Eight teams remain in the hunt for the gold in the ongoing FIBA EuroBasket 2017. Powerhouse teams line every corner of either bracket leading to the finals. The first quarterfinal game will be held tonight. Defending champions, Spain and an upstart and hungry German squad will take to the hardwood to book their seat in the semifinals.
Spain has yet to taste defeat in the competition. With their depth of talent at all positions, they have proven to be dangerous opponents. Meanwhile, Germany has been riding high on the impressive performance of Dennis Schroder, who has ably taken up the mantle of leadership of the team. Spain is in the process of passing on a great legacy of awesome international dominance. The Gasol brothers (Pau and Marc) have been the elder statesmen at the forefront of the team’s frontcourt depth. Another pair of young(er) siblings, the Hernangomez brothers are learning from some of the best in the world they will soon be tapped to carry the torch for Spain in future. Both Sergio Rodriguez and Ricky Rubio have been doing an excellent job at quarterbacking the offense for the team. Rubio, especially, was instrumental in Spain’s dominant victory over Turkey in the Round of 16. Yes, they are the heavy favorites to repeat for another FIBA title, but the road to the trophy will only get harder and harder. Should they dispatch with Germany, they will have the unsavory burden of facing off with the winner of the Latvia-Slovenia game tomorrow.
Speaking of the Latvia-Slovenia contest, this star studded affair will be one to watch. Goran Dragic and his wealth of experience will look to lead his team passed a surging Latvian contingent, led by New York Knicks superstar Kristaps Porzingis. Will the “Dragon” be able to torch Latvia for the win or will Porzingis and his amazing all-around skill set prevail in the end? Regardless of the outcome, the winner will most likely have to contend with a well rested Spanish Armada in the semis. Their game will take place on September 13.
The other game set to tip off on the 13th will be between Greece and Russia. Greece has clawed and ground their way into the knockout rounds, with great credit going to the two-way play of Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Russia, on the other hand, has been leaning on the resurgence of veteran Alexey Shved, who has seemingly stayed on fire throughout the tournament. Can he keep it up? Or will a younger Greek squad win in a battle of attrition through pace?
The fourth and final game in the quarterfinals can be looked at as a contrast in styles. Serbia has the depth when it comes to bodies in the paint, with talent like Ognjen Kuzmic setting the tone. Italy has been banking on their sharp shooting from deep to bombard their foes into submission. Marco Belinelli has been shooting the lights out of his competition, forcing opposing defenses to spread out, a situation Italy has managed to capitalize on up to this point. It will boil down to consistency and whether or not Belinelli can stay hot. If Italy has managed to live by the trey, they will also fall due to the trey, if theirs do not find their mark. Again, this will be a game that should impress fans from all over.