09 October, 2018
05 May, 2019
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Power Rankings: Seven nation army chasing Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem

MIES (Switzerland) - Twelve 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. Eight different nations are represented in the Top 10.


From my hands you know you'll never be more than twist in BCL's sobriety...
(Opava are still a one-hit wonder, like Tanita Tikaram and her brilliant song Twist In My Sobriety. They are getting sober in the Czech League, too, four straight defeats mean that they will not be runners-up for the second straight season. Season record: 12-23.)


Montakit Fuenlabrada are the only team of these 32 with single digit wins this season, in all competitions. Let that sink in. Season record: 9-21.


Petrol Olimpija get a plus in my book for this season, because they have given us the joy of watching Issuf Sanon, Luka Samanic, Marko Simonovic and others grow, even though it meant their results will suffer in the Basketball Champions League, Adriatic League and Slovenian League. Season record: 16-31, that's a lot of games.


Fribourg Olympic are the best offensive rebounding team of the entire competition, grabbing 36.3 percent of all available rebounds under the opponent's rim. But, at 3-9 in the group, they can no longer reach the Round of 16. They could catch Telekom Baskets Bonn if they win both of their remaining games and the Germans lose both of theirs, then a 5-9 record would send the Swiss champs to the FIBA Europe Cup. Season record: 19-1-12.


The only reason Czech champs CEZ Nymburk are moving in a green-light direction is the fact that they need a reward for their 20-0 domestic record. With 25 wins this season, they are the winningest club of these 32, but they will not see Play-Offs basketball this time around. Season record: 25-9.


Well, the first of my Bold Predictions from the Help-Side Column ten days ago was a bust, so MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg are back to being closer to 32 than to 16. Arguably the victims of their own overachieving over the first two seasons, they were nowhere near as good in 2018-19 and will not repeat their Final Four success. Season record: 12-18.


Let me tell you what happened here - medi Bayreuth were hit with the DLS Curse, in which our very own Diccon Lloyd-Smeath breaks down a certain team who are in fine form, then that team reacts by losing everything everywhere after DLS's Champions League column. Sorry, Bayreuth. He never meant to hurt you. Season record: 14-1-16.


Lietkabelis' Play-Offs hopes ended before they got any wind in their sails at all. They cannot finish in Top 4 of their group, they cannot finish ahead of Antwerp Giants because of the tiebreaker from the first Gameday. That's when we said that home court defeats are a no-no, and Lietkabelis wouldn't listen... Season record: 16-16. 


Another case of the DLS Curse - check the medi Bayreuth part again for more. But, amazingly so, the Polish champs Anwil are still just a game behind fourth place in Group A! Season record: 17-13.


Horrible time to hit a roadblock! SIG Strasbourg lost seven of their last eight games in all competitions, just like that, they could miss out on Play-Offs in both the Basketball Champions League and the French Jeep Elite League. Feels even worse because I had them as a Top 10 team here, for a long time. Season record: 16-14.


Chris O'Shea after starting his coaching career with a win away at Umana Reyer Venezia: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Telekom Baskets Bonn could still squeeze among the Top 4 of their group, here's what needs to happen: 
- They have to beat Holon and Opava; 
- Holon has to lose to Nanterre, too;
- PAOK has to lose to both Fribourg and Tenerife. 
Doesn't sound too crazy, does it? Does it!? Season record: 14-17.


Nizhny Novgorod are wasting more set-points than Fernando Verdasco and Marin Cilic combined. They are still in a good place at 5-7, but they could've taken care of this in straight sets, instead of going all the way to a deciding last set, fatigued and exhausted and everything... Season record: 19-15, they just beat UNICS Kazan in the VTB League. 


JDA Dijon can still advance to the Round of 16. They need to win both of their remaining games, Antwerp need to lose both, and Dijon have to beat Antwerp by 20. It could happen... Season record: 15-15.


Don't look now, but Ventspils might just be the most likely to reach the Play-Offs in a crowded Group A. They have won five straight and eight of their last nine games in all competitions, so confidence won't be a problem as they take on Nizhny Novgorod and Avellino over the next two weeks. They do need to avoid a tie with Anwil and Le Mans, they would be behind both of those in case of a tie. Season record: 23-8.


This is where their championship winning mentality comes to play. Le Mans need a strong finish to the Basketball Champions League Regular Season to book a ticket to the Round of 16, then they need to focus on their domestic campaign because being a 9-9 team does not cut it in France this season. Crunch time for the French champs! Season record: 14-16.


Let me tell you this. Neptunas Klaipeda would've been locked in for the Play-Offs if they were in some other group. But next to Bologna, Promitheas, Oostende, Besiktas, Strasbourg...it's just madness over there! Still looking good in the Lithuanian championship, at least they have the bragging rights when they meet Lietkabelis, they can say they were the number one LTU team in this competition. Season record: 22-1-10.


Sidigas Avellino taking hot-and-cold to a whole new level. Won seven straight, now in a four game losing skid in all competitions, but still looking like they should be in the Play-Offs both domestically and internationally. And when you have the new Basketball Champions League record holder for most points in a game in Keifer Sykes, author of 43 points last week, anything is possible in a couple of elimination games. Season record: 18-11.


UNET Holon could be out of the Play-Offs. We are talking about a team with an offensive rating of 113.3, way above league average. We are talking about a .607 team in true shooting, way above league average. We are talking about a team with over 70 percent of their field goals coming after an assist. We are talking about an elite offensive team. And they could be out. That's how loaded this field is. Season record: 20-10.


PAOK have Fribourg and Tenerife in the remaining two Gamedays. They need to go at least 1-1 in those two to have a strong chance of being a part of the Sweet Sixteen. Their dominant domestic output against AEK makes us think that PAOK will go 2-0 and comfortably advance to the next round, but hey, we've been wrong before. By "we," I mean "me." Season record: 19-10.


UCAM Murcia are the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of this season. They are 11-1 in the Basketball Champions League, but another Spanish defeat sees them in relegation zone in the Liga Endesa - hence their drop out of Top 10. Horrible domestic form is the reason behind the coaching change, Sito Alonso takes over! Season record: 17-15.


Besiktas Sompo Japan are starting to look like the BJK of Basketball Champions League's yesteryear. Still, any sort of a tie with SIG Strasbourg and Neptunas does not work for them, so they need to stay one win in front of the Frenchmen and the Lithuanians. That's why their game against Oostende this week is a huge one! Season record: 15-12. 


I love Roel Moors and Telenet Giants Antwerp. More on that in my last Column. Season record: 22-11, an inch away from officially booking Round of 16 tickets.


Magnificent Seven in Bandirma! Banvit are the hottest team of these 32, enjoying a seven-game winning streak in all competitions, making them a contender for the Play-Offs in Turkey, which was something out of their reach early in the season, when they were an 0-5 team domestically. Keep it going, guys - Season record: 14-13, can't believe they made it over .500!


Things are changing all over Europe, but Promitheas Patras remain the feel-good story. All three of our Greek teams are at 10-5 in the Greek League, and Promitheas are about to see the Basketball Champions League Play-Offs too. Yes, in THAT group. Feel good. Season record: 19-10.


Heading into their Monday night duel with Chalons-Reims, Nanterre 92 were riding the wave of five straight wins in all competitions. The best three-point shooting team gets a league leading 121.1 points per 100 possessions, so it's crazy to think that they are still in doubt for the Play-Offs. That defeat to Opava could prove costly... Season record: 20-11.


Umana Reyer Venezia should look up "home court advantage" before the Play-Offs. Of their four defeats in the Basketball Champions League, THREE came in their own backyard, including a shocker against Bonn last week. They are probably the happiest that we are playing home-and-away instead of best-of-three in the Round of 16 then... Season record: 20-9.  


It looked horrible for Brose Bamberg as they saw Antwerp build a double digit advantage in Germany last week. But they snapped out of it, Tyrese Rice had another strong case in his run towards the MVP of the Season award - just like that Bamberg are alive and kicking! They still need to adjust the defensive scheme, allowing 110 points per 100 possessions doesn't sound so good. Season record: 22-9.


Kevin Punter's three-pointer at the buzzer just kissed the front rim, and a sensational 22-point comeback in the second half did not happen against Besiktas Sompo Japan last week. However, Segafredo Virtus Bologna are still hot favorites to win Group D. Season record: 18-11.




Still have no idea how Iberostar Tenerife lost their game against Estudiantes in the Spanish League Overtime drama over the weekend. But hey, at least they confirmed they are Group B winners again - same thing happened last season. And they won Group D in 2016-17, so it's just business as usual for them. Season record: 20-8, they are so good they could end up winning the Copa del Rey.


Let's just hand the MVP of the Season award to Vince Hunter, okay? AEK are through to the Round of 16, they can use their remaining two games to get Jordan Theodore clicking with Hunter and others, so yes, be afraid, the Queen wants another mandate with the crown-like trophy. Season record: 21-8.


Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem are still at the top, but a defeat to Nahariya is a reminder that they aren't unbeatable here, either. Except the fact that they are, as long as they score more than 80 points... So good luck trying to keep a 118.9 ORtg team under 80 points! Along with AEK, the team that you want to avoid under all circumstances at the February 8 Play-Offs draw. Season record: 23-8.

*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 a Basketball Champions League writer and editor since day one of the competition, specializing in Power Rankings and his Takeaways on Gamedays. When he's not covering basketball, he's probably watching a Hajduk Split game somewhere.