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FIBA U19 World Championship: 2nd round recap

July 7th, 2011 · No Comments

The second round is done at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Riga and we see both Australia and the United States of America going out on the top of their respective groups. The major disappointment comes of course from the hosts of Latvia who finished last in Group E after losing 4 games in a row. Their initial victory over Australia did not really help them in the end.

Next to the two above mentioned qualified teams, the confirmation comes from Poland that is doing this tournament only as a preparation for their home U18 European Championship. But for a preparation, this is a real one as the team around Mateusz Ponitka finished second in Group E. Rafal Juc gives us more information on the team.

Poland advanced to the second round in very good style, after a big win 87:70 against the runner-up of the U18 European Championship from last summer – Russia. Until this win, the Polish team was not treated too seriously by the other competitors as the federation sent only the U18 team to Latvia. But after the game with Russia, people started to think about Poland as one of the best teams of the U19 World Championship. In the second round Jerzy Szambelan’s team defeated Argentina and Latvia, but was beaten by Australia and in the 1/4 finals, they will now face Lithuania. It will be very tough game, especially as last year on the European Championship, Lithuania crashed the Polish team 87:66.

The win against Argentina was very important, but in that game, the starting playmaker Grzegorz Grochowski injured his leg. Without him, Poland defeated Latvia, although it was a crazy game. In the first half, Poland led by more than 20 points, but after the break, the opponents started to use press defense and Poland got scored on a lot of easy baskets. It should be noticed that after Grochowski’s injury, the Polish team has got only two, not so experienced playmakers. Both are only 17. Jan Grzeliński has some problems, because he is very thin and to be honest, Daniel Szymkiewiczis not true PG. He can play as point-forward, but in his club he plays as SG and SF. It caused that Poland had got problems with organization in attack and made a lot of turnovers.

Next disadvantage of the Polish team is the fact that coach Jerzy Szambelan has not got valuable players on the bench, except Tomasz Gielo. The fatigue of polish players was easy to observe especially in the game versus Australia. Poland didn’t play their aggressive defense and for example Mateusz Ponitka, who one day before scored 26 points, had big problems with shooting. The day of rest today can be a key to success for Polish team, especially if Grochowski will return to the court.

With Lithuania only finishing third in their group because of their defeat against Croatia, the favorites for Gold need to face the strong Polish team in the Quarter-Finals. While lots of observers will see here the direct opposition of two of the most talented young big guys in Europe with Jonas Valanciunas and Przemyslaw Karnowski, the key player will most likely be Ponitka who can play lock-down defense on one side and come up with big scoring numbers on the other side. The absence because of injuries of the respective PGs (Grochowski and Cizauskas) and their possible return for this game is certainly another key. But the duel of the big guys will be highly interesting to follow.

Croatia comes out second of the Group F after having been the only team able to beat the United States so far in this tournament. They are basically built around 4 key players which are Dario Saric, Boris Barac, Toni Katic and Mario Hezonja. These four account for more than 3/4 of the whole Croatian scoring. When they will face Argentina in the Quarters, it should be no questions in terms of talent level who will win but the ups and downs of the Croats might open a door for the Gauchos to reach the semi-finals. It will in any case be a nice opposition of style between the hard fighting South Americans and the highly talented team from the Balkan.

The fourth places in the respective groups went to Serbia and Russia. Serbia edged the Canadian team pretty clearly in the group game while the Russians needed the support of Argentina to qualify for the last 8. The team around Alexander Varnakov will have to play against the USA in a game that the Americans should be able to dominate. On the other hand, Australia needs to put in all their effort to beat a dangerous Serbian team. The schedule for the Quarter-Finals is the following in Central European Times:

  • 13h30: Poland – Lithuania (CET – local 14h30 – US ET 7.30 am)
  • 15h45: Russia – USA (CET – local 16h45 – US ET 9.45 am)
  • 18h00: Australia – Serbia (CET – local 19h00 – US ET 12.00 am)
  • 20h15: Argentina – Croatia (CET – local 21h15 – US ET 2.15 pm)

All these games can be followed LIVE on FIBA TV for 10.99€ which includes one month of access to FIBA TV (rest of FIBA U19 World Championship plus final phase of the U20 European Championship later this month).

Advanced Stats

The advanced stats of in-the-game have now three Lithuanians in the Top 10 in terms of Efficiency on a Pace-adjusted 28 minutes. While Jonas Valanciunas is topping the Ranking with 29.1 efficiency adjusted per game, Egidijius Mockevicius is now third with 20.8 and his real playing time even going down. He is superbly effective as a rotation player for the Lithuanian team while Vytenis Cizauskas remained in the Top 10 despite missing two games. Former leader Anthony Drmic struggled over the second phase phase while Alexander Varnakov and Piotr Nieedzwiedzki finish the Top10 from a European perspective.

Europeanprospects.com will fly to Riga tomorrow morning to cover the Final phase LIVE from the Arena and we can give you more detailed updates on the games.

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