The FIBA EuroBasket 2013 tips off in Slovenia on Wednesday, September 4. The 24 countries competing for the championship title have been broken down into four groups of six teams.
Ukraine is in Group A, which includes France, Israel, Belgium, Great Britain, and Germany. Led by 3X NBA champion Tony Parker, France is the favorite to win our group and will be a top contender for the title as they look to take home their first gold medal.
The preliminary stage of EuroBasket competition is a round-robin in which we will play every team in our group once for a total of 5 games in 6 nights. For Group A the first round will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It will be a tremendous test for our young squad.
Only the top 3 teams from each group will advance to the second stage. Unfortunately, last year’s captain Artur Drozdov will not be able to compete with us in the tournament due to medical reasons. This is a big loss for Ukraine. We will sorely miss his veteran leadership and athleticism.
Ukraine will open up against Belgium on Wednesday evening. Belgium is a veteran squad whose average age is 29, so they have a lot of experience playing internationally. And they have a number of bigs who can shoot the ball well. On Thursday Ukraine will face Israel’s historically strong squad in Game 2, followed by Germany on Friday before everybody gets a day off to rest on day 4.
Our team has worked very hard this summer to prepare for EuroBasket 2013, and we look forward to the exciting opportunity to compete on the world stage. Belgium vs. Ukraine tips off at Tivoli Hall at 5:45 PM, which is 11:45 AM EST. Watch us live online on SportLemon.tv and cheer us to our first win of the tourney!