Exactly what the title says then – BallinEurope takes a look at the seedings for the EuroBasket 2013 draw and riffs a bit. As we know, the six groups from which the final divisions will be comprised look as follows.
No. 1 seeds: Spain, France, Russia, FYR Macedonia
No. 2 seeds: Lithuania, Greece, Slovenia, Great Britain
No. 3 seeds: Italy, Croatia, Germany, Montenegro
No. 4 seeds: Finland, Poland, Ukraine, Bosnia & Herzegovina
No. 5 seeds: Georgia, Belgium, Latvia, Turkey
No. 6 seeds: Czech Republic, Serbia, Israel, Sweden
Mulled-over reactions follow.
Correct/just about correct: The top seven. FIBA Europe went into the seeding decision process emphasizing the most recent previous performance in a federation event. While some questionable choices result further down the pool, it’s tough to argue about these great programs performing well in the European sphere.
Perhaps overrated, but wait and see: Germany (ranked no. 11), Poland (14) . Germany truly had an outstanding EuroBasket 2013, an accomplishment made all the more impressive in the post-Nowitski era by a roster featuring nine players under the age of 25. But are they really on a par with the other three seeds already?
As for Poland, well, let’s just say this is probably the best one-man team in Europe.
Way overrated: Great Britain (8) . The only thing more uncertain that the British roster for Eurobasket 2013 is how the FIBA folks came to place the team here with the last performance listed as “Olympics Host.” It doesn’t take much imagination to mentally conjure up a group with ever-lucky Spain taking on Team Britain, Latvia, Finland, Sweden and some no. 3 destined to go 5-1.
Nice to see them returning: Italy (9), Croatia (10). Two fine programs returned to prominence in the EuroBasket 2013 qualifiers and each brings their compelling figures: Italia’s got their oh-so-21st-century Big 3 from the NBA, while the Adriatic side brings The Next Big Thing Out Of Croatia in Dario Šarić. Who else can’t wait to see this guy compete on this level in ’13? Draftniks need to start putting this guy in their mock NBA drafts going to, say, the San Antonio Spurs in the second round.
Sudden thought: Could the three seeds outperform the two seeds? Of course, this all depends on who shows up to play on Team Lithuania (doesn’t it always?), but the no. 3s represent four programs on the upswing…
Underrated (because BiE’s pushing them as contenders): Montenegro (12), Georgia (17). BiE’s love and admiration for Team Montenegro has been well-documented in heinnews’ “Taking the Charge” podcasts, but it needs to be said once more: After going a convincing 10-0 in qualifiers, this squad could be adding a troika of Nikolas – Pekovic, Vucevic and even Mirotic – for EuroBasket 2013. Even Spain should fear such a roster.
And the most sneaky-compelling division in the rankings has to be the placement of Bosnia & Herzegovina at no. 16 and thus a four seed while Georgia landed with a fifth seed at no. 17. Not only does this emphasize that well-worn dictum of European basketball, i.e. *every single game matters* (Georgia ultimately landed here thanks to the loss to BiH in game six of Group D play, perhaps the best game of the tourney), but it sets up the nice possibility of another meeting between the clubs in ’13. BiE senses a budding rivalry here…
Receiving a message from FIBA: Turkey (20), Serbia (22). On the face of it, putting these two European powerhouses among the bottom five in a field of 24 teams seems shocking – particularly given that Turkey finished runners-up in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, overcoming Serbia in the semifinals due to what appeared to be a blown call by the referees.
In justification, neither team has played consistently well in the international game for years; Turkey’s only two podium finishes in history occurring when the home country hosted. And both seem to be falling victim to stagnant programs and aging rosters. There’s no telling if either federation will tweak or overhaul the current direction and/or roster, but for Serbia and Turkey the medium-term future will surely be determined at EuroBasket 2013.