BallinEurope’s man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick, revamps his EuroBasket “preview” as the final games in pool play go down…
Many things have happened since my Eurobasket preview, so here are an updated group results & final predictions.
1. Spain – So far Spain are undefeated, they toyed with the Lithuanian’s last night on the way to a huge 91 – 79 win, against the team a lot of people expected to be playing in the Final.
2. Lithuania – Last night’s loss to Spain is a big blow however Turkey’s loss to Poland will keep them in Second position, the host’s next play Portugal which should be another easy blow out.
3. Turkey – Last night’s loss to Poland sparks fears in the hearts of Turkish fan’s tonight’s game can either go two way’s They could surprise people and actually win this match up, or they could do what Lithuania did & lose it quite dramatically.
4. Great Britain – After Poland’s win over Turkey, I am now officially worried, with huge losses to most teams and with only one win so far this tournament; however GB hit their stride yesterday distributing the ball well and controlling the boards, I can still hope for a win over Poland.
5. Poland – One of my biggest surprises of the tournament, especially their shock win over Turkey, GB need to watch out if they hope to keep number 4 in the group.
6. Portugal – I honestly thought Portugal would be better than this; they have been a disappointment so far.
1. France – France have continued to play solid, a win over Italy last night was a huge boost, it also gave Tony Parker a change to take his foot off the gas. Noah has been brilliant on the boards & Batum has been a constant highlight real. It will all come down to today’s match-up with Serbia.
2. Serbia – I have been proven wrong, Serbia dismissed Germany last night and beat Italy on opening day; they are one of the final remaining undefeated teams at Eurobasket; however I can see a loss coming to the French later today.
3. Germany – Chris Kaman has bought a whole new dimension to this squad, a constant double-double kind of guy who compliments Dirk well. Speaking of Dirk he has been his usual M.V.P self.
4. Italy – A disappointing few games have led to a 4th place finish, with losses to Serbia & France their tournament seems to be all but over.
5. Israel –Much better than expected, last night’s win over Latvia gives them 5th, unless they achieve a miracle I don’t expect them to move any higher.
6. Latvia – Another big disappointment, after they annihilated Great Britain I expected a better finish, last night’s loss to the Israeli’s leaves them without a win in the tournament.
1. Greece – So far with a standing of 3 wins and 1 loss the Greeks are doing okay, however they will struggle in the second round and could even drop to 2nd in the group if they lose to Croatia tonight.
2. Croatia – 2 wins 2 losses so far, Ante Tomic has played solid leading the team with 18.3 points and 6.5 rebounds, Bogdanovic has been putting up 15 per night connecting on 47% from behind the arch.
3. FYR Macedonia – This was a hard decision they are 2nd in the group at the moment with a 3 win 1 loss record, and picking Croatia at number 2 means Bosnia & Herzegovina don’t make the second round despite playing great basketball all tournament.
4. Bosnia & Herzegovina – Another huge surprise this year, they have proved that they belong in the top division sporting a 2 win 2 loss record at the time of writing.
5. Montenegro – Is there hope left for this team? A 1 win 3 loss record is nowhere near what people expected, Pekovic’s come back has not been able to keep them a lot & a huge blow out to Greece yesterday leaves them fighting for a 5th place finish.
6. Finland – Speaking of the Finnish, Koponen has averaged 15 points so far this tournament, they lost by 2 points to FYR Macedonia yesterday, a huge win over Bosnia on Saturday, this group is incredibly close, almost every could beat each other, with one final game against Montenegro it looks like it gunna come down to the wire between these two.
1. Russia – The battle of the two undefeated Group D teams commences today who will prevail? The Russian’s lead by Kirilenko or the Slovenia’s lead by Erazem Lorbek. The Russians have solid depth and it will mostly come down to Mozgov’s defence of Lorbek, I am calling it & Russia wins it.
2. Slovenia – They should provide some solid competition for the Russian’s and can still steal first, it all comes down to tonight’s match-up, it should be a great game to watch.
3. Georgia – Georgia have been playing great ball recently and last night’s win over Ukraine solidifies their 3rd place finish.
4. Ukraine – Now it gets a little harder, the bottom 3 teams in Group D are all relatively bad, and Bulgaria should have the strongest of the three.
5. Bulgaria – After losing to Ukraine Bulgaria will most probably stick with 5th, Georgia should beat them which will take their tournament record to 1 win and 4 losses.
6. Belgium – I hoped that Belgium would be better, respectable, I was wrong; they will not win a game this tournament.
I am sticking with my original prediction for the finals — Spain vs. France — with France so far undefeated and a massive win over Lithuania their depth at all positions is just too much, France will try their luck but on their day no one will beat the Spanish.
After yesterday’s loss to Spain, I’m changing my bronze medal winner. I nearly had Turkey in this spot but after their loss to Poland I just can’t do it, instead I have the winner of the Russia Vs. Slovenia match-up taking 3rd place and in my eye’s it will probably be Russia, their experience and talent should tip the scales in their favour.
Sam Chadwick is a university student, part-time sportswriter and a coach in the Solent Kestrels organization.