After a week’s worth of nonstop international action, the knockout round of EuroBasket 2017 is finally set.
What is EuroBasket?
It’s the biggest European basketball competition played every other year, and this was its 40th edition. EuroBasket is a 24-team tournament hosted in four countries — this year: Finland, Israel, Romania and Turkey — that determines which teams will qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
How did we get to the Knockout Round?
Teams from each group play a total of five games against one another. Like a standardized test, each team is awarded one point for showing up and another if they win the game.
The object of the tournament, up until the knockout round, is to land in the top four of the group by accruing more points than the other teams.
But group standing is also determined by other factors, including total number of points scored, point differential (points scored minus points allowed) and, of course, head-to-head results against group opponents.
That’s why Ukraine, dead last in Group B with a 1-3 record Wednesday morning, could have leapfrogged Georgia in the standings after defeating Israel.
After the group competition is finished, the seeded teams face-off in an elimination style tournament for gold.
Which NBA players are playing in Eurobasket?
Most of the 24 teams competing in Eurobasket 2017 feature NBA talent, including some of the league’s top young players.
France: Evan Fournier, Boris Diaw, Joffrey Lauvergne, Kevin Seraphin
Slovenia: Goran Dragic
Israel: Omri Casspi
Georgia: Zaza Pachulia
Lithuania: Jonas Valanciunas, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Donatas Motiejunas
Germany: Dennis Schroder, Daniel Theis, Isaiah Hartenstein
Turkey: Furkan Korkmaz
Finland: Lauri Markkanen
Greece: Kostas Papanikolaou, Georgios Papagiannis, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Nick Calathes
Croatia: Dragan Bender, Bojan Bogdanovic, Dario Saric
Spain: Pau Gasol, Sergio Rodriguez, Marc Gasol, Juancho Hernangomez, Willy Hernangomez, Alex Abrines
Serbia: Boban Marjanovic, Bogdan Bogdanovic
Montenegro: Nikola Vucevic
Czech Republic: Tomas Satoransky
Russia: Alexey Shved, Timofey Mozgov
Latvia: Kristaps Porzingis, Davis Bertans
Italy: Marco Belinelli
What about Team USA?
The United States played and won gold in the FIBA AmeriCup with Jeff Van Gundy coaching a group of G-League stars. You can read more about that here, but they’ve secured their spot in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, too.
OK ... so what happened on Wednesday?
Greece eliminated Poland
Greece could have found itself on the outside of the knockout round, a situation that would have stunned its fans after Giannis Antetokounmpo pulled out from EuroBasket competition due to knee pain. But thanks to 24 points and 10 assists from former Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes, Greece pulled off a dominant 95-77 victory that included a 26-14 second quarter and a 25-10 final period.
Greece has secured itself in a Round of 16 matchup against a tough opponent in Lithuania.
Ukraine leapfrogs Georgia
At the start of the day, Georgia held fourth place in Group B with a 2-2 record while Ukraine was dead last at 1-3. But with Georgia’s two-point loss to Italy and Ukraine’s 24-point blowout over Israel, the two countries were tied for the Round of 16.
Unfortunately, even though Georgia had more total points scored and a better point differential, it lost to Ukraine, 88-81, in its third game of the tournament. Because of that head-to-head loss and a tied record, Ukraine moves on to the Round of 16.
Slovenia 95, France 78
Greece 95, Poland 77
Finland 83, Iceland 79
Lithuania 89, Germany 72
Italy 71, Georgia 69
Ukraine 88, Israel 64
What happens next?
We know who’s made it to the knockout round, but Groups C and D still have games left to be played. And while those games mean absolutely nothing to the four teams on the outside of the Round of 16 looking in, they could determine seeding for several teams at the bottom of their group.
For example, Serbia, Latvia and Russia are each tied in Group D with 3-1 records and seven points, with Turkey lurking in the back with a 2-2 record and six points. But while Serbia plays Belgium (1-3) and Russia plays winless Great Britain, Latvia (D2) and Turkey (D4) go head-to-head in a game that could shake up their seeding for the knockout round.
Czech Republic vs. Croatia, 8 a.m.
Hungary vs. Spain, 10:45 a.m.
Montenegro vs. Romania, 1:30 p.m.
Russia vs. Great Britain, 7:15 a.m.
Belgium vs. Serbia, 10 a.m.
Latvia vs. Turkey, 1 p.m.
Poland (E): 1-4
Iceland (E): 0-5
Georgia (E): 2-3
Israel (E): 1-4
Czech Republic (E): 1-3
Romania (E): 0-4
Belgium (E): 1-3
Great Britain (E): 0-4
Round of 16
Germany vs. France (Sept. 9)
Spain vs. D4 (Sept. 10)
Slovenia vs. Ukraine (Sept. 9)
D2 vs. C3 (Sept. 10)
Lithuania vs. Greece (Sept. 9)
Croatia vs. D3 (Sept. 10)
Finland vs. Italy (Sept. 9)
D1 vs. C4 (Sept. 10)