Eurobasket 2022: Group A – Preview, Tips & Odds
In terms of quality, group A will be the weakest in the tournament.
The best team is Spain, which is not among the top 5 favorites to win the gold medal. Turkey and Georgia are the second and third best teams by quality. Montenegro and Belgium should fight for fourth place, while Bulgaria is the biggest outsider here.
All matches will be played in Tbilisi in the hall that was built in 2015 and can accommodate around 10,000 visitors.
Although they are reigning world champions, Spain doesn’t come to this tournament as one of the main favorites, at least in the opinion of bookmakers. Many players are not here for various reasons, plus Sergio Llull was injured a few days ago, so he will miss Eurobasket too.
Starting playmaker will be Lorenzo Brown, who was naturalized only for this tournament, and this move was judged by some Spanish media. Starting guard position is reserved for veteran Rudy Fernandez, while the Hernangomez brothers and Xabi Lopez-Arosteguiare are among the players with experience on this roster.
Spain comes to the Eurobasket after two convincing wins in the World Cup qualifiers. They beat Netherlands and Iceland with an average difference of 26 points. Against Lithuania, they suffered two close defeats in friendly games, while they achieved one victory and one defeat against Greece.
Considering that players like Ricky Rubio, Sergio Llull, Sergio Rodriguez, Alex Abrines, and Alberto Abalde are missing, the expectations are not the same as in previous tournaments. Spain will have no problem getting through the group stage, probably from first place, but already in the round of 16, they will face France, Lithuania, Slovenia, or Germany. That could very easily be an insurmountable obstacle for Sergio Scariolo’s team.
Turkey will be one of the most followed national teams at this Eurobasket. One of the main reasons is head coach Ergin Ataman, who tends to be always in the center of attention. He will also be the biggest star of his selection, even though there are several excellent players on the roster.
Shane Larkin, as starting playmaker, will have a slightly different role than in Anadolu Efes, while Furkan Korkmaz and Melih Mahmutoglu are two shooting guards. Cedi Osman comes after a solid season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and among notable players, there are also Alperin Sengun and Sertac Sanli.
In the previous few days, Turkey suffered two tough defeats against Latvia and Serbia in the World Cup qualifiers. They only theoretically remained in the hunt for top 3 in their group. The biggest problem is the lack of creativity. Apart from Larkin, they don’t have a playmaker, plus it’s not a primary position for Larkin either. All the problems of this team start from there.
If you ask coach Ataman, he will always say that his goal is to win the Eurobasket. Realistically, anything further than the round of 16 will be a great success in this tournament for Turkey. However, just like Spain, they can hardly overcome one of the top four selections from group B.
Georgia gathered the strongest squad for this Eurobasket since group A will be played on their court in Tbilisi. Unfortunately for them, they had bad luck. The most important player of this national team, Toko Shengelia, was injured last week and he will miss this tournament.
The offensive organization will be completely in the hands of talented Rati Andronikashvili and Thad McFadden, while the frontcourt will be handled by NBA players Goga Bitadze and Sandro Mamukelashvili. They also have Giorgi Shermadini under the rim, who has been one of the best Georgian basketball players for years.
In two qualifying matches for the World Cup, Georgia achieved one win. As expected, they beat the Netherlands, while they lost on the road to Italy.
Georgia’s primary goal is to leave a good impression and achieve as many wins as possible on the group stage. They play at home and in every match they will try to triumph. It is realistic for them to finish in second or third place, and that is their maximum in this tournament.
Montenegro will be weakened at this Eurobasket because their best player Nikola Vucevic won’t play. He decided to rest this summer and devote himself to family obligations. It is a big blow to the ambitions of this selection, but they will certainly have something to offer even without him.
The biggest star will be Valencia center Bojan Dubljevic. In the frontcourt, he will play in a pair with Marko Simonovic, who spent the previous season with the Chicago Bulls. Starting playmaker will be naturalized player Kendrick Perry. Vladimir Mihailovic and Dino Radoncic are two guards who will also play an important role in this team.
Last week, Montenegro achieved an extremely important and convincing win against Bosnia and Herzegovina (88:69) in the World Cup qualifiers. They were also defeated by a similar margin in Lithuania, and that is their reality at the moment.
Montenegro has a goal to qualify for the round of 16 in this tournament. On paper, they are the fourth-best national team, and they will have to prove that in games against Belgium and Bulgaria.
Belgium will participate in the Eurobasket for the fifth time in a row, and they come to this competition with great confidence. They have achieved some extremely big wins in the recent period and believe they can continue at the same pace in Tbilisi.
Belgium’s key players are Ismail Bako and Retin Obasohan. Both of them signed Euroleague contracts this summer, which is a confirmation of their quality. Head coach Dario Gjergja gives a lot of minutes to Manu Lecomte and Pierre-Antoine Gillet, and they play an important role in this team as well.
Two months ago, Belgium shocked Serbia in Nis and thus took a big step towards next year’s World Cup. When you defeat a national team like Serbia twice in a short period of time, it only confirms that you have quality. Last week they easily beat Great Britain, while in Greece, they suffered a convincing defeat as expected.
Belgium aims to reach round of 16, but it won’t be an easy task at all. A big advantage is that the whole team has been playing together for several years and they are perfectly coordinated, and this could be an advantage compared to some rivals in this group.
Bulgaria qualified for Eurobasket for the first time in 11 years, and this is a huge success for them. When it comes to the roster, the absolute first name of this national team is Sasha Vezenkov. Olympiacos’ power forward had an outstanding season in Piraeus, and he will be the true leader of his team.
Naturalized playmaker Dee Bost, who has been playing for Bulgaria for years, is in charge of organizing the offense, while Chavdar Kostov, Stanimir Marinov, and Yordan Minchev will also play an important role.
Bulgaria defeated Cyprus and Romania without any problems last week, but they also suffered heavy defeats against the Czech Republic and Croatia in friendly games. That shows that their quality is simply far from a high level at this moment.
Objectively speaking, Bulgaria is by far the weakest team in Group A. It’s not impossible for them to end the Eurobasket with all five defeats, but it is possible that they will achieve one win. Advancing to the round of 16 would be a sensation.
Spain has much more experience than all the other teams combined, and that should help them to finish first in this group. Turkey is probably the best in terms of quality, while Georgia is playing in front of home fans, and they will surely get the most out of it.
The fourth place probably will be decided in a direct clash between Belgium and Montenegro. We give the advantage to Belgium primarily because of their good form in the past period. Bulgaria is simply the weakest team here.