19 September, 2017
02 May, 2018
4 Kasey Hill | Photo: Erika Simon
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Power Rankings: Donar Groningen and Bakken Bears share spotlight with Alba Fehervar's astronomic rise

MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) - We present the second edition of the FIBA Europe Cup Power Rankings for the 2017-18 season, a quick and fun way to keep up to date with all of the action throughout the Second Round and into the Play-Offs.







All sort of warning lights are popping up on Tsmoki-Minsk's dashboard after a 79-45 hammering in Hungary that saw the Belarusian side drop to 0-2 in Group K. The only fix might be getting a win in Montenegro this week. They are gracing thin ice.


Belfius Mons-Hainaut rose from the bottom of the Power Rankings by virtue of not losing by 34 points, but that's hardly something to celebrate for the fans of the Belgian side, who find themselves in quite a pickle in Group L after the latest 85-81 defeat against U-BT Cluj-Napoca. To make matters worse, the Daniel Goethals-coached side ran out of luck in the Belgian Championship, falling to the Telenet Giants Antwerp after three close wins on the domestic front before that.


The worst thing about any group of death is the fact that somebody actually has to die. Unfortunately for Kataja Basket, they seem like the prime candidates to spin out of the race for the Round of 16 early after a 0-2 start to the Second Round. With ESSM Le Portel, Istanbul BBSK and Nizhny Novgorod, Group I was never going to be a stroll in the park.


Lose one game and you drop six places? Yes, we know, life can be harsh in the Power Rankings. With a total of 10 teams sharing identical 1-1 records in the Second Round, the section in the middle of the pack is a very slippery slope and an 85-79 loss to Egis Kormend was all it took for BC Nevezis. Some positive news: after losing 10 of their last 11 games, the Lithuanians finally got a win in the Lithuanian championship, defeating Dzukija 84-80.


Minutes away from falling to 0-2 in Group J, Egis Kormend pulled a rabbit out of a hat in the shape of an 85-79 win over the visiting Nevezis after a 15-point fourth-quarter turnaround. Primarily known for his rim protection, the Hungarian team's center Justin Tuoyo played the role of master magician in the contest, pulling off a temporary transformation into Steph Curry and finishing the night by going 4-of-5 from deep. Last time we checked, magic wasn't banned in the FIBA Europe Cup, so we could see Kormend's climb continue.


If anyone predicted Keravnos would be handed a 40-point defeat by Donar Groningen before last week's games, they would have been called silly to say the least. Now, they'd be called…right. Despite falling five spots in the Power Rankings, the Cypriot champions still look pretty good in the larger scheme of things.


U-BT Cluj-Napoca gave themselves a second lease in life in Group L with an 85-81 win against Belfius Mons-Hainaut on the road, undoing most of the damage of a home loss against Donar Groningen in the earlier game. A win is a win, but their game leaves a lot to be desired before a potentially hugely important showdown with Keravnos in Cyprus this week.


Is that a bird, is that a plane? No, it's Alba Fehervar rising steeply in the Power Rankings after upsetting Demir Insaat in a 20-point comeback win in Group J. Having moved up six places, coach Branislav Dzunic's men are the week's big risers. Congratulations, achievement unlocked!


Szolnoki Olaj are back and you better watch out! The smooth-cruising Hungarians registered a 34-point statement win against Tsmoki-Minsk to make their intentions ever so clear in Group K. Their strong play in the Hungarian Championship is also a source of optimism, with the David Vojvoda-led Szolnok side leading the pack in the domestic competition with a 13-2 mark.


You win some, you lose some. After coming up short in heart-breaking fashion against Bakken Bears in an overtime coin flip in the FIBA Europe Cup, Mornar Bar released their anger and got back to winning ways by teaching Petrol Olimpija Ljubljana basketball lessons in the ABA League, downing the Slovenian champions with an emphatic 101-81 scoreline.


Ever heard of the Power Ranking curse? Probably not, because we just made it up. But one can't help but notice that five of the eight top-ranked teams suffered defeats and Demir Insaat's loss in Hungary is probably the most surprising of them all. Hopefully, someone over in Buyukcekmece knows the Heimlich maneuver because the Turkish side are still choking after wasting a 20-point lead against Alba Fehervar.


Nizhny Novgorod might have lost both of their games last week, but their losses in the Power Rankings are minimal, primarily owing to the fact they actually played well on both occasions. Having seen a double-digit lead slip against Istanbul BBSK on Wednesday, Nizhny had luck turn its back on them in similar circumstances again, versus Unics Kazan in the VTB League a couple of days later. The difference in the two games? Five points, combined. Ouch!


Let's not pretend that we have all completely forgotten the thorough thumping Istanbul BBSK received in Le Portel. They will still need a couple more wins to get that in the rear-view mirror. A rather difficult win against Nizhny Novgorod got the Turkish side back on solid ground in Group I and back in our good books as well, with Ivan Buva's unstoppable form giving their future opponents plenty to worry about going forward.


One of only three undefeated teams in the Second Round, the Bakken Bears provided us with one of the most exciting games of the season in a 93-92 overtime triumph over Mornar Bar, with DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell coming up with all the right answers down the stretch to save the day. If you know of a more impactful player in the competition, please let us know. Overall, things are looking on the up in Aarhus.


Donar on fire, your defense is terrified! Having tied the FIBA Europe Cup all-time record for three-pointers made behind Thomas Koenis' career night in a 40-point blowout against Keravnos, the Dutch champions confirmed their status as one of the hottest teams in the Second Round. Donar Groningen not only jumped out to first place in Group L, but also moved up a few spots in the Power Rankings.


The Eric Girard-operated French machine just keeps on churning out wins like no one else, with ESSM Le Portel extending their European winning streak to seven games with an 82-77 triumph in Finland. Boasting a blistering 11-2 record at Le Chaudron in all competitions, the team's away form has been the only real vulnerability this season but it hasn't held them back in the FIBA Europe Cup.

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