Mirza Begic is leading the league in blocks, Paulius Jankunas has pulled down more rebounds than anyone outside of Randal Falker and Martynas Pocius might as well prop up a tent on the free throw line, as he runs through his routine an EL-leading 8 times per game. They spread out the minutes, bring fresh bodies off the bench three and four at a time and grind you down to nothing through physical, attacking basketball. Their early efforts have been rewarded with a 3-1 record and the all important Group A road win over Caja Laboral, who tried to finesse themselves through a brick wall and failed miserably. So where does that leave them in the Hierarchy? See for yourselves.

RankTeam (EL record)What they did to get here and who's up next...Last Week
1Fenerbahçe Ülker (4-0)Last season, the incomparable Mirsad Turkcan played only one EL game due to injury. He's rejoined the party this season, dropping 13 and 10 in last week's trouncing of a very physical Montepaschi team. If he stays healthy enough to produce at this level all season long, a trip to Barcelona is not a stretch. Wednesday at Cholet2 (81-68 W vs. Siena)
2Maccabi Electra (3-1)Jeremy Pargo hard to the rim, misses the shot. Fellow point guard Doron Perkins grabs the offensive board and, with all of Khimki focused on the interior, kicks it to a wide open David Blu(thenthal) for a gamewinning three with .4 seconds left. The beauty of having two guards ready and willing to attack. Thursday vs. Asseco Prokom6 (78-76 W at Khimki)
3Regal FC Barcelona (3-1)Gianluca Basile goes down with an injury and Barcelona can't wait but a few weeks to snatch Joe Ingles from CB Granada. Other potential suitors were reportedly Simas Jasaitis and Bojan Bogdanovic. It must be nice to snag some team's best player and bring him off the bench. Wednesday at Montepaschi Siena4 (69-55 W vs. Lietuvos Rytas)
4Union Olimpija (3-1)I suppose CSKA had to get a win eventually, and Olimpija had the ill fate of seeing Moscow in their most desperate moment. They need to dust themselves off and carry on. Stozice Arena can be a powerful elixir. Wednesday vs. Valencia3 (65-55 L at CSKA Moscow)
5Zalgiris (3-1)So, yeah. Didn't see that road win coming against Caja Laboral. And let's hear it for Mirza Begic, whose 16 and 8 is precisely what Zalgiris hoped they were getting last season from Union Olimpija. One rule has been consistent this year in Zalgiris: don't expect to play weak and win. Exhibit D was Caja getting outrebounded 43-21. Filthy. Thursday vs. BC Khimki13 (88-92 W at Caja Laboral)
6Montepaschi Siena (3-1)As the old adage goes, defense never slumps. But even a steady diet of D can't cure 37% from the field on the other end. It was only one game, but they need to regroup. And fast. Barcelona's no slouch. Wednesday vs. Barcelona1 (81-68 L at Fenerbahçe)
7Panathinaikos (3-1)Nick Calathes might have put an end to the longest transition period in modern basketball history by dropping 11 points, 6 assists and a couple of steals in their big win over Efes Pilsen. That's exactly the kind of help Dimitris Diamantidis needs in his backcourt. Thursday at AJ Milano8 (84-61 W vs. Efes Pilsen)
8Olympiacos (3-1)Vassilis Spanoulis leads the EL in assists. Teammate Milos Teodosic is second. I guess the question marks hovering around that tandem are dissolving pretty quickly. Wednesday at VIrtus Roma7 (86-78 W vs. Spirou)
9Real Madrid (3-1)Novica Velickovic gets a season high 18 minutes and puts up 9 points, 4 boards, 2 assists, a steal and a block.Find my man some PT. Wednesday at Spirou9 (83-81 OT W vs. Brose Baskets)
10Caja Laboral (2-2)David Logan, Fernando San Emeterio and Brad Oleson combined for 16 in their disappointment against Zalgiris. Don't expect that three-headed swingman to go so quietly the rest of the season. Wednesday at Partizan5 (88-92 L vs. Zalgiris)
11BC Khimki (2-2)Now owners of a 6-point win, a 4-point loss, a 4-point win and most recently a 2-point loss. Seems like it's all leading up to one big tie this week in Kaunas. In unrelated other stuff, it was nice to see Sergey Monya assert himself offensively in the second half against Maccabi. Thursday at Zalgiris10 (76-78 L vs. Maccabi)
12Efes Pilsen (2-2)Always hailed as a versatile and physical defender, Kerem Gonlum's offense has really started to come around since moving to Efes from Ülker for the 2005-06 season. Improving every season since, Gonlum's got his average up around 10 points this season and the D hasn't taken a rest, good news for all Efes fans. Bad news is that Lawrence Roberts hasn't yet joined the party. Averages of 5 and 5 won't get the job done. Thursday vs. CSKA Moscow11 (84-61 L at Panathinaikos)
13Brose Baskets Bamberg (2-2)Bamberg is a missed call (Brian Roberts was clearly behind the line on that OT three) and a D'Or Fischer tip-in away from a 3-1 record. If Kyle Hines keeps shooting 73% from the field Bamberg just might hustle their way to the Top 16. Thursday vs. Unicaja12 (83-81 OT L at Real Madrid)
14Partizan (2-2)Once thought to have a shallow front court, Partizan could have one of the scariest by season's end. Nathan Jawai has squeezed in nicely, so to speak, and James Gist went off for a 24 RKG at Asseco Prokom. Then there's Jan Vesely, who's yet to make his expected impact four weeks in, but this already looks like a repeat of last year's gradual explosion: his 5.6 average RKG in the regular season leapt up to 13.5 in the Top 16. You just can't hold an athlete like that down for long. Wednesday vs. Caja Laboral17 (62-69 W at Asseco Prokom)
15Cholet (2-2)After reeling off two straight wins against Group C's bottom dwellers Rytas and Cibona, it's time to host the EL's finest. They need to come ready to scrap. Wednesday vs. Fenerbahçe15 (71-84 W at Cibona)
16Armani Jeans Milano (2-2)After getting molested on the boards since Pecherov's injury, Jonas Maciulis and Stefano Mancinelli finally took it upon themselves to make it happen in the paint, combining for 16 in last week's win in Valencia. If you want to get road wins, creating extra possessions are a must, and only Maccabi and Fenerbahçe have picked up multiple wins away from home like Milano has. Thursday vs. Panathinaikos16 (69-80 W at Valencia)
17Unicaja (2-2)Anyone have Berni Rodriguez on their fantasy teams last week? Considering a -8 RKG preceded his 36, I' venture to guess only the true B-Rod devotees are raising their hands right now. ELA salutes you. Thursday at Bamberg18 (104-83 W vs. Roma)
18CSKA Moscow (1-3)OK. Finally got one. Check it off the list and take a deep breath. I'm feeling a big week from Trajan Langdon, who's still fully capable of going shot for shot with the likes of Rakocevic this week in Istanbul. Any doubters should take a peek at his Parisian outburst against Partizan in last year's third place game. Thursday at Efes Pilsen19 (65-55 W vs. Union Olimpija)
19Valencia (1-3)If I were Manuel Hussein, I would dream up some creative punishment for being outrebounded by the diminutive AJ Milano rotation last week at home. It would involve hills, sacks of sand, and industrial strength elastic bands. Maybe some 'power electronics' also, just to keep the sponsors happy. Wednesday at Union Olimpija14 (69-80 L vs. AJ Milano)
20Virtus Roma (2-2)Things started off just peachy for the Romans with a pair of easy wins in weeks one and two, but a couple frames later they sit at .500 after losses of 18 and 21 points. Perimeter scoring has been an issue, and Charles Smith needs to do better than the 2.7 points he's averaged since week two. Wednesday vs. Olympiacos20 (104-83 L at Unicaja)
21Lietuvos Rytas (0-4)Congratulations, Rytas. You've been the most impressive winless team thus far. Three road games out of the first four is tough, especially when two of those are at Barcelona and red hot Fenerbahçe, but a tough schedule's no excuse. Nobody said this Euroleague business would be easy. Wednesday vs. Cibona22 (69-55 L at Barcelona)
22Asseco Prokom (0-4)Only one loss has been of the double digit variety, and that's a reflection of their inability to close. Last year, for better or for worse, it was Qyntel Woods late. This year Daniel Ewing is trying to fill David Logan's role as perimeter scorer while incorporating new teammates Wilks, Brown and Giddens. Identity has been a problem for Daniel and, by extension, Asseco Prokom. Even with all of those issues, the back court is the least of Prokom's worries. Thursday at Maccabi Electra21 (62-29 L vs. Partizan)
23Cibona (0-4)I hate to put this so bluntly, but Cibona blew it last week. A win against Cholet would've put them in the driver's seat for Group C's fourth spot, and now they sit in the cellar with a trip to Vilnius looming. Meanwhile, Cholet has the comparative advantage over both of the winless teams below them. It all could've been avoided if some threes had fallen in Zagreb (Boganovic: 1/7 from beyond the arc).Wednesday at Lietuvos Rytas23 (71-84 L vs. Cholet)
24Spirou Charleroi (0-4)They have lost games by 8, 9, 10, and 11. If we were playing poker they'd be on their way to quite the hand. Wednesday vs. Real Madrid24 (86-78 L at Olympiacos)