20 September, 2018
01 May, 2019
2 Dominique Archie (VARES)
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Play-Off bound Big Three back in charge of Power Rankings

MUNICH (Germany) - Avtodor Saratov were not able to hold on to the top spot in the Power Rankings carousel, with Pallacanestro Varese reclaiming the throne for the first time since October. 

s.Oliver Wurzburg, Dinamo Sassari and Pinar Karsiyaka also leapfrogged the previous leaders, who paid a hefty price for losing to a previously winless Kataja Basket.






Being thrown in the deep end of the pool hasn't worked out too well for Petrolina AEK in the Second Round, with the Cypriot side averaging a league-worst 69.5 points per game since the end of the Regular Season. In a parallel universe, where they weren't dealt the trio of Pallacanestro Varese, Dinamo Sassari and Donar Groningen in the Group of Death, we could very possibly be talking about them in a different light.


There's no running away from the fact that Lukoil Levski have been one of the biggest disappointments in the FIBA Europe Cup, especially after a very promising start of the campaign. They have now lost five games in a row and share the worst point differential (-79) in the Second Round with Petrolina AEK. Can they save face in the remaining fixtures against Alba Fehervar and Balkan BC?


One of three winless teams left in the Second Round, it isn't entirely fair to slot Szolnoki Olaj in the same category with the other two. Having lost three of the four contests by single digits, the Hungarian title-holders couldn't capitalize on their ridiculous 16-of-22 three-point shooting in Izmir. The absence of versatile forward Strahinja Milosevic is a particularly big miss for coach Dragan Aleksic, who will now likely have to put off their Play-Off hopes for another time.


You thought David defeating Goliath was something special? Kataja Basket scored a massive win for all the underdogs out there by becoming the first ever bottom-ranked team in the Power Rankings to beat the top seed. Their 88-80 win over Avtodor Saratov kept the Joensuu club in the race for the Play-Offs and, obviously, saw them gain quite a few spots in the ladder.


Z Mobile Prishtina outscored arguably the hottest team in the FIBA Europe Cup, s.Oliver Wurzburg, by 13 points in the second half, but couldn't dig themselves out of what was at one point a 27-point hole. In spite of no-shows from Dardan Berisha and Demario Mayfield, Prishtina acquitted themselves relatively well in front of the home fans.


All of a sudden, Balkan Botevgrad are in some danger of becoming a third wheel in Group J after falling one game behind Ironi Ness Ziona and Alba Fehervar. "I would say we lost the game; not Alba won it," the team's head coach Nebojsa Vidic emphasized the missed opportunity following the contest. The only positive thing to come out of their 65-64 defeat in Hungary was that they kept their head-to-head tie-breaker over Alba Fehervar.


There may not be a repeat of last year's run to the FIBA Europe Cup Semi-Finals for Donar Groningen, unless they sneak into the Play-Offs through the back door. Having come up flat in a must-win game in Sardinia, the Dutch champions saw Dinamo Sassari and Pallacanestro Varese win the game of musical chairs in Group K.


After losing the first game to Bakken Bears by 40 points, the Worthy De Jong-paced ZZ Leiden redeemed themselves with an impressive 89-85 win at home in the Netherlands. If you remove the seven scoreless minutes in the fourth quarter, it was one of their most convincing performances in the FIBA Europe Cup this season. The Dutch club are still in the outside lane for the Play-Offs, but in a much better position than a week ago.


We told you Daequan Cook was thriving in Israel, didn't we? Cook, Gary Browne and Oded Brandwein combined for 69 points to steady the Ironi Ness Ziona ship in Group J after a short-handed Israeli squad slipped up against Alba Fehervar in the previous fixture.


Not much has changed in Szekesfehervar since we last checked, with Alba Fehervar continuing to look like world-beaters in the FIBA Europe Cup and then struggling domestically in Hungary. There were no fireworks as Carlos Cabezas made his FIBA Europe Cup debut, but the Spanish playmaker did dish out five assists in an important win over the visiting Balkan Botevgrad.


Don't let the bitter taste of their second consecutive defeat in the FIBA Europe Cup overshadow the fact that Bakken Bears notched down the Aarhus Stiftstidende's Boye trophy, traditionally presented to the sports person or team of the year in the city of Aarhus. Well done representing the orange ball, Bakken Bears… but we are getting a little bit worried about you. 


The Avtodor Saratov reign in the Power Rankings did not last long, with their five-game winning streak coming to an end against Kataja Basket, who had lost five in a row before pulling off a major upset in Finland. It was the first defeat for coach Dusan Alimpijevic in the FIBA Europe Cup, who described it as the worst performance of his team in the past two months.


Having hit the century mark in two straight games, Pinar Karsiyaka have the third-best offense in the Second Round at 92.5 points per game, up 10.7 points from the Regular Season. The big-name additions of Chris Evans and Birkan Batuk ought to put the Izmir club in the business end of the conversation when it comes to potential title contenders. However, the upcoming clash versus the in-form s.Oliver Wurzburg will be a significantly better indicator of their status than their most recent 102-95 win against Szolnoki Olaj.


Dinamo Sassari clinched one of the first three tickets to the Play-Offs, which means two things. First and foremost, someone will get to enjoy a trip to the beautiful island of Sardinia for the Round of 16. Secondly, that someone will get a really tough opponent with the distinguished #notinmyisland mentality. P.S. Love that hashtag!


Jordan Hulls, Kresimir Loncar and Joshua Obiesie all unable to play? Not a problem for s.Oliver Wurzburg. Second-leading scorer Perry Ellis leaves the team to join Istanbul BBSK?  Not a problem. The Denis Wucherer-coached Germans eased past Z Mobile Prishtina 91-78 on the road in Kosovo to snap up a ticket to the Play-Offs. You can be certain we'll hear more from them.


Hey look, it's the Pallacanestro Varese flag flying at the top of the Power Rankings once again! Having been the leaders of the ladder early in the season, the Italians regained their status as the number one team with a 74-59 win over Petrolina AEK in Cyprus that pushed the winning streak to seven games, also locking in a spot in the Round of 16.

The Power Rankings are entirely subjective and are in no way a true, accurate ranking system. All comments are purely those of the author.