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March Madness-Inspired Basketball Trips Around The World (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 03/14/2012 7:22 am Updated: 03/14/2012 7:22 am

March Madness has arrived and as basketball fans turn their attention to the Final Four, travelers begin their annual search for spring break destinations and affordable airfare. These two rich traditions once seemed like they'd be eternally separate, but the growing popularity of basketball around the world now make it possible to travel the globe in search of the next big championship.

Basketball leagues in Europe and China were suddenly thrust into the spotlight this year as NBA stars found work abroad during the lockout. U.S. fans may have stopped hearing about Spanish and Italian basketball when the NBA finally got its act together, but those leagues did not cease to exist. Attending games abroad has never been more fun and championships are looming the world over.

Though the skill level of teams outside the U.S. -- we're including the Toronto Raptors in this category -- may not be on par with the Heat or the Mavericks, the passion surrounding teams in Israel, the Philippines and Argentina is no less intense and fandom, in many places, has been infused with the manic and rather unpredictable joy of soccer hooliganism. Join the crowd.

Here are our ten top destinations for basketball fans looking to root on a new home team.

Tel Aviv, Israel
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Tel Aviv is home to Maccabi Electra, one of the most competitive clubs in Euroleague competition. In fact, the club has bested NBA teams several times (they bested the Raptors in 2005). Anyone in town to watch the team should also explore the seaside city's renowned nightlife, beaches and Bauhaus architecture.
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Filed by Andrew Burmon  |