05 October, 2021
15 May, 2022
04/01/2022
Igor Curkovic's Champions League Help-Side
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Mid term report cards: Who are teacher's pets and drama kings in season six?

ZAGREB (Croatia) - The Regular Season is done and dusted, apart from one game. We already know enough to hand out the mid term report cards to all the students in the 6th grade of the Basketball Champions League classroom.

Since we already had an elimination process, it's easy to see who failed the test so far, and will have to refocus for another charge next year. The eight teams that finished bottom of their groups - Banco di Sardegna Sassari, Arged BM Stal Ostrow Wielkopolski, Nizhny Novgorod, AEK, Kalev/Cramo, ERA Nymburk, Happy Casa Brindisi and EWE Baskets Oldenburg - all got F's, for quite literally failing in their quest this season.

Let's move on to the 16 teams that are still in the competition.

MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg

Regular Season record: 4-2
Grade: A-

This should've been a clear A, and could've been an A+ with the way coach John Patrick's men handled business in Group A, but just like in the Four Hills Tournament, every detail counts. Points deduction comes for falling just a bit backwards upon landing, but that's what usually happens when ski jumpers fly longer than people expect them.

Lenovo Tenerife

Regular Season record: 4-2
Grade: B-

Think about it. Okay, they lost two games to Ludwigsburg, but they were awfully close to losing both games to Prometey, too. It's just that they aren't as dominant as we are used to seeing Tenerife over the course of previous Regular Seasons. It probably would've been different if Giorgi Shermadini didn't pick up an early injury.

Prometey

Regular Season record: 3-3
Grade: B+

See, you don't have to win the group of finish second to get a good grade. Champions of Ukraine are in their first season in the BCL, and they managed to pick up not one, not two, but three wins in six games against Ludwigsburg, Tenerife and Sassari. Just imagine, if one of those two close games v Tenerife went their way, they would've been at 4-2. If both went their way, 5-1. That's how good they are.

BAXI Manresa

Regular Season record: 5-0
Grade: A+

Really? You need an explanation on why the only unbeaten team of the entire BCL gets an A+? Scroll on...

Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem

Regular Season record: 2-3
Grade: B-

With the way their off season went and the way they started the new season, they were looking like a lock for an F here. But right moves have been made, Yotam Halperin took over as the coach, and smashed December with a perfect 5-0 record in all competitions. The fact that he's good as a playcaller comes to no surprise to all of us who watched him as a player.

Pinar Karsiyaka

Regular Season record: 3-3
Grade: C

Probably harsh. But then again, if you're coming into the season as the Finalist, and then you add the League's MVP to your roster, people expect more and more and more, instead of just barely making it out alive and out of the group. Karsiyaka are that student who is smart enough to be the best in the classroom, but is just not showing it when tests arrive.

Unicaja

Regular Season record: 4-2
Grade: A-

A lot of clubs had their share of problems when they first joined the Basketball Champions League, but Unicaja came in prepared. They dominated the group, they won first place, they moved straight to the Round of 16... So how are they getting only an A-? Well, it's because of those two defeats to Dijon and Lavrio. Especially to Lavrio.

JDA Dijon

Regular Season record: 3-3
Grade: B

Three road games, they looked like a C- team. Three home games, they looked like an A+ team. Let's meet halfway. It's a B. And just another reminder how important home court advantage could be for JDA Dijon as they face VEF Riga in the Play-In series. Dijon are 9-1 at home in all competitions this season.

Lavrio Megabolt

Regular Season record: 3-3
Grade: B+

Another successful newcomer to the BCL, Lavrio managed to knock out last season's Quarter-Finalist Nizhny Novgorod and showed Tyson Carter's talent to the rest of Europe, resulting in his transfer to Zenit St Petersburg. The Greek squad defeated Unicaja and Dijon, making this a memorable experience already.

Falco Szombathely

Regular Season record: 5-1
Grade: A+

Teacher's pet! Champions of Hungary have taken over ERA Nymburk's role as the lovable team that transitioned from a national powerhouse into an international threat. They are almost entirely made of Hungarian players, they are the team with the highest percentage of home grown players, and their traveling fans make them even more fun to follow. Just another great yellow-and-black team in BCL...

Nutribullet Treviso

Regular Season record: 4-2
Grade: B-

They could've been an A+ team, but in reality, they wasted more match points than Marin Cilic on a random cloudy Tuesday. Really good job for a newcomer, but "good" doesn't feel so good when "excellent" was just a layup away.

VEF Riga

Regular Season record: 2-4
Grade: A-

Wait, what!? A-!? Yep. That's right. These guys are must-watch TV with their high flying dunkers, clutch three-point shooters, elite playcalling coaching staff. They were just unlucky to finish at 2-4, because they lost their four games by single digits. Oh, and that buzzer beating win over Treviso was also fun.

Galatasaray Nef

Regular Season record: 5-1
Grade: A

Did you watch the Humans of BCL documentary? No!? Okay, click here now, thank me later. Some numbers for you: DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell leads the BCL in scoring, Dee Bost leads the BCL in 3PTS made, Galatasaray Nef lead the BCL in points per game, Galatasaray Nef lead the BCL in least turnovers per game. Perfection.

Igokea m:tel

Regular Season record: 3-3
Grade: B

The most physical team of the entire League, Igokea m:tel have once again made it out of their group. The sweep over PAOK mateco was impressive, especially when you consider Igokea were 1-7 in road games in BCL history before arriving in Thessaloniki. But a rock solid performance saw them gain home court advantage against Filou Oostende in the Play-In series.

PAOK mateco

Regular Season record: 2-4
Grade: C

It would've been at least a B if they took Igokea's aforementioned road record to 1-8. A swing and a miss, and now they have to beat SIG Strasbourg on the road at least once to make it to the Round of 16. Whoops.

Tofas Bursa

Regular Season record: 4-2
Grade: A-

In a bizarre twist of fate, Kalev/Cramo swept Tofas Bursa in this group...and somehow, Tofas finished top of the standings, while Kalev/Cramo are already out of the competition. Good, solid season, we'll learn more about those two defeats once the Round of 16 starts later this month.

SIG Strasbourg

Regular Season record: 3-3
Grade: B

Lassi Tuovi coached Chewbacca. That's why this is a B. Otherwise, it would've been a C. (Of course not, Strasbourg are solid. Like always.

Filou Oostende

Regular Season record: 3-3
Grade: A-

This is a much more dangerous team than the 3-3 record says. Dario Gjergja has the most talented team since he took over ten years ago, at least when it comes to offense, because Filou Oostende are the second best offensive team in the entire BCL, trailing only Galatasaray in points per 100 possessions. Plus, Gaelle Bouzin became the first female coach to win a game in BCL. Feel good stories all over the place in Belgium.

U-BT Cluj Napoca

Regular Season record: 5-1
Grade: A+

Drama kings! Romanian champs finally reached the Regular Season this time around, and they weren't happy with just participating here. They wanted more. Drama after drama, big shot after big shot, they stole first place in the group literally, by stealing the ball to win the game against Darussafaka, and win the group as well. Bonuses were Andrija Stipanovic and Brandon Brown in the Team of the Month(s), and Brandon Brown winning the MVP of December award.

Hapoel U-NET Holon

Regular Season record: 4-2
Grade: A

They've got Play-In series against Besiktas Icrypex now, but the way they looked in the Regular Season, it feels like winning international games became a habit for Holon over the past two years or so. They were in the Quarter-Finals last season, don't be surprised to see them there again.

Darussafaka

Regular Season record: 2-4
Grade: C

This grade is more like "what's coming up next" than "what happened so far." Because Darussafaka's not-so-convincing group stage outing got them in a lot of trouble now - they are playing the Play-In series against Hereda San Pablo Burgos, meaning they will have to win at least one game in Spain, in the defending champions' backyard. It could happen. But...

Rytas Vilnius

Regular Season record: 4-2
Grade: A

They won 11 straight games in all competitions. They are 16-1 over their last 17 games in all competitions. Their sole defeat in that period was the double overtime thriller against Besiktas in Istanbul. They aren't getting an A+ just because they also dropped a game to EWE Baskets Oldenburg, which turned out to be the only win for the German side in BCL.

Hereda San Pablo Burgos

Regular Season record: 4-2
Grade: C+

The two time champions aren't looking so convincing anymore. They are struggling so much in the Spanish League, and they missed a match point on their own serve, losing the last game at home to Rytas to fall to second place. Play-In series await, January looks like a horrible month for them with this schedule: Darussafaka, Tenerife, Darussafaka, Murcia, Joventut, Manresa... Keep in mind Round of 16 games could also be added in there.

Besiktas Icrypex

Regular Season record: 3-3
Grade: C

Figuring Besiktas out is one of the toughest things in the entire BCL, since day one. Back in 2016-17, they were probably the most impressive team of the competition, only to lose to Pinar Karsiyaka in the Round of 16. A year later, they won their group again, and lost in the Round of 16 again, to medi Bayreuth. It goes the other way around, too. In 2019-20, they were 3-6 at one point, then won four straight games to somehow advance to the next round. That's why they are at C. Because that's where teams capable of both A's and F's belong.

The Basketball Champions League's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA or the Basketball Champions League.

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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.