Two days may not seem like much in reality (thus the bliss of a three-day weekend); in Eurobasket 2009, the 48 hours off for Group F teams could prove to be the most crucial stretch of the tournament.
Today’s thought: Beware shifts in momentum.
Fearless predictions for tonight’s three matches follow.
Turkey v. Spain. Turkey starts the second round with the only 2-0 record in Group F and on a torrid pace, indeed. Ilyasova, Turkoglu and the boys have forced other teams to play their game while averaging a Eurobasket-high 88.3 points per game whilst shooting 54 percent from the floor, second-best among remaining teams.
Meanwhile, the world awaits Team Spain to emerge from its clumsy shell and play up to its superstar-studded potential. In scoring 77 points a game, the Spaniards have given up over 75 per and averaged an incredible 16 turnovers in the first three games. BiE fearless prediction: Momentum shift! Turkey drops a wee bit off the torrid pace and Spain manages to do enough to win unconvingly.
Poland v. Serbia. It’s nice that Poland has ridden the home-court advantage for a few games and this ragtag bunch led by out-of-their-heads performances from Marcin Gortat, Maciej Lampe, and David Logan are certainly loveable. But seriously, isn’t Team Serbia simply the better, deeper team here? BiE fearless prediction: Momentum shift! 13th man ain’t enough for Poland today. Serbia wins comfortably.
Lithuania v. Slovenia. Slovenia has been one of Eurobasket 2009’s pleasant surprises thus far. No Rasho Nesterovic, Sani Becirovic, Sasha Vujacic or Beno Udrih? No problem! Relying on old hands like Jaka Lakovic and up-and-comers such as Erazem Lorbek, Team Slovenia could well have gone 3-0 in round one, had not Spain fortuitously remembered they were Spain in the fourth quarter of their game three matchup.
Like Spain, Team Lithuania has had tons of trouble getting the engine started in Eurobasket; unlike Spain, Lithuania begins round two with its backs against the wall and a poor 0-2 record. Surely Ramunas Butautas will find a way to cohesiveness in two days off. Surely Lithuania is better than they’ve played thus far. Maybe. BiE fearless prediction: With no compelling argument other than “Momentum shift!” we’re going Team Lithuania for the win after a close game in which they do *not* blow a late lead.