BallinEurope apologizes for the recent two-day drought of content in an attempt to catch up on “the day job” since returning from the Euroleague Final Four tournament. To (hopefully) make up for this dearth a bit, and in honor of Panathinaikos’ stirring win in the big league, BiE today presents an updated version of its List of 2010-11 European Champions.
See below for a roundup on the current situation in regular seasons and/or playoffs in the Continent’s domestic leagues. This list will be updated whenever possible.
Any information BallinEurope readers can provide is much appreciated as well.
Euroleague: Panathinaikos took its third championship in five years by decisively taking out first Montepaschi Siena and then Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Euroleague Final Four tournament. In the year of Dimitris Diamantidis, the PAO guard added another trophy to the mantelpiece by bagging the tourney’s MVP award.
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: Krka Novo Mesto topped Lokomotiv Kuban 83-77 to take the 2011 FIBA EuroChallenge title in Belgium, thanks to a fourth-quarter comeback; in the third-place game, hosts Oostende snuck past Spartak St. Petersburg, 94-92, in overtime.
Adriatic League: Partizan Belgrade took its fifth straight NLB title by defeating fellow Euroleague side Union Olimipija, 77-74, in the championship game.
Balkan League: Macedonia’s KK Feni Indistrija won 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: BC Khimki overcame fellow Muscovites of CSKA, 66-64, in the VTB championship game; Vitaly Fridzon was named Final Four tournament MVP. For third place, Eurocup champs Unics Kazan survived Azovmash Mariupol.
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: Regular-season no. 1 and no. 2 seeds Allianz Swans Gmunden and Oberwart Gunners each won their five-game semifinal series three games to two and will face off for the Österreichische Basketball Bundesliga championship beginning today.
Belarus: Is BC Minsk-2006 the European team of the year? Certainly, the Belarusian champions compiled one of the best single seasons ever in terms of straight-up record with a pair of 3-0 sweeps in the playoffs to bring their final mark for the 2010-11 season to a perfect 46-0.
Belgium: The Ethias League regular season runs through May 14.
Bosnia-Herzegovina: Last year’s championship finalists Siroki TT and BC Igokea Aleksandrovac now hold 1-0 leads in semifinal series against Mladost and Borac Nektar, respectively.
Bulgaria: Of the top four seeds from the regular season, three remain to play in the semifinals: Lukoil Academik, Levski Sofia and Rilski Sportist; the sole upset in the first round came when no. 6 Tundja, which had compiled a 10-18 record, upended no. 3 Balkan in two straight games.
Croatia: In stage 2 of the Croatian League, Cedevita Zagreb maintains their lead atop the table at 11-2, but KK Zadar and Zagreb Croatia Osiguranje are both nipping at the Eurocuppers’ heels at 10-3 after the latter upset them last weekend. Two games remain to play.
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: The Czech Republic’s marquee team, CEZ Nymburk, has advanced to the quarterfinals, as have BK Decin, Prostejov and Pardubice. This round begins play on Saturday.
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: Kalev/Cramo looks poised to take the Estonian title as they hold a 3-0 lead over TU/Rock in the championship series. Game four will be played on Saturday.
Finland: Tampereen Pyrinto are the Finnish champions after destroying Kataja in the deciding game five of the finals, 80-57. Damon Williams was named regular-season MVP after compiling a fantastic line of 18.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 steals per over 55 games.
France: The LNB regular season has concluded and eight teams will begin duking it out in the playoffs on May 17: Cholet Basket, SLUC Nancy, Chalon-sur-Saone, Gravelines Dunkerque, Chorale Roanne, ASVEL Basket, Hyeres-Toulon, and Le Mans Sarthe.
Germany: It’s another cliffhanging playoff tournament in the Bundesliga … Brose Baskets Bamberg and Deutsche Bank Skyliners have advanced to the semifinals, while the Artland Dragons-New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig and ALBA Berlin-EWE Baskets Oldenburg series are both knotted up at 2-2. The deciders will be played this weekend.
Greece: Surely no one would be surprised to see the traditional Greek final this year, as Olympiacos is now a record 28-0 against Greek sides this season, while surely still-high Euroleague champions Panathinaikos are coming from the other semifinal bracket; the Reds and Greens will have to get past Aris Thessaloniki and PAOK, respectively, first, however.
Holland: The DBL final will be played between the regular season’s top two seeds, the Eurochallenge’s ZZ Leiden and GasTerra Flames of 2010-11 Eurocup.
Hungary: In Hungary, a new champion will be crowned as defending champs ZTE were bounced earlier in the playoffs. Right now that titlist would appear to be Albacomp, which eliminated the 2009-10 runners-up Atomerőmű SE Paks in the semifinals and now holds a 2-0 lead over Szolnok.
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: The looooooooooooooong Ligat HaAl playoff tournament crawls onward, with eight teams still in contention. Surely nobody there wants to take on powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv after David Blatt’s boys suffered the Euroleague championship loss; they’re up 2-0 on poor Elitzur Netanya currently, with game three tonight.
Italy: Two more rounds of play remain in the Serie A regular season.
Latvia: In Latvia, that Baltic country with talent all out of proportion to its size, has a championship series featuring Eurochallengers Ventspils and Eurocup/VTB United League side VEF Riga. No. 1 seed Riga is up 1-0.
Lithuania: As expected, Žalgiris Kaunas and Lietuvos Rytas are dueling for LKL supremacy for an incredible 13th consecutive time, with the championship series at 1-1; BiE can only await some good ol’ off-court weirdness so representative of these two teams.
Luxembourg: The Diekirsch League begins its semifinal round this weekend, with matchups of Etzella vs. Sparta and Amicale against T71 Dudelange. Sheerly based on names, BiE is pulling for the Dudes and “This Is” Sparta.
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 is tied up with PGE Turow in the finals with one win apiece.
Portugal: The LPB finals begin tomorrow night with Porto Ferpinta (21-1 in the regular season) hosting Benfica.
Romania: Once again, the ever-reliable Adi Micinic of TotalBaschet.ro, provides BallinEurope’s with an update on the Romanian basketball playoffs: “In the decisive fifth game, U Mobitelco BT Cluj-Napoca beat Gaz Metan Medias, 80-70, to advance in the final for the second time in a row. Cluj won the series, 3-2.
“CSU Asesoft Ploiesti and Cluj-Napoca will meet in the championship final for the second consecutive year and for the fourth time since the 2005-06 season. Asesoft has won the title on all three previous occasions: In 2006 the score was 4-1, in 2008 it was 4-3, while last year it was a 4-0 sweep, all in favour of Asesoft. CSU Asesoft is going for its eighth Romanian championship in a row, while U Mobitelco Cluj are three times champions, the last title coming in 1996.
“Last season Cluj had home court advantage, but this season Ploiesti will have this advantage. The final is a best-of-seven series.
“Meanwhile, BC Miercurea Ciuc beat Politehnica Iasi, 102-87, in Game 5 of the relegation series. Miercurea Ciuc won the series by 3-2. Iasi are now relegated to Divizia B a season after they won promotion. CSU Cuadripol Brasov were already relegated after they lost 3-0 to SCM Universitatea Craiova.”
Russia: Two more rounds are left to play in PBL season; Unics Kazan, bounced in the VTB United League semis, has all but clinched the top seed for the playoff rounds; at 19-6, they’re 2½ games up on CSKA Moscow and Lokomotiv Kuban.
Serbia: Three more games are to be played by Serbian Superleague teams. Naturally, Partizan still tops the table at 10-1, while the Eurocup-contending 2010 runners-up KK Hemofarm are right behind the Black-and-Whites at 9-2.
Slovakia: BK Astrum Levice were named 2011 Slovakian champions are beating BK SPU Nitra three games to two. Americans Mike English and Esian Henderson starred for Levice in the decisive game five, with the former putting in 21 points and seven rebounds, while the latter added a double-double of 15 and 11.
Slovenia: The second stage of Slovenian ball ends on May 17.
Spain: This weekend will cap the seemingly interminable ACB regular season. FC Barcelona has clinched the top spot for the tournament, while only a disastrous combination of two Madrid losses plus a PE Valencia win could keep Real out of the no. 2 seed (though factoring in the current tailspin the Whites are experiencing, i.e. three consecutive losses between ACB and Euroleague play, it’s possible, BiE supposes).
Also guaranteed berths are Caja Laboral Baskonia, Gran Canaria 2014, and Bizkaia Bilbao Baskets. A bit of a dogfight will be had over the final three spots, with Fuenlabrada (19-14), Unicaja Malaga (18-15) and Valladolid (18-15) still looking to see how things shake out.
Sweden: In a battle between the last two season’s champions, Sundsvall Dragons recaptured the Basketligan title from 2010 winners Norrköping Dolphins in seven games. The Dragons dominated the league’s awards for 2010-11 as well: Jakob Sigurdarson bagged MVP, Guard of the Year and Import Player of the Year nods; Forward of the Year was Alex Wesby; and finally, the MIP trophy went to Johan Jeansson.
Switzerland: Lugano Tigers have defended home court, taking a 2-0 over Fribourg in the championship series.
Turkey: The TBL playoff tournament has just gotten underway, with matchups pitting Fenerbahçe Ülker vs. Antalya; Efes Pilsen Istanbul vs. Karsiyaka; Banvit BK vs. Olin Edirne; and Galatasaray Café Crown vs. Beşiktaş Cola Turka … hey, wait a minute: Didn’t a certain Mr. Answer say he’d be back with Beşiktaş for the playoffs…?
Ukraine: Next week will see the tipoff of the championship series between regular-season top two seeds Budivelnyk and Eurocup’s BC Donetsk.
United Kingdom: Liverpool Mersey Tigers won the BBL championship in between Sharks Sheffield, 79-74, in the championship game.