08 October, 2019
03 May, 2020
Basketball Champions League Power Rankings: Volume 5
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Basketball Champions League Power Rankings: Volume 5

MIES (Switzerland) - Basketball Champions League is back, which also means that our Power Rankings are here to stay, too. The format remains the same as last season, domestic results are taken into account, because you can't view this as an isolated competition, but as part of what a basketball team is going through all season long, in all competitions, all the time.


Only team without a win in the Basketball Champions League. Mornar Bar are powerless, which is not a good thing when you open up something called Power Rankings.


Good news for Polski Cukier Torun? They ended their streak in which they allowed their opponents to score 100+ points against them.
Bad news? They allowed 98. Lietkabelis handed them their third straight defeat in this competitions. Winning teams score 111.0 points per game during that slide...


PAOK finally won a game! Which was only their second win over the last 11 games in all competitions, so they are staying in the 30s in Power Rankings, sorry.


How unlucky are Gaziantep this season? Because they won back-to-back games to start November, only to drop a game to Anadolu Efes (by five) and to Tenerife (by you know what happened)...which only got them back to their horrible ways, as they suffered a 99-72 defeat to Bandirma over the weekend. Could've been at 4-1 or even 5-0 in November. Now they are at 2-3, with a game against Nizhny Novgorod coming up this week.


Four straight defeats for VEF Riga in BCL. Three of those four were at home, which makes it even more painful.


Last season nobody expected a thing from Telenet Giants Antwerp, which was perfect for their underdog mentality, which was perfect for their Cinderella story season, which was perfect for the world of basketball, really. This season, the pressure of expectations is mounting. Antwerp are no longer an unknown entity here. But at 1-4 they really need to wake up as soon as possible, to show that last season was not by accident.


The fact that Lietkabelis won back-to-back games in the Basketball Champions League and the Lithuanian championship doesn't sound so impressive, right? Wrong. Because it was only the second time this season they've done it. Chance to go season-best three straight now!


San Pablo Burgos finally won a game, ending what was a six game losing streak in all competitions, which means two things, (1) they are back to winning ways, and (2) they had lost six games in a row, which puts them in the mid 20s here instead of Top 10 where they were once or twice.


Let's not talk about that 8-point fourth quarter away at Besiktas, okay? Okay. Falco Szombathely are on the road again this week, with a chance to steal one in Italy.


Of course a team named Happy Casa Brindisi cannot win away from their casa. They are 2-0 at home, 0-3 on the road.


Could this be the start of something special? Because Besiktas Sompo Sigorta have been among the top defensive teams of the League with a third-best Defensive Rating at 96.7, and the last two games have seen them win 74-49 and 80-59 in the BCL and the BSL, respectively. And defense is a good foundation for something bigger than being ranked 22nd in some writer's opinion here.


Just read the Brindisi part again and use the name Filou Oostende instead.


One of the most beautiful sets you'll see this season - Tony Wroten setting the screen, getting the screen, flying high and dunking down the alley-oop. Another wonderful nugget by coach Igor Milicic and Anwil Wloclawek. Another team suffering from the Brindisi flu, winning at home, losing away from home.


Good to see SIG Strasbourg bouncing back from their horrible start to the French League season. They are now 4-5 there, back in Play-Offs contention, which seemed unlikely just three weeks ago. Now they need to carry over the good form to the BCL, too - a game at home against Lietkabelis sounds like a perfect opportunity to get to .500.


When you Google "how tough is it to play two competitions at the same time," photos of Telekom Baskets Bonn show up. They usually were elite in German League and struggling in the Basketball Champions League, but the situation flipsided the other way this season, as they are looking mighty in here and find themselves down at 1-5 in Germany. Unglaublich.


Actually, when you Google that thing above, BAXI Manresa might show up, too. Up to 3-2 in BCL, down at 2-7 in Liga Endesa. In relegation zone. Not a good place.


It's hard to pin point who the main threat on this Neptunas Klaipeda squad is. Because they are a team, they play like a team and nobody passes the ball as well as they do - that's not a random opinion, it's facts. Neptunas' assists percentage stands at league best 74.6 percent, which is a fancy way of saying they are more like 2014 San Antonio Spurs than 2019 Houston Rockets.


The only thing more contagious than confidence is lack of confidence. Nizhny Novgorod are the best proof of that. Because it takes serious confidence to win four in a row against Tsmoki-Minsk, Brose Bamberg, Mornar Bar and Peristeri winmasters - with two of those being in Germany and Greece - and it takes even more serious lack of confidence to lose three straight after that - two of them being at home. Trip to Gaziantep is a good chance to build confidence again.


It's weird, because EB Pau-Lacq-Orthez won away at Burgos and then went on to hand Hapoel Jerusalem their first defeat. But in between, they lost both of their French League games. In fact, Pau haven't won two straight games since May, when they defeated Nanterre and Limoges. So, they'll be a Top 10 team as soon as they connect two in the same week. Until then, enjoy your season-high 14th spot!


Okay, that red run of consecutive defeats to Tenerife, Promitheas and Nizhny Novgorod is all over. Now, we can talk about Peristeri being winmasters again because they won masterfully, three straight, continuing their impressive 6-1 start in the Greek League. Need to go to 4-2 here to climb into the Top 10.


I'm in love with Teksut Bandirma and not afraid to admit it. They are fifth in blocks percentage, with a 9.9 in that department, meaning they block a lot of actual attempts their opponents take, but the only stat you need to know about them is that they are 6-1 over their last seven games in the Basketball Champions League and the Turkish Championship. That's not an easy thing to do.


Rasta Vechta were down 27 against Braunschweig. And they won the game!!! Just watch this clip and thank me later.


Not ignoring the other team from Israel anymore! UNET Holon are on a four game winning run that saw them score 86, 92, 90 and 103. And they are up against Sassari this week, so expect the game to end something like 150-149. Without overtime.


Get this. Carlos Alocen is yet to score in double digits in the Basketball Champions League. And yet, it feels like Casademont Zaragoza's point guard could pile up a triple-double really soon! Because he already had a pair of games with 5+ rebounds and 5+ assists, and he is averaging only 25.0 minutes per game. So tune in. Because the 18-year-old is putting on a show every single minute he's out there.


Brose Bamberg's six-game winning streak ended this weekend, with a wild and a bizarre defeat to the hands of Ulm in Bundesliga. Bizarre, because Ulm were up 3 with time running out and decided to take a tough up and under layup which was completely unnecessary, because a) they were up 3, b) they were up 3 with possession, c) time was running out, and d) all of the above. Anyway. Bamberg got the ball back and attempted a halfcourt shot which grazed the net, meaning the streak is over. German League is fun, people. I tell you.


One good thing about losing the old 4-to-15 jersey numbers is that nowadays you can test your players with stuff like "oh number 33, huh? I dare you to score 33 in a game now!" Kyle Wiltjer did just that last week, claiming the MVP of the Week award for Turk Telekom.
(T.J. Campbell wears number 44. Just saying.)


When is it a good time to talk about JDA Dijon being outrebounded by a lot in their last two BCL games? Okay, 24-35 with just 2 offensive boards against PAOK did not take its toll because David Holston went mad to win the game, but 37-59 against Zaragoza left a mark. Outrebounded by 22 is probably the reason why Dijon rank dead last in rebounding percentage in the Basketball Champions League.


Nothing's changed since last week. ERA Nymburk are still the best defensive team of the Basketball Champions League, allowing 93.9 points per 100 possessions - that's the basketball equivalent of Czech Republic's 2005 Ice Hockey World Championship winning team, which allowed 9 goals in 9 games. Have no idea how this comparison came to life, so don't ask for explanations, thanks.


You know how you can tell that a team is coached by a former point guard? Just check the turnover numbers. That's where you'll find that Gianmarco Pozzecco's Dinamo Sassari have the second safest hands in the entire competition, with just 51 turnovers in five games.
(Bamberg with the safest hands so far, 48 turnovers.)
(Bamberg are coached by Roel Moors. You guessed it. A former point guard himself.)


Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem dropped a couple of places here, but that's more because the other two teams really played superb, and not because Hapoel are in a slump. In fact, we've got another 150-149 game about to happen, because #1 ranked offense will meet #2 ranked offense this week, when Hapoel play host to San Pablo Burgos.


One of the most famous dogmas of basketball is that defense wins championships. AEK took that one to another level during their six game winning streak since October 30, because their opponents only managed to score 51, 61, 50, 61, 66 and 68 points in those six. And you don't need me to tell you about their offensive firepower with some guys named Keith Langford and Howard Sant-Roos on board, do you? Okay. 


Iberostar Tenerife are the only unbeaten team of the Basketball Champions League. Nothing to add here. Oh, okay, maybe just the highlights to the unreal comeback against Gaziantep. Here you go.

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

Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic is Basketball Champions League's writer and editor since day one of the competition, specializing in Live Blog coverage of the games and sorting out the teams on Mondays, in the Power Rankings. When he's not watching basketball, he's commentating Croatian Second Division soccer games for TV.