WHO: Slovenia vs Poland
WHAT: After pulling away from Belgium late in the first elimination game, Slovenia faces off against Poland in the quarterfinals
WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin, Germany
WHEN: 1:30 p.m. CT
THE STORY: Slovenia faces off in the quarterfinals against a Polish national team, fresh off a victory over Ukraine. Poland placed third in Group D, notching victories over the Czech Republic, Israel, and Holland. They lost twice in group play, falling to Finland and Serbia.
Team Poland doesn’t have any players I’m familiar with, but the thing about a 40 minute basketball game is that anything can happen (just ask Greece, who fell yesterday to Germany or Serbia, who got outshot by Italy).
Belgium gave Slovenia all they could handle, between strong shooting and great offensive rebounding. It’s up to Slovenia to come out early and play a focused game if they want to advance to the semifinals where they’d play the winner between Italy and France.
With Zoran Dragic out for the rest of the tournament (thigh injury, caused after a drive to the basket), the Slovenian team will have to dig a little deeper. Edo Muric in particular could stand to have a better game on both sides of the ball. Free throws will also be a big factor for Slovenia if they can’t hit from deep (7 of 28 against Belgium). It should be a fun game no matter what, as the further teams get in this tournament, the more intense the pressure.