The FIBA EuroBasket 2013 continued to provide intriguing scenarios as the day of reckoning draws near. With Spain and France already booking their place in next year's FIBA World Cup, it's time for Croatia and Ukraine to settle things once and for all.
FIBA EuroBasket 2013 -Croatia vs. Ukraine
Croatia vs. Ukraine - 11:45 p.m
From the four quarterfinal pairings, the Croatia vs. Ukraine appears to be the most intriguing of all as it features team with no legitimate NBA player. Bojan Bogdanovic, who could have been a member of the New Jersey Nets next season if the buyout with current ball club works out, has been providing big numbers for the Ukrainians, who's easily the most surprising team to come out of the elimination round.
After dropping their first game against the Spaniard, Croatia went on to win their last seven games, including three big second round victories against Finland, Italy and Greece. Their recent success granted them a quarterfinal showdown against the last quarterfinal qualifier in Group E- Ukraine.
Bogdanovic is expected to carry the scoring load for Croatia, but guys like Roko Ukic and Damir Markota are always ready to step up. On the other hand, Ukraine will likely lea on former Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Pooh Jeter and star forward Sergi Gladyr, who wants his latest stint in EuroBasket memorable.
I am now 24 and I had never been at a EuroBasket, so it was kind of a dream for me to be here," he said. "I realised this is the chance to do something big, and I am proud to be a part of this team.
"[EuroBasket] is everything I expected. It is a tough basketball competition with really good players and teams, it's hard to compete here, so this was the kind of game I expected," Gladyr told FIBA EuroBasket.
In an unexpected tournament, I have Ukraine pulling off a stunner over Croatia in this one. Let me get things straight here, Croatia is a very solid team with good depth in their frontline. However, the absence of a solid perimeter defender will allow the Ukrainians athletic guard - especially Jeter - to easily break through their defense just like Spain's guards did in the opening game. I have Ukraine winning by three points.
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