With most leagues drawing to a close and playoffs beginning – not to mention champions already crowned in Albania, Cyprus, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Norway and a few regional leagues – BallinEurope returns its “List of European Basketball Champions.”
At present, only the above-listed domestic leagues have shut down for the summer; BiE supplies information on the current situation in the others’ regular seasons and/or playoffs. This list will be updated whenever possible.
Any information BallinEurope readers can provide is much appreciated as well.
Euroleague: The Euroleague Final Four tournament begins on May 6.
ULEB Eurocup: Unics Kazan became the first unlicensed team to officially join the 2011-12 Euroleague ranks with a decisive 92-77 victory over Cajasol Sevilla in the championship match. Maciej Lampe contributed a huge effort with 26 points and 11 rebounds, while Kelly McCarty went for 18 and Terrell Lyday put in 15. But it was Marko Popović who was named MVP for dishing out a Eurocup championship record 11 assists to go with his 18 points.
FIBA Eurochallenge: On Friday, April 29, it’ll be Spartak St. Petersburg v. Lokomotiv Kuban, while Adriatic League quarterfinalist Krka makes another final four to take on BC Oostende.
Adriatic League: Partizan Belgrade took its fifth straight NLB title by defeating fellow Euroleague side Union Olimpija, 77-74, in the championship game.
Balkan League: Macedonia’s KK Feni Indistrija took its first-ever BIBL title by defeating Rilski Sportist of Bulgaria, 88-75, in the championship game.
Baltic League: Žalgiris Kaunas defended home court with the magic of the “Green Death” to take the Baltic League title over VEF Riga, 75-67.
VTB United League: It’s an all-Moscow final for this Eastern European League, as BC Khimki takes on CSKA in Kazan at 6.30pm local time (4.30pm CET, 10.30am EST). In the third-place game, it’s hometeam Unics vs. Azovmash Mariupol at 4pm (2pm CET, 8am EST). The official website broadcast the final four round games, so BiE presumes you’ll be able to watch the finals there tonight.
Albania: SK Tirana were crowned Albanian Basketball League champions after twice topping UAT. Despite going just 7-8 during the FSHB regular season, UAT snuck into the finals by upsetting theretofore-undefeated Studenti Tirana in a best-of-three round.
Austria: The semifinal round begins on Easter Sunday with no. 1 seed and two-time defending champion (plus winners of five of the last six Österreichische Basketball Bundesliga titles) Allianz Swans Gmunden take on BSC Raiffeisen Furstenfeld Panthers. In the other bracket, it’s the seriously American-loaded Oberwart Gunners vs. the nicely international Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions.
Belarus: BC Minsk will continue its incredible 2010-11 season, taking its 43-0 overall record into the best-of-five championship series against Grodno-93 beginning on Friday, April 29; Grodno was the second-place finisher in the Belarusian league at 25-15 – just 15 games behind the Minsk machine.
Belgium: The Ethias League regular season runs through May 14.
Bosnia-Herzegovina: The regular season has entered stage two in Bosnia; last year’s championship contenders Siroki TT and BC Igokea Aleksandrovac top the table at 6-1 thus far.
Bulgaria: Two more weeks are left to play in the NBL.
Croatia: In stage 2 of the Croatian League, it’s Cedevita Zagreb topping the table at 7-1.
Cyprus: After a wacky playoff tournament which ultimately saw no. 4 seed Intercollege Etha Engomis face off against no. 6 AEL Limassol (who were just 6-10 in the regular season!) for the title, Etha was named 2011 champions in winning the series three games to two. Kudos to these champions, who reportedly have quite the long history of Cinderella and/or underdog status – and this season, league MVP Anthony King.
Czech Republic: Eurocuppers CEZ Nymburk are currently topping the Czech standings at 9-0.
Denmark: The Bakken Bears were named Ligaen champions after avenging last season’s championship series loss to Svendborg by sweeping the Rabbits 4-0 in the finals. Bakken’s former Texas Tech Red Raider Charlie Burgess was named league MVP.
Estonia: In the semifinals, Tartu Rock and Kalev/Cromo hold 1-0 leads over TTU/Kalev and Rakvere, respectively.
Finland: Kataja (30-14 in the Korisliiga regular season) will play Tampereen Pyrinto (37-7) for the championship.
France: The LNB regular season is still being played; as of this writing, the Euroleague’s Cholet Basket is in first place at 20-6.
Germany: The Bundesliga finishes its regular season on Saturday, April 23.
Greece: The EΣAKE playoffs begin next Saturday with Olympiacos needing one more win to set a new record for Greek League victories in a single season.
Holland: The eight-team playoffs of the DBL begin today.
Hungary: The schedule has not been announced yet, but the semifinals will see Szolnok take on Fortress Körmend, while Albacomp gets 2009-10 runners-up Atomerőmű SE Paks in the other bracket. The Atoms took out last year’s NBI champions ZTE in the first round.
Iceland: In what is perhaps Europe’s smallest league, the tinily-titled KR (a.k.a. KR Reykjavik if you’re not into the whole brevity thing) defeated Stjarnan, three games to one, to take the title.
Ireland: Killester Dublin made it back-to-back titles by defeating Neptune Cork, 84-80, in the championship.
Israel: Stop BiE if you’ve heard this one before: Maccabi Tel Aviv has won the Ligat HaAl regular season with a 26-1 record. However, folks may recall the way last season ended for Maccabi; former head coach Pini Gershon, who once complained that the single-game elimination format was designed to end his franchise’s dominance has proven prophetic, as Tel Aviv has now gone down in the championship game two of the past three years
Italy: Four more weeks remain in the Serie A regular season.
Latvia: On Tuesday, April 26, the LBL playoffs continue with the semifinals seeing Ventspils vs. BK Barons Riga and VEF Riga vs. Liepaja Lauvas.
Lithuania: Does it really matter who’s matched up in the semifinals against Žalgiris and Lietuvos Rytas…?
Luxembourg: Two more weeks of second stage play remain in the Luxembourg league.
Moldova: In Moldova, the semifinal matchups are no. 1 seed UASM against BC Gamma Cahul, while ASEM gets the awesomely-named Fire Ball Bender in the other series.
Norway: Baerum Basket bested the Tromso Storm in two straight games to win the Norwegian title.
Poland: Perpetual power Asseco Prokom has a commanding 3-1 lead over Energa Czarni; PGE Turow and Eurochallengers Trefl Sopot are knotted up at two games apiece in the other semifinal series.
Portugal: The final quarterfinal match to be played is scheduled for Easter Sunday.
Romania: Question: Where can BiE get up-to-date Romanian basketball scores? Related question: Does anyone care about basketball in Romania? Seriously, here’s the national sports page. Do you even see hoops anywhere?
Russia: Five weeks remain in the PBL season; Unics Kazan, just bounced in the VTB United League semis, holds a tenuous lead atop the table at 15-5.
Serbia: Five more games are to be played in the Serbian Superleague. Naturally, Partizan tops the table currently at 6-1, while the Eurocup-contending 2010 runners-up KK Hemofarm are at the Black-and-Whites’ heels at 6-2.
Slovakia: Levice awaits the winner of the BK SPU Nitra v. Vahostav-Zilina winner today.
Slovenia: The second stage of Slovenian ball ends on May 17.
Spain: Four weeks of play remain in the ACB; FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, PE Valencia and Caja Laboral Baskonia have clinched playoff spots while some eight teams remain in contention for seeds five through eight going into this weekend.
Sweden: The defending Basketligan champion Norrköping Dolphins began their quest for a repeat with a 79-78 victory over the 2009 title-winning Dragons at Sundsvall on Friday night for a 1-0 lead in the seven-game series.
Switzerland: Lugano Tigers have a 2-0 lead over Monthey, while the Fribourg-Geneve Lions series is tied at one game apiece.
Turkey: The TBL still has three games left to play in its 2010-11 regular season. The top seven – Fenerbahçe Ülker, Galatasaray Café Crown, Efes Pilsen, Banvit BK, Beşiktaş Cola Turka, Pinar Karsiyaka, and Olin Edirne – would all appear to be set for the playoffs with Fenerbahçe all but guaranteed the no. 1 seed for the playoff tournament and only a complete disaster should eject Antalya BC from that last spot.
Ukraine: The quarterfinal rounds are currently underway and will wrap by April 30.
United Kingdom: The top four seeds in the BBL playoffs have advanced to the semifinals, which pit no. 2 Newcastle Eagles against no. 3 One Health Sharks Sheffield and no. 1 Mersey Tigers against no. 4 Cheshire Jets. Newcastle took a one-game lead on Friday evening win a 76-68 win buoyed by long-time BBLer Drew Lasker’s 27 points.