17 October, 2023
05 May, 2024
Long Read
to read

Power Rankings: Season 8, Volume 1

MIES (Switzerland) - The Basketball Champions League is back with its eighth season, meaning it's also time for the Power Rankings. Disclaimer: these are not the official rankings in any shape or form, this is just a heat-check, a snapshot of which teams are in form, and which are not.

We are trying to sort these teams out by their overall performance, not just their BCL record. That means that their domestic league results are also taken into account, because you'll feel better about a team that won 10 straight games overall, than about a team that won two BCL games, but lost eight games in their domestic championship.

Quick aside for the first edition of the Power Rankings in Season 8 - since Hapoel Holon, Telekom Baskets Bonn, Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem and SL Benfica are yet to play a BCL game this season, they are not ranked this week.

#28 BK Opava

BCL record: 0-1
Domestic championship record: 6-2

The Czech champs have ended a gigantic winning run by ERA Nymburk in Czechia, but even in their second Regular Season in the BCL, it still seems like they have a mountain to climb internationally. They lost their first game by 49 points, now they have a week off to prepare for JDA Bourgogne Dijon at home in their next BCL game. Considering where Dijon are in these Power Rankings, it's going to be an even tougher task than their road game at Promitheas Patras.

#27 Peristeri bwin

BCL record: 0-1
Domestic championship record: 0-3

Let's not talk about the 0-4 start to the season. Let's not talk at all, for what it's worth. Let's all skip this week's explanations and focus on Peristeri being a Top 10 team in near future.

#26 Bursaspor Info Yatirim

BCL record: 0-1
Domestic championship record: 2-2

The final score looks uglier than it was, because Bursaspor did not deserve to lose by 20 at Rio Breogan. They were hanging around and trailed by a single-digit deficit until the last four minutes of the game, and that's where their BCL inexperience showed. Instead of finishing the game with a narrow defeat, they completely fell apart and allowed the Spaniards to defeat them by 20, which could be big in case of a potential deadheat at the end of the Regular Season.

#25 Cholet Basket

BCL record: 0-1
Domestic championship record: 5-2

Cholet would've been way higher in these Power Rankings if they were published two weeks ago. Because they started their season at 6-0 - sweeping the BCL Qualifying Rounds in progress - but went on to lose three of their next five games. Hopefully that overtime win over their fellow BCL compatriots Le Mans Sarthe Basket gets them back on the winning track.


#24 Igokea m:tel

BCL record: 0-1
Adriatic League record: 3-1

Igokea are the best team nobody talks about. So, why are they so low here? Because they lost a game they should've won, at home, too. All of a sudden, instead of observing their group from the top of the standings, they have to dig their way out of the hole against UCAM Murcia and Bertram Derthona Tortona, two legit Top 10 BCL teams this season. Big defeat to Tofas, told you so.

#23 Banco di Sardegna Sassari

BCL record: 0-1
Domestic championship record: 1-3

The fact that they should consider themselves lucky with an eight-point defeat speaks volumes on how bad they were against the Polish champs. King Szczecin led by 27 (!) last week, Sassari are off to just a 1-4 start in all competitions in 2023-24.

#22 Filou Oostende

BCL record: 0-1
BNXT League record: 3-1

The Roundabout by the Belgian champs: change most of the lineup in the summer -> start new season poorly -> click at the right time -> challenge for the best finish ever in BCL -> promote a couple of interesting new names -> win the Belgian League -> let those interesting new names leave for bigger contracts in Europe  -> change most of the lineup in the summer.

#21 VEF Riga

BCL record: 0-1
Latvian-Estonian Basketball League record: 3-2

Well, the good news was that the crowd looked impressive for the first time in a long time for VEF Riga at home. Well, the bad news was that they lost to Darussafaka Lassa quite easily, meaning they have to defeat Cholet Basket on the road this week, to avoid being down in an even bigger hole at 0-2. Still, the photos look amazing in Latvia.

#20 Galatasaray EKMAS

BCL record: 0-1
Domestic championship record: 2-2

Should we be concerned about Galatasaray EKMAS? We shouldn't be concerned about Galatasaray EKMAS. Right? Right. There's no reason. They've got a great, deep squad. They've got a great coach. They got beaten by a triple-double, third ever in BCL history. They'll figure it out. Right? Right.

#19 MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg

BCL record: 0-1
Domestic championship record: 1-2

Trust us, once MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg get going and get more than four competitive games in, they will be okay. In Desure Buie, they've got one of the best kept secrets of European basketball, he's gone to double digits in three of the four games played, getting 16.3 points, 5.0 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game in the Bundesliga. Just give them time.

#18 Falco Vulcano Szombathely

BCL record: 0-1
Domestic championship record: 3-1

Three or four seasons ago, Falco Vulcano Szombathely front office watched ERA Nymburk and thought to themselves, "we could be this kind of a team." They've done it now, they are a team capable of pushing Unicaja all the way to the wire, a team which makes not just their own fans happy, but the entire country of Hungary, because of their identity, built on a strong Hungarian core. Watch out, Szilard Benke has got a new haircut, but he's still the same old swingman menace as before.

#17 Rytas Vilnius

BCL record: 0-1
Domestic championship record: 6-0

We had our annual experts' picks ahead of the season. RJ Cole was mentioned as one of the players to watch in the BCL this season, and he's doing fine in the Lithuanian League, too, with an 11-point, 8-assist outing against Lietkabelis to send Rytas to 6-0 domestically. They were this close to pulling off the biggest comeback win in BCL history, too, coming back from -25 in Dijon, and they are so good, it's easy for us to tell you they would've been #1 had they won that game in France. Because other than that, their season is close to perfection.


#16 EWE Baskets Oldenburg

BCL record: 0-1
Domestic championship record: 3-1

It's okay, EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Losing an overtime to Strasbourg is like an initiation to BCL, because the French guys won eight straight OT games in this competition. It's okay. It's like that James Franco "First time?" meme. That being said, they've got a road game at Pinar Karsiyaka next week. Big one, either to fall to 0-2 or to steal one on the road, in arguably the toughest arena of the BCL.

#15 UCAM Murcia

BCL record: 0-1
Domestic championship record: 4-2

Best non-winning team of BCL's opening week! UCAM Murcia are looking their best since 2018, when they played the Final Four in Athens, and coach Sito Alonso is creating a new European monster at the center position. Simon Birgander has got 16.8 points and 9.5 rebounds across six games of the Liga Endesa, and he's currently the MVP of the Spanish League in terms of average efficiency, just ahead of the former BCL MVP Chima Moneke. Pay attention to Birgander and Murcia all season long.


#14 Rio Breogan

BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 1-5

They grabbed their first European win, ever, but that's about all we are willing to talk about when it comes to Rio Breogan. They are facing a new challenge in Spain this season, playing two competitions at once will test every single ounce of their depth, but it's not looking promising domestically, dropping Breogan to just a 1-5 record in the Liga Endesa. The schedule will get tougher, facing the defending champs Telekom Baskets Bonn and a perennial Play-Offs contender Hapoel Holon.

#13 Tofas Bursa

BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 2-2

Quick one for you:
14 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists
29 points, 7 rebounds
22 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists
15 points, 5 rebounds
26 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds.
At which point are we going to talk about Caleb Homesley being the best player in all of Europe right now?

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by paul (@mbb_paul)


#12 Promitheas Patras

BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 3-0

Many wondered what Promitheas Patras will look like in their first BCL season after a four year sabbatical. Many can rest. That's because Promitheas blew out BK Opava by 49, the third largest margin of win in BCL history, and they are also unbeaten in three games of the Greek League so far. When they face a tougher opponent, their winning streak will send them to Top 10, for sure. Top 5. Hey, maybe even top of the mountain called the Power Rankings!

#11 Le Mans Sarthe Basket

BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 3-5

We know MSB's next result. It's pure logic, actually. They are going to defeat Unicaja this week. Why? Because, since the start of the season, their win-loss record went like this: L - W - L - W - L - W - L - W - L. So, it's W's time now. Sorry, Unicaja.

#10 King Szczecin

BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 4-1

Points scored this season:
They refer to that 83-point game as "ice cold day." Once we get more games in, throughout the BCL, we'll have a better pattern, but something tells us we'll have the Polish champs topping the offensive rating and/or pace standings.

#9 SIG Strasbourg

BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 3-4



#8 Bertram Derthona Tortona

BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 2-2

Let's check back in early November, before their third game in the BCL. That's when we'll remind you that we wrote right here Tortona were about to go on an eight game winning streak in all competitions. They've got a couple of Tofas matchups coming up, plus a home game against Igokea, and the Italian League schedule isn't intimidating at all until they have to travel to Bologna in early December. Eight game winning streak is possible. It is. Si.

#7 Darussafaka Lassa

BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 2-2

Let's not waste ink, instead here's a link, just don't blink because Dacka will make you think twice about should you hedge or ice and you'll pay the price. Mason Jones and Kyle Allman are dropping dimes, we're dropping rhymes.


BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 1-2

Okay, that 0-2 start to the season is now long gone. AEK are clicking under coach Joan Plaza, Ben McLemore has arrived and he was up to big numbers last week, doing his part in the clutch win over MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg, following it up with a 26-point outing in just 17 minutes against Apollon Patras over the weekend. We told you they have a similar built to their 2018 or 2020 squads. They could have the same outcome, too.

#5 PAOK mateco

BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 2-1

We've witnessed the first BCL triple-double in six years, and third BCL triple-double of all time with Elvar Fridriksson allowed to run full speed and do his dancing on offense thing. It really does feel that way, like he's dancing and orchestrating the whole thing, just like music, with an elite sense of rhythm to his game. But PAOK are so much more than just their triple-double hero. This is a loaded offense, and they have to fight for bragging rights, too. They want to be the best Greek team of the BCL now.


#4 Lenovo Tenerife

BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 2-4

Started the season 0-3. People: "Yeah, they are done." Bounced back with three wins in next four games, including a Sasu Salin fueled effort against Cholet Basket. People: "Yeah, probably a Final 4 team, yep." In Power Rankings tutorials for any competition, you should have Spanish teams at the top or nearby, the track record is just too good to be ignored.

#3 JDA Bourgogne Dijon

BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 3-5

Nobody told David Holston he's 37, about to turn 38. Or better yet, just rename the arena to That's Dave's House. Dijon had a slow start to the French League with three straight defeats, but they bounced back with a lot of noise, including a 34-point game by Mr Holston, and that was a 34-point game in a win, where his teammates scored 39, combined. He almost outscored his teammates at 37. He's indestructible.

#2 Unicaja

BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 3-3

How do you bounce from three straight defeats? That's easy, with three straight wins. And those three should come against big teams such as Joventut Badalona and Baskonia in Spain, plus that troubling road game in Hungary, in that yellow fortress of an arena in Szombathely. The Spanish League is impossible to predict, but this three-game winning run could turn into an eight-game streak, because Unicaja have got Le Mans, Breogan, Obradoiro and Peristeri coming up in a four-game home stand, before they make a trip to Girona and then Madrid to meet Real. Good run + good schedule = good ranking here.

#1 Pinar Karsiyaka

BCL record: 1-0
Domestic championship record: 2-2

Don't look now, but this is a beast of a team! Coach Ufuk Sarica has kept his core from last season in Sipahi, McCollum and two Browns, and he's reinforced it with typical KSK players. Need a big Turkish body under the rim? Enter, Furkan Haltali. Need a high flying rim protector who'll convert everything around the rim into points? Enter, Vernon Carey Jr. Need a lefty creator from the perimeter, DJ Kennedy/Sek Henry style? Sure, take Darrun Hilliard. Pinar Karsiyaka won three of their last four games, including triumphant performances against Fenerbahce Beko and Turk Telekom. They want trophies this season. Well, we don't have one yet, but here, take the top of the Power Rankings instead.


*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.