Bilbao, Spain – With group stage now complete at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, we take a look at the 16 remaining squads entering the knockout round. Teams marked with an asterisk are expected to advance into the quarterfinals.
*Australia (3-2): After losing the opener to Slovenia, Australia won three of its next four including a big win over Lithuania. Aron Baynes has led the squad with team-highs in points (17.2) and rebounds (7.0) per game while Joe Ingles has been a pleasant surprise and reportedly earned NBA intrigue. Australia will face Turkey in the Round of 16 and will likely have a rematch with Lithuania if they advance.
Argentina (3-2): Luis Scola has paved the way for Argentina thus far, averaging 21.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. He’s the second leading scorer in the tournament and the only Argentinian averaging double-figures in the scoring column. If Argentina hopes to advance deep into the tournament, Scola will need some offensive help. Andres Nocioni and Pablo Prigioni have been solid but will need to step up against Brazil.
*Brazil (4-1): Brazil’s only loss thus far has been to Spain as they had single-digit victories against tough French and Serbian squads. Leandro Barbosa is leading the team in scoring at 13.6 points per game while Anderson Varejao is collecting a team-high 7.6 rebounds per contest. Brazil will face Argentina in the Round of 16.
*Croatia (3-2): Bojan Bogdanovic and recent draft pick Dario Saric have led Croatia to a 3-2 record and second place finish in Group B. Bogdanovic is averaging an efficient 20.0 points per game on 47.6 percent shooting while Saric is adding 13.2 points and 6.6 rebounds. They’ll face France to open the knockout round.
Dominican Republic (2-3): Without Al Horford and Karl Townes, the Dominican Republic made a surprise run to the knockout round. Francisco Garcia has been one of the best scorers in the tournament, averaging 20.2 points per game on 61.2 percent shooting, but missed the last game of group play with an ankle injury. They’ll need Garcia’s scoring to have a chance against Slovenia.
France (3-2): France has played in some close games early on, with a two-point loss to Brazil, one-point win over Serbia, and a five-point win against Iran. Joffrey Lauvergne is the only player on the French roster averaging double figures, at 10.8 points per game, and also leads the team in rebounding. Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw have also been contributing in multiple areas. France will play Croatia in the Round of 16.
*Greece (5-0): The Greeks have been a bit of a surprise as one of only three undefeated teams remaining. Giannis Bourousis is averaging a double-double with 12.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game while Georgios Printezis and Nick Calathes were double-digit scorers in the group stage. Giannis Antetokounmpo was held in check, averaging just 6.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Greece will play Serbia in the Round of 16.
*Lithuania (4-1): Jonas Valanciunas and Donatas Motiejunas have been the 1-2 punch for Lithuania, combining for 21.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Their lone blemish in the group stage came in a seven-point loss to Australia. They could get their revenge if they take down New Zealand and Australia handles Turkey in the Round of 16.
Mexico (2-3): Mexico advanced to the knockout round primarily due to the play of Gustavo Ayon, who averaged team-highs with 15.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in the group stage. Francisco Cruz and Hector Hernandez have also been double-digit scorers. Unfortunately, they’ll have to face the US in the Round of 16.
New Zealand (2-3): New Zealand sneaked into the knockout round after winning a tie-breaker over Ukraine. Kirk Penney has led the squad at 11.8 points per game and also added 5.0 rebounds per contest. Isaac Fotu has also been impressive with 9.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. They’ll have a tough task ahead against Lithuania.
Senegal (2-3): Gorgui Dieng has been the star for Senegal and recorded three double-doubles in five games. He’s averaging 18.0 points and 11.4 rebounds per game and is even second on the squad in the assist category. Senegal will need another huge game from Dieng and a breakout performance from the rest of the squad to have a chance against Spain.
Serbia (2-3): Miroslav Raduljica and Nemanja Bjelica have led the Serbian squad thus far, with Raduljica averaging 14.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game and Bjelica averaging 12.6 points to go with 6.8 rebounds per contest. Serbia will need to dominate inside to top the undefeated Greeks.
*Slovenia (4-1): With a lone three-point loss to Lithuania, Slovenia has been impressive thus far. Goran Dragic is leading the team in points (17.4) and assists (4.0) per game while shooting 60.7 from the field. His brother, Zoran, has added another 12.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. This has been a solid team that will face the Dominican Republic in the Round of 16. Unfortunately, a win will likely place them against the USA in the quarterfinals.
*Spain (5-0): Spain entered this tournament as the favorites to face the USA in the finals and all signs are pointing towards that result. Pau Gasol leads the team with 21.2 points per game and his brother, Marc, leads the squad with 6.8 rebounds per contest. Juan Carlos Navarro has been an effective scoring guard while Ricky Rubio leads the tournament with 5.8 assists per game. Add Rudy Fernandez and Serge Ibaka’s strong play to an already solid core, and Spain has a chance to top the USA.
Turkey (3-2): Emir Preldzic and Omer Asik have led Turkey out of the group stage and will be expected to perform at a high level against Lithuania. Predlzic is leading the team in scoring (11.8) and assists per game (4.2) and is also chipping in 5.0 rebounds. Asik is leading the team with 9.2 rebounds per game while adding 10.8 points. Other role players will need to have a big game against Lithuania.
*USA (5-0): Despite one close call against Turkey, the USA has had no issues cruising to a 5-0 record. Anthony Davis leads the team with 15.8 points per game and has also added 6.4 rebounds. Kenneth Faried has been perhaps the biggest surprise, contributing 13.8 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game. James Harden and Klay Thompson have also been double-digit scorers. With the star power leading the USA, the Americans shouldn’t have another big test until the semi-finals.
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