The last game day before Christmas is just ahead, so let’s check which are teams are hot and which are not at the moment.
1. CSKA Moscow (6-1) (+1)
It was just a short-term downgrade to second place for CSKA Moscow. An emphatic win against Panionios and a hard-fought victory over Unics Kazan helped them to recover the first place in our unique Power Rankings.
2. Montepaschi Siena (6-1) (-1)
Siena had a little more trouble than expected in beating the Lithuanians from Zalgiris Kaunas. On the other hand, in the domestic league, the team continues to win and confirms their current good situation.
3. Regal FC Barcelona (6-1) (+1)
The big win of the week comes from FC Barcelona and their victory in the OAKA. This puts them in third place on the Euroleague Power Rankings and shows the nice job done by the coaching staff to build such a strong team.
4. TAU Ceramica (5-2) (+2)
The offensive powerhouse from Vitoria comes off another destroying win in the Euroleague. And they will play against ALBA Berlin this week in a rematch of Igor Rakocevic’s 6-for-6 three-point effort.
5. Unicaja Malaga (5-2) (+2)
Unicaja is currently in the upstream, so it’s time for them to slow down to remain in their classical up-and-down moves. The big win at home against the Greek Olympiacos team with a reduced team gives them the necessary boost to remain among the top contenders for the Top 16.
6. Olympiacos (5-2) (-3)
Olympiacos is currently a little bit off, as the team has not yet identified the leader who takes over games in the final minutes, which ultimately caused their defeat in Malaga. Josh Childress is doing the job, but he is not the “Messiah” awaited by the Reds.
7. Panathinaikos (5-2) (-2)
Panathinaikos is a bit in the same situation as Olympiacos and even lost at home. The game against FC Barcelona will remain in the minds of fans and players, but the next matchup against SLUC Nancy should get them back on track.
8. Cibona Zagreb (5-2) (+1)
The weeks continue and Cibona is still in the Top 10 in our rankings. The Croats are playing an excellent season so far, building on some local talent with surprisingly strong US players: A mix that works very well and qualifies them for the Top 16.
9. DKV Joventut (5-2) (+2)
Ricky is back, and so is DKV Joventut. It’s not quite that easy, but the Badalona team is currently getting better. The case of Pops Mensah-Bonsu is definitely sealed, and Eduardo Hernandez-Sonseca is working in the paint. With Ricky improving every game now, the Top 16 will be very interesting.
10. Lottomatica Roma (5-2) (-2)
Coach Repesa is gone, and so goes the five-game winning streak. It’s not that simple, but the team does need to find itself again at this moment. Even if Brandon Jennings gains in minutes, the goal is to win games and not to develop the scoring skills of a high school kid.
11. Real Madrid (4-3) (+3)
A tough win at home against Partizan, and Real Madrid moves up in the rankings again. Coach Joan Plaza’s is probably the most discussed position right now in the Euroleague, but with every win, his seat remains in place. By the way, Real will play in Moscow this week and a loss is very probable.
12. Maccabi Tel Aviv (4-3) (+1)
Maccabi wins on the road but loses in the domestic league; what a strange situation. However, since Lior Eliyahu has woken up in the Euroleague, the team seems to comfort their Top16 spot and should continue their presence for another few games.
13. Efes Pilsen (3-4) (+2)
After being ranked pretty high at the beginning of the season, the Turkish Brewers have fallen down regularly in our Rankings but seem to find their way back up right now. After beating the red-hot AJ Milano team at home, things look a little bit better right now.
14. Partizan Belgrade (3-4) (-4)
Partizan needs to win its games at home and maybe take one or the other win on the road. This week, they nearly did, losing by only 1 in Madrid. However, they remain strong and should be able to reach the Top 16 again this season.
15. Fenerbahce Ülker (3-4) (+1)
Fenerbahce Ülker was on the way to win in Berlin but without any obvious reason completely struggled in the second half and gave ALBA Berlin a highly important win. They showed no problems in the domestic league in beating the small team Antalya and they have a crucial game at home against Joventut this week.
16. ALBA Berlin (3-4) (+4)
ALBA Berlin remains unbeaten in O2 World and will try to continue the win streak against TAU this week. However, a surprising loss on the road in the Bundesliga was not in their favor, and the still long list of injuries is a problem for Luka Pavicevic.
17. AJ Milano (2-5) (-5)
A big move up and big move down; this is how to look at AJ Milano’s fortunes last week. The team had an impressive win at home against CSKA which boosted their stock. However, it wasn’t enough to continue their streak and lost in Istanbul. Everything remains possible for the team, though, as they host Partizan this week.
18. Panionios (3-4) (-1)
The Greeks took a severe loss in Moscow, like nearly every team in the Euroleague. Additionally, they lost by 16 against Olympiacos in the Greek league, like nearly every team in the A1. So not a lot of changes for Panionios right now.
19. Asseco Prokom (2-5) (-1)
Prokom did the job in Nancy with the loss and not giving back the lead taken in the first meeting. The Polish team needs to win a few more in order to qualify for the next round and are currently in the best position for 4th place in their (poor) group.
20. Air Avellino (2-5) (-1)
Air Avellino lost nearly all of their chances to qualify for the Top 16 with the home defeat against Maccabi. It was a great experience for the small Italian team to participate to the Euroleague but the dream is coming to an end.
21. SLUC Nancy (2-5) (+1)
Nancy had a small chance and took it. By beating Asseco Prokom behind an astonishing effort from Cyril Julian, the French team needs to win on the road now in order to have a last qualifying chance for the Top 16.
22. Union Olimpija (1-6) (-1)
Nothing is really working well right now for the Slovenians. Coaches come and go, injuries and defeats mark a season to forget in the Euroleague. The management is probably already thinking about next year and seeking improvements in order to become competitive again.
23. Zalgiris Kaunas (0-7) (+1)
Yes, Zalgiris only lost by seven, so it was enough for me to take them out of last place. And when reading the forums, I even hear voices claiming that the Lithuanians still have a chance to reach the Top 16 by beating SLUC and Asseco. Yes, that sounds possible.
24. Le Mans (0-7) (-1)
Should I really waste any time writing about the biggest disaster of the year? Starting with a team names that opened some eyes but also a rookie coach, Le Mans should probably refocus on their traditions of talented young locals and experienced coaches. At least the fans would not be as disappointed.