20 September, 2018
01 May, 2019
0 Trae Golden (SARA)
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Power Rankings: Open the door for Avtodor Saratov; Pinar Karsiyaka stock on the rise

MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) – It is symbolic that we have a new name at the top of the Power Rankings for the first volume of the new calendar year. After finishing the 2018 portion of the season ranked first, the previously unbeaten Bakken Bears were dethroned by none other than Avtodor Saratov, while the week's big leapers Pinar Karsiyaka soared back into the Top 5.






Somebody has to rank last in the Power Rankings and that somebody is Kataja Basket, who qualified to the Second Round on the back of two impressive wins over Aris Thessaloniki in the Group Phase. However, their latest defeat against ZZ Leiden makes it five losses in a row in the FIBA Europe Cup.


As if there weren't enough L's in their name, Lukoil Levski picked up another one in the FIBA Europe Cup to make it 0-3 in the Second Round. That door to the Play-Offs is closing fast.


Sometimes, scores speak louder than words. 118-71. Yup, Szolnoki Olaj lost by FORTY-SEVEN points to s.Oliver Wurzburg. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Petrolina AEK represented the country of Cyprus and the city of Larnaca admirably against Dinamo Sassari. It was their best game of the Second Round, but still not enough for a win in the Group of Death.


They knew they were underdogs in Izmir, but Z Mobile Prishtina still came out there and gave Pinar Karsiyaka their best shot. And that shot fell 22-points short. But the Kosovar club is playing with house money after reaching the Second Round for the very first time in its history.


After starting the Second Round with a pair of complete wipe-outs against Avtodor Saratov and Bakken Bears, ZZ Leiden got the first win in Group L under their belt after taking care of Kataja Basket. The much-needed rest appears to have put venom back in their bite.


The gutsy underdogs from Botevgrad have now beaten Bulgarian champions Lukoil Levski twice in a space of two weeks. Just like a gymnast nailing a perfect landing, they got extra style points for their 19-0 fourth-quarter run to seal the deal. Could Balkan be getting ready for a title challenge domestically?


First in the Regular Season and now in the Second Round, Ironi Ness Ziona have been victims of the Power Ranking curse twice this season. Both times they were listed among the best five teams, they went on to lose their next game. Though, admittedly, the loss to Alba Fehervar may have had more to do with their short-handed squad than our unintentional dark magic. (Don't be fooled though, the curse is real!)


Having lost both of their home fixtures against the Italian powerhouses Dinamo Sassari and Pallacanestro Varese, it will be difficult for Donar Groningen to contend for a top-two finish in Group K. However, it ain't over till the fat lady sings and the single-digit margins of defeat do keep the Dutch title-holders in play.


The contrasting fortunes of Alba Fehervar in their domestic campaign in Hungary and internationally in the FIBA Europe Cup remain one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in the world, alongside the Lost City of Atlantis.  


Dinamo Sassari looked far from convincing in their first FIBA Europe Cup fixture of 2019, with Petrolina AEK giving the Sardinian side all sorts of problems in Cyprus. Despite the international letdown, their four-in-a-row form in the Serie A keeps them stable.


The Sek Henry-led Pinar Karsiyaka sent Z Mobile Prishtina back to Kosovo with a rather one-sided defeat to establish themselves as the second-placed team in Group I. On top of that, there are some serious reinforcements heading their way for the second half of the Second Round.


Flame-throwing Xavier Cooks set off multiple fire alarms in and around Wurzburg, as s.Oliver Wurzburg demolished a helpless Szolnoki Olaj 118-71 in a game that, looking back, ought to have received a PG-13 rating. Things are looking on the up in Dirk-Nowitzki-Stadt!


It is true, Bakken Bears are no longer undefeated. They had won so many consecutive games in the FIBA Europe Cup that we almost lost count, but the Russian winter proved too much even for the notorious Danes. The Aarhus club looked a bit sleepy out there after the winter break, falling short on their scoring average by 46 points in the 71-60 defeat in Saratov.


There was serious up-and-down movement all around the second-placed Pallacanestro Varese, but the Attilio Caja-coached Italians stayed put with a tough road win against Donar Groningen. They are the only club in the competition to have maintained Top 5 status throughout the campaign and there are no signs that this could change anytime soon.


After knocking down the previous Power Rankings leaders Bakken Bears in a FIBA Europe Cup heavyweight bout that lived up to its billing and then some, Avtodor Saratov became the fourth team this season to reach the prestigious summit. How long will they last at the top?

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