The 2013 EuroBasket tournament continues Thursday in Slovenia and will feature the first games for Group F -- the newly formed round-robin pool following Monday's 12 team exile. Thursday's games should be very competitive, too, considering how well its constituents played in the first round.
Thursday's three matchups will feature Finland vs. Croatia, Greece vs. Spain and Slovenia vs. Italy -- who combined for a 23-7 record in the first round -- but the Spaniards are the team to watch as they've been playing some of the prettiest basketball in the world thus far in the tournament.
Former Portland Trail Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez leads a very solid Spanish team with 11.6 points per game, but it's impossible to key in on just one Spanish team member due to their loads of offensive weaponry. NBA-experienced veterans Ricky Rubio, Marc Gasol, Sergio Rodriguez and Jose Calderon round out Spain's top five scorers ... and that doesn't even include Sergio Llull or Victor Claver, two other players with NBA experience and the ability to help carry the team when called upon this tournament.
Greece isn't going to roll over for Spain, but they did finish the first portion of pool-play with a pair of losses to Finland and Italy to sort of limp into the second round of tournament. Vassilis Spanoulis, a member of the Houston Rockets during the 2006-07 season, is Greece's current leading scorer with 13.7 points per game. The rest of their roster isn't loaded in terms of recognizable names in America, but their roster is littered with very good European players.
Finland vs. Croatia features two surprising teams with 4-1 records, but the Finnish squad won't look quite the same now that 37-year-old veteran big Hanno Mottolo is out due to injury. Former NBAer Petteri Kopponen will still score for Finland, though, but it might not be enough to combat a talented Croatian squad led by future Brooklyn Nets forward Bojan Bogdanovic.
Italy ended the first round as the only team to win all five of their games, but new San Antonio Spurs wing Marco Bellinelli and Co. will have their hands full with a Slovenian squad led by Goran Dragic of the Phoenix Suns.
Thursday's full schedule is included below, converted to Eastern Time for our American readers:
8:30 a.m. - Finland (4-1) vs. Croatia (4-1)
11:45 a.m. - Greece (3-2) vs. Spain (4-1)
3 p.m. - Slovenia (3-2) vs. Italy (5-0)