EUROLEAGUE TOP TEN
10- ARMANI JEANS OLIMPIA MILAN (ITALY)
Finally Olimpia Milan gets a win in 2008 Euroleague. A key win for the Red Shoes, the first in the Tournament, still having some chances to get the Top 16. The Armani Jeans Milan’s Euroleague has just began.
9- MACCABI ELITE TEL AVIV (ISRAEL)
Maccabi in the Top Ten! Tied with Efes Pilsen and Aris TT Bank at the second place of Group B, the israeli yellows are trying to mantain the continuity of their Euroleague performances. The Top16 are, at least, the goal.
8- EFES PILSEN ISTANBUL (TURKEY)
A message to all the Euroleague: Efes Pilsen is back on track. Beaten 77-70 the undefeated Lietuvos Rytas in Vilnius, the David Blatt turkish red and blue improved their record to 3-2, becoming a true reality in the Group B.
7- OLYMPIACOS PIRAEUS (GREECE)
Prokom Trefl Sopot it’s not an irresistible team, but Olympiacos prove its strength at the Piraeus last night, destroying the Polish Champions 109-65. They have still to fight for reach the Top16, but potentially they can arrive to the Final Four.
6- MONTEPASCHI SIENA (ITALY)
Montepaschi needed to play against an italian team to come over their Euroleague slump, just because the Italian Champions are still unbeaten in the Italian League this year (10-0). An 80-69 win past Vidivici Virtus Bologna, outscoring the Black V 27-12 in the fourth quarter.
5- AXA FC BARCELONA (SPAIN)
Sweet game for Axa Barcelona at Palau Blaugrana, a tasty win over the eternal rivals Real Madrid, and an important step to the Top16. Barcelona is still behind Panathinaikos and Real Madrid in the Group C, but they’re improving game after game.
4- CSKA MOSKOW (RUSSIA)
Good win for Cska, downing the tough lithuanians Zalgiris Kaunas. As usual a strong team effort by the champions of Russia, a good game without their best player, Matjaz Smodis. Next week Cska will play the big match against the Group A co-leaders Tau Vitoria.
3- TAU CERAMICA VITORIA (SPAIN)
A fundamental road win over Union Olimpija Ljubljana, on a field where other favourites had fallen, like Cska or Olympiacos. Co-leader of the Group A with the Cska Moskow, who will host next week at the Fernando Buesa Arena in Vitoria.
2- UNICAJA MALAGA (SPAIN)
Four wins in a row after the loss in the first week, and the solid first place in Group B, tied to Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. Unicaja seems to be very strong, maybe the real (silent) leader of the last four Euroleague weeks.
1- PANATHINAIKOS ATHENS (GREECE)
Ordinary administration for the Pana this week, destruct Chorale Roanne 123-83 in France and remaining the only unbeaten team in the Tournament. 123 points for the Greens, more points than any road team ever scored before in the Euroleague.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
ARVYDAS MACIJAUSKAS (OLYMPIACOS PIRAEUS)
A terrific shooter, Macijauskas scored 27 points last night, 8/11 from the field, 9/9 free throws, he’s definitively back. He will be a key player for the rest of the Olympiacos tournament, looking for the Top16.
IGOR RAKOCEVIC (TAU CERAMICA VITORIA)
He nailed 3 triples in the first quarter, gaving Tau the double-digit lead, enough for the rest of the game. 8/12 from the field, 6/6 free throws, 26 total points, Rakocevic is been the early game-winner for the basque.
ANDRIJA ZIZIC (PANATHINAIKOS)
In the easy Panathinaikos win over Chorale Roanne, Zizic scored 26 points from the bench, with just one error from the free throws line, 10/10 from the field and 6/7 from the charity line. A clear expression of how deep the Panathinaikos bench is.
DANIELE VECCHI is the author of the Italian language book “Playground in New York.” He also writes a column for the Italian language hoops magazine, American Superbasket.