Here we go for the first Euroleague Power Ranking of this season. Of course, one game into 2008/2009 does not say that much, so I am prepared to get destroyed by our readers if they disagree with my ranking. Just note that I used a tiny calculation to establish my list before putting my feelings into it. So at least I can say that mathematically, this ranking has some kind of accuracy.
1. Regal FC Barcelona (1-0)
Xavi Pascual has been critized all over the continent but his team is currently playing excellent basketball. After nearly beating the Lakers in Los Angeles and taking a long flight back to Europe, they totally destroyed French champions SLUC Nancy in their gym. To continue, they beat CAI Zaragoza at home to stay at the top of the ACB right now.
2. CSKA Moscow (1-0)
The Russian powerhouse had a dominant win at home against AJ Milano and continued their streak in the Russian Superleague by winning in Saint Petersburg against a good Spartak team. The integration of Terrence Morris looks better now, too, as he was the top scorer and rebounder for Ettore Messina’s squad.
3. Olympiacos (1-0)
A nice away win against Euroleague newcomer Air Avellino and another win on the road in the Greek League puts the Reds in third place of our first power ranking of the season. Josh Childress and his teammates are ready for the next step.
4. Panathinaikos (1-0)
The Greens continue to impress with big wins, both in the Euroleague and the Greek League. But both times, it was against smaller opposition. A reduced Zalgiris Kaunas team was no serious threat for Panathinaikos and neither could AEL 1964 stop Obradovic’s roster.
5. Montepaschi Siena (1-0)
Montepachi started the new Euroleague season with a small win against a proper Asseco Prokom team and managed to beat a strong Teramo by only one point on the road. Rimantas Kaukenas looks like he will step up as team leader this season, as evidenced by his 28 points this weekend.
6. Efes Pilsen Istanbul (1-0)
Efes came off a very short victory against last year’s quarterfinalists Partizan Belgrade to open their season at home. Not quite the most impressive start but the newly formed team will need some more games in order to be ready. A big win in the Turkish League helps boost confidence.
7. Unicaja Malaga (1-0)
Unicaja managed to win their season opener in the Euroleague against a pretty strong Le Mans team. The game was open for large moments and it was only in the final seconds that Unicaja brought the first win home. In the Spanish ACB, Aito’s team beat DKV Joventut and remains at the top of the league right now.
8. Real Madrid (1-0)
What a week for Joan Plaza’s team. A convincing Euroleague start at home against Panionios followed by the epic overtime loss at the Palacio Vistalegre against last-place team ACB Cajasol Sevilla. However, this second loss in the domestic competition should not be overweighted.
9. TAU Ceramica (1-0)
The team from Vitoria started their Euroleague season pretty well by dominating Fenerbahce Ülker in the Euroleague season opener. In the domestic ACB League, TAU suffered their first loss of the season on the road against Bruesa this weekend.
10. ALBA Berlin (1-0)
ALBA came back to the Euroleague with an impressive win against Lottomatica Roma and its high expectations. The massive crowd at O2 World Arena pushed Luka Pavicevic’s team to a great defensive effort. In the domestic league, ALBA had no game this weekend but are still at the top of the standings.
11. DKV Joventut Badalona (1-0)
Even without Ricky Rubio, Badalona has still an impressive roster and plays good basketball. A solid win over Olimpija Ljubljana but a defeat against ACB leaders Unicaja put Joventut somewhere in the middle of our rankings this week.
12. Le Mans (0-1)
Le Mans nearly managed to open their wins on the road by losing shortly against Unicaja in Spain during the week. In the French ProA, they are still undefeated and had no problem winning big time against Vichy with a great defensive effort.
13. Fenerbahce Ülker (0-1)
The Turkish team had a very difficult start to the season by traveling to Vitoria, and Fenerbahce could not overcome the strong Spanish team. In the domestic league, they had no problems winning big against Kepez on the road.
14. Partizan Belgrade (0-1)
Two games within the shortest of possible margins: This is the recap of Partizan’s week. After losing by one in Istanbul during the week, Milenko Tepic and his teammates won an overtime thriller on the road against KK Zagreb in the Adriatic League.
15. Lottomatica Roma (0-1)
Lottomatica started the Euroleague season with a very strong team built around the Slovenian combo of Sani Becirovic and Primoz Brezec. However, this was not enough to win their opener in Berlin. In the Italian Lega, Jasmin Repesa is still undefeated as coach this season.
16. Air Avellino (0-1)
The small Italian team had one of the toughest oppositions to start the new season and logically lost against Olympiacos. The team fought back nicely by winning on the road in the Italian league against Cantù, however.
17. Cibona Zagreb (1-0)
Cibona started pretty well in the new Euroleague season by beating the co-champion of the 2007-08 Euroleague edition at home. However, Maccabi is currently far from being a title contender. Additionally, Cibona struggles in the Adriatic League and lost this weekend on the road against FMP.
18. Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv (0-1)
Maccabi is currently far from their logical expectations. Losing on the road in Zagreb is certainly not the best way to start the new Euroleague season, but poor performances during the preseason could have been seen as an early trend. The opening win in the Israeli league will eventually help them find the right way.
19. Union Olimpija (0-1)
The Slovenian team is still not complete but managed to show a decent game on the road in Badalona in the opener. But two losses in the first five Adriatic League games indicate that Union Olimpija is still not where they want to be in terms of results.
20. SLUC Nancy (0-1)
The French champions know now what the level of the Euroleague is now after their opening home loss against FC Barcelona. The team’s reaction was impressive, though, in winning by 30 points against Pau-Orthez on the road in the French league; but Pau is currently last in the ProA.
21. Asseco Prokom (0-1)
The Polish team showed a nice performance in the season opener of the Euroleague in losing by only nine points against Montepaschi on the road. But the team is not really dominating the Polish league, either, and it will be interesting to follow their development in a relatively poor Euroleague group.
22. Panionios (0-1)
The Greek newcomers lost heavily in Madrid in their Euroleague season opener but managed to fight back with a nice away win the Greek league against AEK Athens.
23. Zalgiris Kaunas (0-1)
The Lithuanian team had a hard time in Athens for the opener against Panathinaikos. And their first games of the current season in the Baltic League were not that promising, either. Additionally, the multitude of player and coach changes don’t put them into a position to be ready very quickly.
24. Armani Jeans Milano (0-1)
Danilo Gallinari’s former team faces a very tough start to the season. A totally renewed roster and a new coach seem to this far be unready to compete in both the Euroleague and the Lega. A loss against Caserta puts them at 1-2 in the Italian championship and in last place in our first power ranking of the season.