10-OLYMPIACOS PIRAEUS (GREECE)
Despite the loss in Moskow (79-88), Olympiacos is still healthy. Impressive game of Lynn Greer (left the game for a muscular injury in the fourth quarter), 27 points (9/12 from the field, 6/6 from the free throws line), and good game from Marc Jackson, 24 points. Have to find the right chemistry.
9-FENERBAHCE ULKER ISTANBUL (TURKEY)
An encouragement to the turkish basketball. Fenerbahce lost first two games with Real Madrid and Barcelona, and then won the other two games with Lottomatica Rome and Chorale Roanne. The Tanjevic’s gang can be the fourth force of the Group C.
8-CIBONA ZAGREB (CROATIA)
Maybe Cibona isn’t the most spectacular team in the Euroleague, but they are strong and competitive. A young enthusiastic group with an experienced player like Damir Mulaomerovic, veteran of several european leagues. The Top 16 could be the goal.
7-BC ZALGIRIS KAUNAS (LITHUANIA)
With a solid game of Marcus Brown (28 points), Salenga and Collins (both 17 points), the Arvydas Sabonis’s team grab the W on Union Olimpija Ljubljana, a clear 91-72 that keep the white & green lithuanians still in the game for the next round.
6-UNICAJA MALAGA (SPAIN)
Three wins in a row for the Sergio Scariolo’s bunch, defeating this week Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv, one of the best teams of the entire Euroleague. A deep bench and a strong front-line are the keys of their good moment.
5-TAU CERAMICA VITORIA (SPAIN)
Co-leaders of the Group A, they seems to be strong, despite the roster’s escape of the last years (Nocioni, Oberto, Scola and many others). The evolution of Tau Vitoria is always on the run, probably still continuing to be, as usual, Top 16 resident.
4-CSKA MOSKOW (RUSSIA)
A convincing win on Olympiacos, a great expression of Ettore Messina’s politics, to be a team and play as a team, ’til the last second of the game. Cska continue to be one of the best contenders on the way to the Final Four in Madrid.
3-LIETUVOS RYTAS VILNIUS (LITHUANIA)
Still unbeaten, the lithuanians are the real revelation of the Euroleague. Winner 77-70 against a good team like Aris TT Bank Thessaloniki, the Trifunovic’s bunch is right now a solid reality of the tournament.
2-REAL MADRID (SPAIN)
The 2008 Euroleague Final Four will be in Madrid, so Le Merengues are trying to get ready for this key moment. Four wins and no losses, this week defeating Partizan Belgrade 75-64, not a spectacular game, but still a W.
1-PANATHINAIKOS ATHENS (GREECE)
Defeated Barcelona in an intense game in Athens, Panathinaikos (still unbeated) confirm its leadership in the Group C tied with Real Madrid. Once again a team victory, in the classic Obradovic’s way. The most talented team of the Euroleague continue its march.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
TOMAS VAN DER SPIEGEL (PROKOM TREFL SOPOT)
He felt Bologna’s rivalry. Against Virtus Van Der Spiegel made his game with a Fortitudo heart (he played three seasons with Fortitudo), 27 points and 14 boards, driving Prokom Trefl Sopot into their first 2008 Euroleague victory.
MARCUS BROWN (BC ZALGIRIS KAUNAS)
Back on the Euroleague big spot, finally. Marcus Brown is a veteran of the best european basketball, and after struggling for three weeks, he found his rhythm last night against Union Olimpija, 28 points, 9/12 from the field, 7/7 free throws, 5 assist, 4 steals. Brown became the Euroleague’s All-Time leading scorer, surpassing Luis Scola, with a win over Union Olympija in Lithuania.
MARC SALYERS (CHORALE ROANNE)
Marc Salyers, a Chicago native, is a classic journeyman. Playing with the French Champions Chorale Roanne, last night he scored 40 points, 15/24 from the field, in the 90-97 loss with Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul. Salyers, a power forward with good hands, is playing a strong Euroleague tournament.
DANIELE VECCHI is the author of “Playground in New York.” He also writes a column for the Italian language hoops magazine, American
Superbasket. This is his fifth story published in the English language.