Power Rankings: AEK in Top 10, changes at the top ahead of the Play-Offs
12/02/2018
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Power Rankings: AEK in Top 10, changes at the top ahead of the Play-Offs


MIES (Basketball Champions League) - Play-Offs are just around the corner, and it is time to see how the remaining 16 teams line up in our Power Rankings.

The draw is set on Wednesday, February 14, with AS Monaco, Iberostar Tenerife, SIG Strasbourg and Besiktas Sompo Japan being in Pot 1. That means they will be drawn against Pot 4 teams: UCAM Murcia, Neptunas Klaipeda, medi Bayreuth or Stelmet Enea Zielona Gora.

Pot 2 teams Pinar Karsiyaka, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, Banvit and CEZ Nymburk will face off with teams from Pot 3: EWE Baskets Oldenburg, PAOK, AEK or Nanterre 92. For the first time this season we are counting down from #16 to #1, without some of our usual suspects in there.

Among other eliminated teams, Umana Reyer Venezia and Movistar Estudiantes also had appearances in the Top 10, but failed to reach the Top 4 of the highly competitive Group C.

16

Laurynas Beliauskas had himself a game over the weekend. The 20-year-old collected 16 points in 20 minutes against Dzukija, entire Neptunas Klaipeda team shot 12-of-24 from beyond the arc in a win, and when they are shooting at such a high percentage, they could beat anybody. Three game slump is now over, some good news ahead of the Play-Offs.

15

UCAM Murcia finished just one single bucket ahead of Dinamo Sassari in Group A, and that's about it when it comes to Spaniards and good news. They have lost four straight (AS Monaco, Unicaja, Juventus Utena, Monbus Obradoiro), so Copa del Rey and Qualifiers breaks come at the perfect time. They will be off for almost a month, a lot of time to work on details and finish the season strong. 

14

Stelmet Enea Zielona Gora offered a bottle of wine to Nemanja Djurisic, and they might consider offering Polish citizenship to Tomislav Zubcic and Martin Breunig. Telekom Baskets Bonn players saved ZG on last Gameday, taking out Sidigas Avellino and pushing the Polish champs to the Round of 16. And speaking of wine, ZG felt hungover over the weekend, losing to Koszalin - first time they had back-to-back defeats since mid-December!

13

PAOK finished the Regular Season with a 5-1 record over the last six weeks, and they deserved that third seed role in Group B. Bad news for them is that Ventspils are no longer a part of this season - they love playing against the Latvians, a 4-0 record against them over the last two seasons, one of the reasons why PAOK are back in the Play-Offs again.

12

Was the game against the Rockets on Saturday the most EWE Baskets Oldenburg-ish game ever?
  • A win by 20, 88 points scored (averaged 85.1 PPG in our Group A)
  • six people with at least one triple made, five people in double digits
  • 18-of-18 from the line (averaged 17.5 FTPG in our Group A)
  • 20 assists by nine players (averaged 19.0 APG in our Group A)
Coach Mladen Drijencic surely enjoyed that one.  

11

Heartbreak defeat to AEK saw medi Bayreuth drop to 4th spot in Group C. Not a good place to be in, knowing your next opponent will be Monaco, Tenerife or Besiktas...but then again, Bayreuth can take on anyone, especially with Assem Marei catching fire, scoring 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting against WALTER Tigers on Saturday. Marei, York, Seiferth, Linhart, Doreth, Brooks, Amaize, Robinson - a lot of weapons in there, the biggest one being at the helm. Yes, coach Raoul Korner, talking about you. Good job so far, keep it going! 

10

Note to all AEK opponents: Whatever you do, don't help off of Dusan Sakota! Not an easy task, not at all. If you leave Sakota alone, he'll make the shot. And if you don't help your teammate out, then Manny Harris will have an MVP of the Week performance. And even if you stop both of them, there is now a man named Kevin Punter on that team - former Rosa Radom star is the leading scorer of the Basketball Champions League Regular Season with 20.6 PPG. Can't wait to see him in black-and-yellow!

9

Two consecutive defeats, three L's over the last four games. Are Banvit in trouble? Not quite yet, if the season ended today, they would be seeded in both the Basketball Champions League and Turkish League Play-Offs. They will defend their Turkish Cup crown this week, up against Besiktas in the Quarter-Finals, Tofas or Sakarya await the winner in the Semi-Finals.

8

Nanterre 92 have shot 22-of-46 from beyond the arc over the last two games, against Besiktas Sompo Japan and FIBA Europe Cup high-flyers ESSM Le Portel. How do you defend that? One of the toughest third-seed teams in the draw on Wednesday!

7

Nine wins in a row - that's how you win the closest group of the Basketball Champions League and get on top in French LNB Pro A! SIG Strasbourg are clicking right now, Levi Randolph showing just how effective he can be, with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting against Cholet. IN 16 MINUTES!! Don't forget that Louis Labeyrie will probably be back for the Play-Offs.

6

They have done it! Pinar Karsiyaka stopped AS Monaco's perfect run, making sure they didn't sweep the entire group. Playing effective basketball, that's their style - when it comes to player efficiency, D.J. Kennedy is leading the league, Jarrod Jones is in 4th spot and Dominic Waters isn't that far behind in 14th. Three-headed monster headed to the Play-Offs, with their crowd hitting the high notes again, nobody will want to be drawn up against them.

5

CEZ Nymburk's record over the last 29 games in all competitions? 28-1.
That's why Czech Republic currently owns the best winning percentage in European club competition! And don't think that they will run out of energy in the closing part of the season. After all, their title sponsor's name is Češke Energeticke Zavody...

4

Two straight defeats for Besiktas Sompo Japan last week, but Ufuk Sarica will not panic. His team is 23-9 this season, and out of those nine defeats, only Avellino won by double digits. The other L's for Besiktas were: -1, -5, -3, -5, -8, -4, -3, -6. Why is this important? Because the Play-Offs have home-and-away ties, every point counts, and Besiktas unbreakable mentality will be hard to crack over two games.

3

Everyone: "How on earth are they going to be competitive without Johannes Thiemann!?"
MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg: "LOL."
They are 3-0 since their star center went down, they are on a six-game winning streak (again), they have scored 109 away at Telekom Baskets Bonn, they are 12-0 against teams not named "Iberostar Tenerife" in the Basketball Champions league... We could go on and on.

2

Have hired a mining team* to dig out when was the last time AS Monaco have lost three straight games...
Defeats to Le Mans, Pinar Karsiyaka and Gravelines have slowed down their progress, but guess what: Monaco are still group winners in Basketball Champions League, and share the top of the LNB Pro A standings. And besides, better to have a slump in February than in May or June.
*Mining team back from the hole. Last time Monaco had 3 L's in a row was in LNB Pro B, December 2014, defeated by Denain-Voltaire, Souffelweyersheim and Antibes.  

1

New leaders! Sure, AS Monaco had a better record in Regular Season, but Iberostar Tenerife can no longer play against Ventspils, the only team that has defeated them this season. Defending champs rarely missed a beat in their title defense campaign, ranking #7 in PPG, #3 in FG%, #3 in 3PFG%, #1 in RPG, #1 in BPG, #2 in APG, #2 in EFFPG. When you combine all those stats together, you get a genuine Tune Squad* out there!
*Space Jam team that faced Monstars.


*The power rankings are entirely subjective and is in no way a true, accurate ranking systems. All comments are purely those of the author.