Slovenia vs. Cape Verde: Wednesday, August 30th, 6:30 a.m. CET, 13.30 Europe
Cape Verde just made history Monday, securing their first win in a World Cup ever against Venezuela. The smallest nation in the tournament played with heart and never gave up, ending up on top against the Venezuelans 75-81.
Slovenia, almost certainly through to the next round after two victories out of two, cannot fall into the trap of coming into this matchup more relaxed than in their last game, however. Monday, they beat Georgia 67-88, with improved and more aggressive defense, especially on the perimeter. The hustle against the Georgian wall of bigs paid off.
But Cape Verde is no joke either. Despite being the new kid in this tournament, their tough play and hustle got them a victory over Venezuela, with Real Madrid center Edy Tavares leading the way with an impressive 14 rebounds, three assist and steals, as well as two blocks, despite only scoring six points. For Slovenia to win this matchup comfortably, they once again have to solve their problem of lack of size.
There were a lot of good signs from Slovenia in the last game, they looked comfortable and connected for most of the game, playing to their strengths with pace and hustle on the defensive end. Luka Doncic confirmed his spot as the MVP frontrunner at this point, securing 34 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals.
But Mike Tobey needs to be more involved on offense as well, running more pick and rolls with Luka Doncic and Klemen Prepelic. He only had six points in 33 minutes in this game and needs to be much more involved for Slovenia to make the deep run they hope for. This game against Cape Verde would be a great time to work on that chemistry that Tobey and Doncic have been known for.
The aggressive defense against Georgia led to a good amount of steals (9) in the last game, often before they had time to set up the offense. It would be great to see more of that Wednesday and in the next round, which looks to be much more difficult with potential matchups against contenders Germany and Australia.
How to watch: Courtside, ESPN+, NBA app
The first group stage for the World Cup started August 25th with Slovenia playing in Group F in Okinawa, Japan, where they face Cape Verde, Georgia and Venezuela.
If Slovenia advances to the Second Round, it will meet the best two teams from Group E, consisting of Germany, Finland, Australia, and one of the host nations, Japan.