09 October, 2018
05 May, 2019
Long Read
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Power Rankings: Will the top four also be the Final Four?

MIES (Switzerland) - Seven 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.


Dale a tu cuerpo alegria, Macarena...que te cuerpo es pa' darle alegria cosa buena...dale a tu cuerpo alegria, Macarena...heeeeeey, Macarena!
(Opava are giving me a hard time every Monday, I'm running out of one-hit wonders, Los Del Rio's La Macarena is in this week. Season record: 7-11.)


Fribourg Olympic put up a fight against Venezia last week, but came up just short. I guess that's the learning curve of the first international season in a long time, that's the experience gathered in this season, to win games like those against Venezia or Bonn when they show up in the coming years. Season record: 12.5-7.5, they had a draw in the Qualifying Rounds.


Third best defensive team of the Basketball Champions League, allowing 95.8 points per 100 possessions, one of only three teams that are holding their opponents below 100 in 100 possessions. But Banvit are still struggling in Turkey, just 1-6 over there makes you forget that they are 4-3 in the Basketball Champions League. Season record: 5-9.


Petrol Olimpija still played more games than any NBA team this season. Season record: 8-16.


Congrats to CEZ Nymburk for sweeping their first ten games of the Czech League, looking to extend their dominance to 16 years. But they wasted a chance to rise in the Basketball Champions League again, falling to 2-5 after the first seven, in a troubled place, probably needing to go 5-2 after the break to have a chance of making the Play-Offs. Season record: 12-5.


JDA Dijon confuse me. They are sharing the second spot in France, but seem to be tanking in the Basketball Champions League, down at 1-6. You don't get points for tanking here. There is no number 1 pick for the next summer. Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett will go elsewhere, so don't tank. Thank me later. Season record: 8-10.


For a team that's .500 this season, Nizhny Novgorod are in a rather bad situation in both the Basketball Champions League and the VTB United League. Trouble is that five of their 10 wins came during the Qualifying Rounds here, so they should be at .750 winning percentage to climb over .500 in both major competitions. Season record: 10-10.


Remember when Montakit Fuenlabrada were a 3-0 team? Insert Pepperidge Farm meme, because Fuenla have lost four straight in the Basketball Champions League and I have no idea how to angle this one into something positive. Wait, I do. At least Fuenlabrada are moving up in the Power Rankings (even though the goal is to drop down in a descending order that we have). Season record: 7-10.


Le Mans lost to Anwil 76-64, but they bounced back by beating Monaco 76-64 in the French Jeep Elite League. They have gone 2-5 in November, so it's a good thing that the month is finally over now, right? Right. Still the worst offense of the Basketball Champions League at 93.7 points per 100 possessions, no other team is below 99.0 in that department... Season record: 9-9.


Ahh yes, it's the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of the Basketball Champions League. MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg went from being a team that dropped 10 straight games into a team that won four straight, including back-to-back wins by a combined margin of 3 points in the Basketball Champions League. Looking like the Final Four contender we are used to seeing...but is it a bit too late at 2-5? Season record: 6-10.


Finally starting to feel Filou Oostende. Belgian champs have the similar problem as CEZ Nymburk of being way too dominant in their own domestic league, and googling "how to basketball" a couple of days later in the Basketball Champions League. Still, a win in Strasbourg could be what's needed to give them some fuel. Confidence is contagious, they say. Season record: 11-6.


I wrote it in my Help-Side Column last week, and people seem to agree. Besiktas Sompo Japan are used to winning everything everywhere, so when a 3-4 team pops up one season, a lot of people start using the word "underperform." Still in a good position, Bologna are the only ones who ran away from them, so with a couple of wins after the break, Besiktas could be in the runners-up position in the group. Season record: 7-8, yep, below .500, that's hard to believe.


Telekom Baskets Bonn set a new season-high with 114 points last week, and also tied the all-time mark in the Basketball Champions League! CEZ Nymburk scored 114 against Bakken Bears in 2016-17, Neptunas scored 114 against Gaziantep in 2017-18. Congrats on the record, but the more important numbers are "3" and a "4" in the "W" and the "L" columns. Get it to 7-7, see you in Play-Offs! Season record: 9-8.


The fact that Diccon Lloyd-Smeath is in love with Anwil should tell you all about the level of "beautiful" in their game. They needed a big win, and the one against the French champs Le Mans could be a huge boost for the Polish champs, to polish their record after the break. Season record: 8-8.


*googles "what is medi of medi Bayreuth?"
*translates from German
*manufacturer of medical aid
That explains it. Bayreuth have been playing like an aided team over the last six, winning all of those, getting themselves up to a Play-Offs position as we speak. Good job, Hersteller von medizinischen Hilfsmitteln! Season record: 9.5-8.5, they had a draw in the Qualifying Rounds.


Have to move Telenet Giants Antwerp in a wrong direction every now and then so that people don't get suspicious because I love them. Don't tell anyone. Young, hungry, hanging in there in the toughest group of the Basketball Champions League... Keep going, Giants! Season record: 13-6, that's right, they had 13 wins so far!


You know what's the troubling part with UCAM Murcia? They were struck down by the Banvit Virus, when one excels in the Basketball Champions League, and struggles domestically. Murcia are just ONE WIN above the relegation places in the Spanish Liga Endesa, so they need a healthy dose of the Nymburk-Oostende Diet to stay alive. Season record: 10-8. 


Nanterre 92 are just 1-2 at home in the Basketball Champions League, and that's something that could take them out of the Play-Offs in the long run. Luckily for them, they are 2-2 away from home, but when you're .500 on the road, you are looking for a 5-2 record instead of a 3-4 they own now. Season record: 12-8.


SIG Strasbourg lost three of their last four games in all competitions, but more importantly, made me look bad for saying they are a Top 5 team, so I'm sending them back to 14th this week. Don't break my heart, man. Season record: 11-7.


Lietkabelis are the team which will be the most depressed that November is over. They wired* together five wins in seven games, losing only to AEK and Neptunas, and that's what made them a legit Play-Offs contender over here. Nobody shares the ball like they do - okay, maybe Tenerife - so tune in when they are on TV. Season record: 10-8.
*That's funny because the Lietkabelis factory produces wires.


It's not a Basketball Champions League season until Neptunas start off strong, make everybody adore them, then go on losing games and making us question their true worth. Are they a Final Four contender? Are they a Quarter-Finals team? Are they even a Play-Offs team? So many questions... Season record: 13-6, yes, they won 13 already, see, that's what I mean. So confusing.


Ventspils won away at Avellino and deserved to move 16 spots in the Power Rankings. The Latvian champs went 6-1 in November, they will feel like they could've been at 7-0 because the only defeat was at home against Nizhny Novgorod. Pay attention to Rihards Lomazs, one of the unsung heroes of the Basketball Champions League. Season record: 13-5, yes, they won 13 already.


I'm a huge fan of the advanced stats, you probably noticed that through the Power Rankings. But PAOK are here to defy the stats, being one of the turnover-prone teams of the Basketball Champions League, losing the rebounding battle most of the time - collecting just 48.0 percent of all available rebounds - and yet, they are a Top 10 team! Human Alphabet was the MVP of the Week after their upset win in San Cristobal de La Laguna. Season record: 10-6.


Sidigas Avellino scored 49 points against Venezia over the weekend, their lowest score ever at home in the Italian League, second lowest overall... They also lost Demetris Nichols for the next six to eight weeks. It's not looking good for the wolves, but they need to stick together until help arrives. Season record: 10-5, it was 10-3 last week.


Tyrese Rice dished out 16 assists over the weekend, coming within two assists of the all time record in the German easyCredit Basketball Bundesliga! Brose Bamberg got a lot of production from their point guard this season, and after a shaky start, being at 4-3 really isn't all that bad for them. Season record: 11-5.


Promitheas Patras just hit CTRL+C and CTRL+V on their season, as they own 5-2 records in both the Basketball Champions League, and the Greek League. Still topping the stealing charts, they had one stolen from them last week, with Bologna taking a huge win in Greece. But at 5-2, Promitheas are two wins clear of that line that separates the top four and the bottom four in each group. Season record: 11-5.


Two words for you: Khalif. Wyatt.
UNET Holon's point guard is making it look easy, got to love those guards who start their dribble from the left hand, giving them space to attack with a hesitation move, a crossover, a left-right step-back and more than enough room to scan the floor once defenses go into "blue" coverages of screen-roll. MVP of the season in my books. Season record: 11-5.


Many thought Umana Reyer Venezia were slumping when they had lost to Tenerife and Milano, and went to OT against Fribourg. Many were wrong - just read the Avellino part again, Venezia inflicted so much damage that the earth is probably still shaking around Avellino... Not slumping, not at all! Season record: 12-3, best winning percentage of these 32 teams.


Best offense of the league, best defense of the league...but no answer for PAOK last week! Iberostar Tenerife got their annual wake up call in the Regular Season, now they will get mad and probably finish the Group Stage at 13-1. It could happen, they outscore opponents by 25 points per 100 possessions* in Group B. Season record: 12-5.
*Nerdy way of saying they beat everyone by a lot.


Not much to say when AEK are on a six-game winning streak in all competitions. Just enjoy the way they outsmart every opponent and clear your calendar for Tuesday, December 11, at 18:45 CET - that's when AEK are in Jerusalem!!! Season record: 12-4.


Segafredo Virtus Bologna are the best newcomer to this event ever, sweeping the first half of the Regular Season, with a chance to book tickets to Play-Offs as soon as Gameday 9 comes! Their offense is getting better and better, with an 119.6 offensive rating, they will soon take the top spot from Tenerife as the best offensive team out there. Tenerife are just 0.2 points better right now... Season record: 11-4.


Is there anybody that can stop Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem? Even on a slow day, without Amar'e Stoudemire, they still find a way to win games on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by James Feldeine. And when they do miss their shots, they get the most offensive rebounds of this bunch, collecting 37.3 percent of all available rebounds under the opponent's rim. Meaning, my legs are burning just thinking about being in a defensive stance against Jerusalem for 35 seconds on almost every other trip to defense... Season record: 12-4, be afraid. Be very afraid.

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