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Power Rankings: Season 8, Volume 4

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 based on 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.

You can revisit Volume 1 by clicking this link. Then, you can find Volume 2 here. Or, if you don't like old news, just visit the latest edition, Volume 3 right here

#32 BK Opava (=)

BCL record: 0-4
Domestic championship record: 11-3

 

#31 Igokea m:tel (-2)

BCL record: 0-4
Adriatic League record: 8-2

 

#30 King Szczecin (-5)

BCL record: 1-3
Domestic championship record: 7-4

It's make or break time for the Polish champs. They've got MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg coming to town this week, and they could use a five-point win because it would mean they get the tiebreaker over the German team, too. The domestic championship record is looking solid, but they aren't Oostende exactly.

#29 Filou Oostende (-12)

BCL record: 1-3
BNXT League record: 9-2

Oh boy. It all looked so promising just a couple of weeks ago, after their home win over EWE Baskets Oldenburg, but since then they lost the reverse fixture by 17, meaning they would finish behind the Germans in case of a two-way tie at the end of the Regular Season. That domestic championship record is looking really nice, but they aren't Szombathely exactly.

#28 Falco Vulcano Szombathely (-10)

BCL record: 1-3
Domestic championship record: 10-1

Oh lord. The Hungarian champs fell to Peristeri once again, meaning they were swept, meaning they have to hope for the best when they travel to Malaga this week, or they need a helping hand from Peristeri against Le Mans Sarthe Basket to have it all in their hands on the last week of Regular Season action, when they play host to the French side. That domestic championship record is a thing of beauty, that's why they aren't in the 30s here.

#27 VEF Riga (+3)

BCL record: 1-3
Latvian-Estonian Basketball League record: 9-4

Sure, the schedule is looking chaotic for VEF Riga because they are yet to face Lenovo Tenerife and Darussafaka Lassa. They know they have to beat the Istanbul club in Turkiye to have a chance of advancing. The way they looked against Cholet Basket, one would think that's not that big of a stretch. But at the same time, that LEBL defeat to Kalev/Cramo looked so ugly it's kinda understandable if you feel like VEF won't play BCL after the new year's break.

#26 Tofas Bursa (=)

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

The only reason they aren't moving despite losing three straight BCL games is the fact that they still have a team in their rear-view mirror. But if they lose their next game to the 0-4 Igokea, there could be a lot of trouble in Bursa. Igokea just need a three-point win there to get the tiebreaker, too. Chaos next week? Chaos next week, yep.

#25 SL Benfica (-4)

BCL record: 1-3
Domestic championship record: 6-3

One good thing about Benfica's 1-3 record? They have a game against Galatasaray in Lisbon next week, and with both teams tied at 1-3, while PAOK and Jerusalem ran away at 3-1, the tiebreaker margin (Galatasaray +20) could prove to be irrelevant if the front two keep winning and a 2-4 record ends up being enough to advance to the Play-Ins. Glass half full, right? Right!

#24 Galatasaray EKMAS (-4)

BCL record: 1-3
Domestic championship record: 4-6

One concerning thing about Galatasaray's 1-3 record? They have a game against Benfica in Lisbon next week, and with both teams tied at 1-3, while PAOK and Jerusalem ran away at 3-1, the tiebreaker margin (Galatasaray +20) could prove to be irrelevant if the front two keep winning and a 2-4 record ends up being enough to advance to the Play-In Series. Glass half empty, right? Right...

#23 Bursaspor Info Yatirim (+8)

BCL record: 1-3
Domestic championship record: 6-4

Step aside, kids. David Mutaf is a grownup now. The 21-year-old lefty shooter found his rhythm, is currently averaging 10.8 points per game while shooting 8-of-16 from beyond the three-point line, and no wonder Bursaspor are looking like a much tougher team now than at the start of the season. Mutaf is a hot contender in the Best Young Player award category, for sure.


#22 Banco di Sardegna Sassari (+1)

BCL record: 1-3
Domestic championship record: 4-6

You may look at their season record and think, "wow, 5-9, surely that's not good enough for #22 here." We look at their recent record and think, "wow, 4-2 in last six games after a 1-7 start, that's good enough for #22 here." Especially because one of those four was against EA7 Emporio Armani Milano in the Italian League.

#21 EWE Baskets Oldenburg (+7)

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

Big win over Filou Oostende to grab the tiebreaker between two 1-3 teams! That snapped an eight-game losing streak in the BCL and blew the doors wide open towards the next round. Oldenburg can now go hunting for more, because they still have to face both Karsiyaka and Strasbourg, with a possibility of catching one of them and getting home court advantage in the Play-Ins, too. Or -- get this -- Oldenburg could even finish top of the group if they win both games, while Karsiyaka and SIG lose both of theirs, and create a unique four-way tie at 3-3 in this group. It could happen. It totally could happen.

#20 Rio Breogan (+7)

BCL record: 2-2
Domestic championship record: 3-9

That 2-2 record would've looked way better with a 4-8 or a 5-7 Liga Endesa mark. This way, the focus shifts from being a BCL contender to escaping the red zone in the Spanish league. A big game is coming up in the BCL as Rio Breogan have to travel to Bursa, where the hosts are looking to get to a 2-3 tie with the Spaniards. Keep thinking about the points difference, too. Bursaspor need to chase a 21-point win against Rio Breogan here to get the tiebreaker.

#19 Darussafaka Lassa (-6)

BCL record: 2-2
Domestic championship record: 6-4

Change  is a good thing, they say. That may be true, but  what about roster changes in the midst of a three-game losing streak in all competitions?  Dacka have already parted ways with Janis Timma and Mason Jones and when they take to the court on Tuesday they will look very different to what they looked like at the start of the season.

#18 Peristeri bwin (+1)

BCL record: 2-2
Domestic championship record: 5-4

Okay, here's the thing. We still don't know how good this team really is. Because those two wins were against Falco Vulcano Szombathely, so yeah, they should be enough to advance. But at the same time, doesn't it feel like these guys could potentially catch Unicaja? Two games at home remaining, if they beat Le Mans Sarthe Basket this week, they get to battle for first place with Unicaja in Greece on December 19! (Then again, they did lose to Le Mans by 28, so don't hold your breath...)

#17 Promitheas Patras (-2)

BCL record: 2-2
Domestic championship record: 7-2

Back-to-back BCL defeats and now they are in trouble. They need to beat JDA Bourgogne Dijon at home next week, otherwise home court advantage for the Play-Ins or a direct ticket to the Round of 16 could be out of reach. Promitheas are probably wishing the game is this week, to feed off of that 59-point first half against AEK in the Greek League...

#16 Cholet Basket (-2)

BCL record: 2-2
Domestic championship record: 6-8

It's no oversight to put them in the 16th spot here. Because with two games at home left to play, Cholet could and should be either first of second in their group, which also means they could and should reach the Round of 16, directly or with home court advantage in the Play-Ins. But that's about it. Because a 1-7 record in November did not scare anybody one bit. They were this close to completing a no-win November...

#15 Telekom Baskets Bonn (-4)

BCL record: 2-2
Domestic championship record: 7-3

The defending champs are getting better. A four-game winning streak got them to third spot in the German Bundesliga, and they are 5-1 in their last six games. The problem is that the one defeat happened in the BCL, putting them in danger of finishing fourth in the group. But this is the part where we say the domestic championship records matter, that four-game winning run could be easily translated into a win or two in the BCL, too.

 

#14 Le Mans Sarthe Basket (+8)

BCL record: 2-2
Domestic championship record: 6-8

I don't know, dude. You tell me where to put a team that's capable of beating Peristeri by 28, and losing to Falco Vulcano Szombathely by 18, at home in France, and beating Unicaja, as the only team to do so in all competitions for the last two months. You tell me. Are they a top-ten team? Are they a bottom ten team? Are they one defeat to Szombathely away from ending the season in December? Are they a couple of wins away from winning the group? You tell me. I don't know, dude.

#13 MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (+11)

BCL record: 2-2
Domestic championship record: 7-3

Four wins in a row in all competitions, 6-2 in November after being 3-3 in October, those are undeniable sings of improvement. Jayvon Graves is still hot, he's the leading scorer in the BCL with 20.3 points per game, and he's trailing only Vernon Carey Jr in efficiency by just 0.7 of a point. In other words, Graves is probably the biggest MVP candidate if Ludwigsburg keep this up and reach the latter stages of the BCL once again.

#12 Rytas Vilnius (+4)

BCL record: 2-2
Domestic championship record: 10-2

Make that 5-1 in their last six games. Including back-to-back BCL wins. Good times in Vilnius, and yes, they are absolutely the best 2-2 team of this bunch, thanks to the all-year-long fine form in the Lithuanian league that keeps reminding them to stay positive. Also, their social media team deserves a raise.

 

#11 SIG Strasbourg (-6)

BCL record: 3-1
Domestic championship record: 7-7

Why would you go for that layup with five seconds to play against Pinar Karsiyaka? Why?? WHY??? WHY!?!?

#10 Lenovo Tenerife (+2)

BCL record: 3-1
Domestic championship record: 6-6

It seems that there's a milestone alert every week with Lenovo Tenerife. Marcelinho Huertas keeps breaking all sorts of records in assists, Giorgi Shermadini is closing in on the all-time lead in scoring, and now the focus shifts to the third part of the big three. Sasu Salin needs just one more three-pointer to become the first BCL player with 200 three-pointers made. He already holds the record for most threes in the BCL, most threes by a Tenerife player in the Spanish League, and most oh-my-lord-is-he-going-to-make-this-one-too-YES-HE-IS-HE'S-SASU-SALIN hot runs in the history of basketball*. Sasu is amazing.

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*might be an exaggeration.

#9 Hapoel Holon (-3)

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

Sure, Calvin Harris is that musician, but Holon have got a Calvin Harris making music, too. CJ Harris, full name Calvin Dorsey Harris Jr is low-key playing the best basketball of his career, coming up big with a 25-point, 6-assist performance against Bursaspor, knocking down a BCL career-high five threes. They lost Amine Noua last week as he signed for Bertram Derthona Tortona, but they had a backup ready - former BCL Final Four player Hans Vanwijn comes in to do the exact same thing Noua was doing so far. Good idea, Holon. Makes sense.

#8 PAOK mateco (=)

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

Hold your "WHAT!? WHY ARE WE STILL IN 8TH WHEN WE WON A GAME SINCE THE LAST POWER RANKINGS!? THIS ISN'T FAIR!" comments for now. PAOK did win back-to-back games, but by a total of four points, and both at home, too. They enjoy a week off in the BCL to focus on getting above .500 in Greece, but then, it's make-or-break time, facing Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem in Belgrade. They win that one? They are a top five team here, for sure.

#7 UCAM Murcia (=)

BCL record: 3-1
Domestic championship record: 8-4

Here, enjoy Diccon Lloyd-Smeath's column about UCAM Murcia's successful season so far. It's better than anything you'll read in this tiny paragraph, for sure.

#6 Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem (+3)

BCL record: 3-1
Domestic championship record: none

That 15-point win over Galatasaray by coach Aleksandar Dzikic and his men looked impressive. One guy stood out by not standing out at all - Levi Randolph has been Mr Consistency this season, putting up 20, 18, 19 and 17 points in four games, while unlocking a new level to his game: Levi had 15+ points and 5+ assists in each of his last three BCL games. How many times he had 15+ points and 5+ assists in his first 64 BCL appearances? Zero. 0. No such games. Talk about learning a new trick at 31...

#5 Pinar Karsiyaka (+5)

BCL record: 3-1
Domestic championship record: 7-3

Okay, that could've been one of the biggest shots of the entire BCL season. Because, now we know that KSK and SIG are completely tied at the top of the group, and whoever wins more games or wins by more points, will also win the group and move to the Round of 16 directly. If Kelan Martin missed the shot, SIG would've had the tiebreaker...

 

#4 Unicaja (-3)

BCL record: 3-1
Domestic championship record: 9-3

Justin Tillman won MVP of November honors, and when asked which team impressed him the most other than his AEK BETSSON BC, he said he liked Unicaja. Of course he did. They are an inch away from winning their group here, they are currently in the second spot in the Liga Endesa, and they are the only team in the Spanish league to defeat Real Madrid this season. It's just that they aren't unbeaten anymore, so they are behind the three 4-0 teams around here. But in reality, it's hard to picture a scenario in which a team wins the BCL without facing Unicaja at some point.

(Unless that team is Unicaja, of course.)

#3 Bertram Derthona Tortona (+1)

BCL record: 4-0
Domestic championship record: 5-5

Sooo... That was fast. Mike Daum left for Anadolu Efes, and Amine Noua was singed before you could say "wow I wonder if Tortona are gonna be as good now." Noua is bringing his best game, too, he reached double figures in all four games for Holon this season, after getting to 10+ territory just twice in his previous 18 BCL games. Big signing. Great reaction, too, by the front office! Oh, and they are the first Italian team to start 4-0 since Virtus Bologna in 2018-19. You remember how that season finished, don't you? You do.

 

#2 JDA Bourgogne Dijon (+1)

BCL record: 4-0
Domestic championship record: 6-8

Just here to tell you that a soon-to-be 38-year-old David Holston is averaging 16.0 points in 22.3 minutes while shooting 14-of-24 from the three-point range (that's 58 percent on six attempts per game), including 9-of-12 in his last two games. Oh, yeah, that's why JDA Bourgogne Dijon collected four wins in four games for the first time in four years. The last time they had a four-game winning run in the BCL, they finished third, back in 2020 in Athens.

#1 AEK BETSSON BC (+1)</