EuroBasket 2011's Group E is, frankly, nasty. With Spain, Lithuania, France, Turkey, Serbia and Germany in place and only four spots in the knockout round available, two good teams were bound to be left out. After Friday's results in Vilnius, Lithuania, it's appearing that Turkey -- who placed second in the 2010 FIBA World Championships a year ago, losing only to an unbeatable Team USA -- could be in the cold and miss the 2012 London Olympics.
Turkey lost to Germany 73-67 on Friday, giving Dirk Nowitzki and company a boost in their difficult push to earn a spot in July's last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament. Only teams in the top six at EuroBasket will be admitted to that tournament, where three London bids are on the line. EuroBasket's two finalists move straight to London. The top four teams in Group E will move on to an eight-team single-elimination knockout round, where winning once in two games will get you into the qualifying tournament.
Serbia also lost on Friday, brutally falling to Spain 84-59. Those results left Serbia, Turkey and Germany tied at 1-3 in the second group stage, with Lithuania (who fell to group leader France) at 2-2 and Spain and France uncatchable. To move on, Turkey needs to beat Serbia on Sunday and for Lithuania to beat Germany. If Germany beats Lithuania, it will advance. Lithuania also advances with a win over Germany, or a loss coupled with a Turkey victory over Serbia. (Lithuania has a tie-breaker over Turkey via a win in the first group stage.) Serbia advances with a win over Turkey.
France and Spain will hook up, and the winner will be crowned the top seed from Group E, and will be due to face the fourth-place team from Group F, looking to be Slovenia, Greece or Georgia.