09 October, 2018
05 May, 2019
Long Read
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Power Rankings: Nobody as hot as Avellino; Strasbourg feeling cold

MIES (Switzerland) - Ten gamedays are behind us in the Basketball Champions League, and you can find out how your favorite team is doing by clicking the Standings tab. However, it's not all about W's and L's, as we take you through the Power Rankings, with domestic championships also taken into consideration.


Once, there was this kid who...got into an accident and couldn't come to school...but when he finally came back...his hair had turned from black into bright white...he said that it was from when the cars had smashed him so hard...mmm...mmm...mmm...mmm...
(Opava are still a one-hit wonder, like Crash Test Dummies and their crashing song Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm. Season also crashing down for Opava, white hair all around... Season record: 11-19.)


Fribourg Olympic would be a legit Play-Off contender if the games lasted 30 minutes. But they don't, and that makes the Swiss champions a team struggling to keep up with the rest of the group. Season record: 17-1-11, they had a tie in the Qualifying Rounds.


Petrol Olimpija are playing a lot better than at the start of the season. But the exhausting schedule is...well, exhausting. They are the team with most defeats of the 32 in here, but if they translated their season record to the Eastern Conference of the NBA, they'd be just 3.5 games behind 8th spot. Season record: 15-26.


Let's just say out loud what a lot of you are thinking: You expected more out of Montakit Fuenlabrada. They are the only team of these 32 that is yet to reach double digits in the number of wins this season, which is hard to believe, and even harder once I tell you that they were a 3-0 team to start their Basketball Champions League campaign. They lost seven straight since... Season record: 9-17.


Missing a wide open layup to send the game to OT, and at home to make matters worse... I guess MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg's Play-Off hopes are now gone after yet another close defeat, to the hands of Le Mans. What a difference a season makes, for the Final Four team last time around. Season record: 11-15, actually looking really good domestically.


Speaking of slumping, Lietkabelis won just one of their last seven games - and that one was in the Lithuanian Cup, not improving their position in the Basketball Champions League nor the Lithuanian championship. Something is off for Lietkabelis. Season record: 14-15.


JDA Dijon are making a late push towards the Play-Offs, but at 3-7, they are two games behind Antwerp...and they still have to travel to Belgium in the remaining four games. The other three aren't any easier, visiting AEK, hosting Lietkabelis and Hapoel - do they really have the strength to win three of those? Season record: 13-13.


Get this, Le Mans are indeed ahead of Dijon here, despite the fact that Dijon are two wins ahead of them in the French League. However, Le Mans are in charge of their own destiny here, and back-to-back wins in the Basketball Champions League see them climbing up in the Standings, with games against Ventspils, Nizhny and Anwil still ahead of them. Win in those three, you're most probably in the Play-Offs. Season record: 12-14.


It's time for the usual good news-bad news post in the Power Rankings.
Good news for CEZ Nymburk? With 21 wins this season, they are the winningest team of these 32 right here.
Bad news for CEZ Nymburk? Only three of 21 came in the Basketball Champions League, that's why the perennial Czech champs are checking out the checkered flag witch chances of advancing getting as slim as a Czech ski-jumper. Season record: 21-7.


I'm not talking to you, Telekom Baskets Bonn. That's what you get for losing by the largest ever margin in the Basketball Champions League.
(I still believe you'll see Play-offs, though.)
Season record: 13-14.


They were feeling good, but now medi Bayreuth will buy some medi-cation in search of good health ahead of the last four Regular Season games. Down at 4-6, it's not looking good, but think of it this way - you can still finish at 8-6, which SHOULD be enough to see you through. Season record: 14-1-13, had a tie in the Qualifying Rounds.


Googled "weather in Strasbourg" to see if SIG Strasbourg's ice cold run created its own force field to freeze the entire city. Nope. But still, losing four straight in all competitions, including an 80-55 slap away at Dijon - that's a huge dent for their title aspirations domestically and internationally. The four game losing streak is the worst slide among these 32 teams at the moment. Season record: 15-11.


Well, Anwil haven't handled the hype of being a .500 team and a Play-Off front-runner, so they are in trouble now, a game behind Nizhny, which means they are basically two games behind because Nizhny own the tiebreaker. But Anwil are still a joy to watch, one of only five teams to average more than 20 assists per game, one of only four teams to have their assist percentage over 70 percent in the Basketball Champions League. Season record: 16-10.


Chances came, Ventspils went and spilled the beans and now everybody knows their secrets on the offensive and the defensive end of the floor. Dominant in the newly set up Latvian-Estonian League, climbing to a wild 16-1 record, but they too caught the Nymburk virus and aren't able to hit Ctrl+C on their domestic form and Ctrl+V to international basketball. Season record: 19-8.


Somebody was whistled for a foul while I was writing about Nizhny Novgorod. They average 26.9 fouls per game, league leading by some margin, too. Probably has to do with the fact that they played 25 minutes more than anybody else in the League, with all the overtiming and stuff... Season record: 17-13.


Neptunas Klaipeda are suffering from a Jeff Taylor Curse. Usually, when our favorite LiveBasketball.tv voice picks somebody to go deep and far, or somebody to be the MVP of the Season, their season goes south in a hurry. Jeff went with Jerai Grant in our MVP discussion, and just as he had jinxed Gasper Vidmar and Banvit last season, the JT Curse is hitting Klaipeda nowadays... Season record: 18-1-10, they had a tie in the Lithuanian Cup.


You know the term one-and-done when it comes to players. But Besiktas Sompo Japan are teaching you a thing or two about being a one-and-done offensive team, grabbing the league-worst 17.0 percent of all available offensive rebounds, meaning they usually shoot just once, and they are done. Oh, but the worst rebounding team of the League is up to .500, ready to battle Strasbourg and Oostende for Play-Off spots in Group D. Season record: 13-11.


Let's just not talk about last week, okay Telenet Giants Antwerp? The -20 in Jerusalem feel like a close game compared to -38 against Oostende (at home!) in the Belgian League. Season record: 18-10.


Seems like the early struggles are behind Banvit, with an active four game winning streak in which they took down the mighty Fenerbahce and rose to 6-4 in the Basketball Champions League. Defense has been sublime, only Tenerife and Murcia own a better defensive rating than Banvit, who alllow 96.9 points per 100 possessions. That's just fancy talk for "they stop teams." Season record: 11-13.


UNET Holon lost the tiebreaker to PAOK and are most likely to finish fourth in Group B, which would mean they would take on UCAM Murcia or AEK or Bologna in the Round of 16. Last Gameday looks to be huge, with red-hot Nanterre coming to Israel in early February... Season record: 18-9.


All hail the best offensive team of the Basketball Champions League! Nanterre 92's offensive rating jumped all the way up to 120.6 points per 100 possessions, meaning they now own the most efficient offensive game of the League. Home court advantage is a big deal for them, they blew out Opava by 46 and Bonn by 47, with a domestic win over ASVEL in for good measure. Season record: 17-11.


FINALLY! Filou Oostende are looking like the Belgian champs we fell in love with, connecting four for the first time in the Basketball Champions League, charging to a 5-5 record and being ready to push Strasbourg and Besiktas all the way in the fight for the Play-Offs. They are shooting 48.4 percent from the field, trailing only Bologna and Tenerife in that department, being effective despite their 15+ turnovers each week. Season record: 18-8.


The fact that PAOK shot 14-of-21 from beyond the arc against Holon last week shouldn't be considered a surprise. PAOK are up to a league-leading 46.0 percent from beyond the arc, done on 110 makes, which is second only to Nanterre's 123 makes from the great beyond. I'm telling you, they are shooting lights out, stay tuned. Season record: 16-9.


I've had an exclusive look in coach Makis Giatras' notebook*, says "DEFENSIVE REBOUNDING, ALL DAY, EVERY DAY" - Promitheas Patras grab only 67.1 percent of all available defensive rebounds. Only one-hit wonder Opava are worse than them in that stat column. Now imagine what would their 7-3 record look like if they bring that number up to 75-ish or higher... Season record: 16-9.
*Nope, I didn't.


This is wild. Umana Reyer Venezia lost only eight games all season long...and only ONE of those eight was by double digits! With Play-Offs being played in a home-and-away format, Venezia's capability of staying close could prove decisive, spring of 2017 could be back again. Season record: 17-8.


UCAM, you saw, you conquered. Murcia are flying high at 9-1, they are through to the Play-Offs with four games in hand, so they can take their foot off of the gas pedal a bit, and try to get back into Play-Off contention in the Spanish Liga Endesa. It's a balancing act for them. Season record: 15-13.


Brose Bamberg played four of their last five games at home. The fact that they went 2-3 in that stretch was too much for the front office, Ainars Bagatskis' run at the helm is now officially over, and Bamberg are in a tricky situation with a coaching change in mid-January. A win this week would seal their place in the Round of 16, just what the doctor prescribed to get back some much needed confidence. Season record: 19-8.


Petrol Olimpija tested Segafredo Virtus Bologna, it went down to the wire, but Virtus are the best when they seem to be pushed to the ropes, and they never lose control of the game. Just an 11.0 percent of their possessions end with turnovers, by far the best percentage in the League, more than enough to keep them in the Top Five. Season record: 16-9.


Hottest team in all of Europe right now? Could be! Sidigas Avellino won seven straight games in all competitions, they've had back-to-back games with 20+ assists in the Basketball Champions League, which had happened only twice over the previous eight games, and it seems that sharing the ball is their way of overcoming the departure of Norris Cole. It's working, really. Season record: 18-7!


The Queen's loyal servants shouldn't be worried about the red arrow in here. AEK were nowhere near of upsetting Panathinaikos or Olympiacos domestically, but they will have their chances later on in the season, especially with Jordan Theodore running the point. Former MVP of the season had 11 points in 21 minutes of work to start the AEK part of his career with a win over Kolossos. Season record: 18-7.


Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem are getting points at will, with an 87.5 points per game, leading the League, and that's a scary thought right there. They are rising again, 6-1 over the last seven games in all competitions, perfect timing to be at their 100 percent, warming up just in time for the Play-Offs. Expect them deeeep into postseason, too. Season record: 20-7.


So, what's better than Jerusalem's 6-1 over the last seven? How about Iberostar Tenerife's 7-1 over the last eight!? And look at some huge names in that run, which started with an overtime win in Bonn: Baskonia, Nanterre, Manresa, Unicaja (away from home, too), Fribourg, Murcia. Said it before, will repeat once again: Tenerife are looking like an improved version of the 2017 Tenerife team. And you know what happened two years ago...

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