The group games in EuroBasket 2015 are now finished as Poland and the Czech Republic advance to the knockout rounds this weekend. However, here's a quick recap on how they did, as well as how the field of 16 looks.
Poland beats Finland, 78-65, face Spain on Saturday
Adam Waczynski scored 17 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in the big win. Marcin Gortat only played 18 minutes in the game but still added 10 more points. The score of the game was close throughout much of the first half, but the Poles managed to pull away in the second. Poland finished with a 3-2 record and earned the third seed in Group A.
Poland's game against Spain on Saturday in Lille, France at 2:30 p.m. ET. Spain was the second place team from Group B.
Czech Republic loses to Lithuania, 85-81, faces Croatia on Sunday
Despite the close loss, Tomas Satoransky scored 11 points and dished an insane 15 assists. Jan Vesely did not have as great of a game where he only scored 8 points. Arturas Milaknis was huge for the Lithuanians as he made four of eight threes. The Czech Republic was 3-2 and finished with the third seed in Group D.
The Czech Republic's Sunday game against Croatia will also be in Lille at 6 a.m. ET. Croatia was the second place team from Group C.
What's the schedule for the first round knockout stage games?
All of the knockout stage games will be played in Lille, France. Games are on Saturday and Sunday. The schedule is below. Times are in Eastern Time. You can watch everything on ESPN3 or LiveBasketball.TV.
Saturday, September 12
- Latvia (Group D 2nd place) vs. Slovenia (Group C 3rd place) - 6 a.m.
- Greece (Group C 1st place) vs. Belgium (Group D, 4th place) - 8:30 a.m.
- Spain (Group B 2nd place) vs. Poland (Group A 3rd place) - 12:30 p.m.
- France (Group A 1st place) vs. Turkey (Group B 4th place) - 3 p.m.
Sunday, September 13
- Croatia (Group C 2nd place) vs. Czech Republic (Group D 3rd place) - 6 a.m.
- Serbia (Group B 1st place) vs. Finland (Group A 4th place) - 8:30 a.m.
- Israel (Group A 2nd place) vs. Italy (Group B 3rd place)- 12:30 p.m.
- Lithuania (Group D 1st place) vs. Georgia (Group C 3rd place) - 3 p.m.
Which teams stumbled their way to the knockout stage?
Among the group winners, I'd say Lithuania is the shakiest since they had a few too many close games (remember Belgium's buzzer beater anyone?). That said, they are playing a Georgia team that lost each of its first three games including their opener against the Netherlands.
Another mild disappointment is Germany, who went 1-4 in Group 4 and are eliminated. That said, the Germans played in a really, REALLY stacked group of six teams with Serbia, Spain, Italy, AND Turkey advancing to the knockout stage.
Which teams could make a deeper than expected run?
Every country except Iceland won at least one game in EuroBasket 2015's group stage. The games in the group stage have been very competitive, so I'll pass on which team ends up being a Cinderella.
But between Poland and the Czech Republic I think the Czechs have a better chance to defeat the Croatians than the Polish can with the Spanish.
I like Belgium too given that they are one of the best teams from the three point line. But they are playing the undefeated Greek team so they will be a tall task for them.
Which team was the biggest disappointment in group play?
I fully expected to see Russia make the knockout stage, but they lost each of their first four games until beating Bosnia and Herzegovina in their group finale.
The semi-silver lining is that Russia's four losses were all by single digits. Three of their losses (Israel, Russia, and Finland) were by just two or three points. Either way, this puts a huge dent in their hopes for making the Olympics, where they were the Bronze Medalists in the 2012 London games.
Which team would have been a great "feel-good" team to see in the knockout stage, but ultimately failed to get there?
The Netherlands is the runaway winner. The Dutch haven't been in EuroBasket since 1989 and their roster has no NBA players. In fact, they almost didn't field a team a couple years ago in a continent where the sport is otherwise quite popular. For some perspective, just look at their geographical neighbors Belgium and Germany. Either way, I don't think most would have expected much from a team with the Dutch's circumstances.
All that said, the Netherlands beat Georgia who has an NBA player in Zaza Pachulia. They played Slovenia, Croatia, and Greece (WHO HAVE GIANNIS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!) competitively from start to finish as well, losing their games by just a possession or two. The only "disappointment" was their loss to Macedonia, who is the only reason why the Dutch aren't part of the Final 16.
If you're one of our Dutch readers, I know that there's not much consolation in the fact that the national team didn't make the knockout rounds. But the Netherlands showed that they
can be ARE now an up and coming team in FIBA Europe. Their performance in EuroBasket 2015 is something they can build on for the future.