin; Marin Rozic has retired from basketball altogether and Mario Kasun has retired from international play. In is the sensational Ante Tomic, to be training alongside the likes of Marko Tomas, Davor Kus, Zoran Planinic and Stanko Barac.