Monday didn’t just bring with it sadness for Denver Broncos fans and joy for the 12th Man of the Seattle Seahawks. Monday brought forth excitement for basketball fans around the world. 2014 is the FIBA Basketball World Cup, which begins in 207 days. The draw for the team groupings happened on Monday.
European basketball, aka EuroBasket, is well represented by notable NBA players (former and current), and plenty of them were in action on Friday in the semi-finals between Spain and France. France boasted a lineup of Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, Alexis Ajinca and Mickael Gelabale. Spain also had plenty of familiar names like Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez and Victor Claver. Unfortunately for Spain, they were missing two key players in Pau Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro.
The quarterfinal round of EuroBasket ’13 began Wednesday. With only six available spaces for the 2014 World Cup, seven of the remaining eight teams are battling it out to make it to the Spain next year.
In case you missed it, Mexico won the Tournament of the Americas. Yes, Mexico, which hadn’t qualified for a World Championship Cup in 40 years. Gustavo Ayon of the Atlanta Hawks was the tournament MVP. What does this have to do with Eurobasket ’13? Only the fact that you never know what is going to happen in a FIBA tournament, as witnessed by what we are currently seeing in Slovenia.
Wednesday brought forth the first day of the preliminary round of EuroBasket ’13. This year’s EuroBasket has a lot on the line. Of the 24 teams competing, only six teams will earn spots in the inaugural 2014 Basketball World Cup. Among the teams competing, the two-time defending EuroBasket champion Spanish national team. [AJ Mitnick: EuroBasket '13 Preview] The first day of action saw a lot of close games with a few blowouts sprinkled in for good measure. Preliminary Round – Day 1GROUP ASep. 4, 2013
Group C Likely To Advance 1. Spain Known as the most powerful basketball country outside of the United States, the winners of the past two Eurobaskets will once again be the favorites to win gold in Slovenia this summer. What is really crazy is that Spain is the favorite to win the tournament, but their list of players absent this year, which includes Pau Gasol, Serge Ibaka, future Chicago Bull and Spanish league MVP Nikola Mirotic, Juan Carlos Navarro, Victor Sada and Felipe
The last time Real Madrid made a Euroleague Final Four, Maccabi stomped on them 82-63 in Barcelona to advance to the 2011 Finals. Two years later, Real Madrid is the first Euroleague team to ensure their place in the Euroleague’s final weekend. This year it will be in London. The team Madrid swept to get there?