Can Turkey live up to expectations?

Slovenia are next. Question is, can they silence the partizan crowd inside the Sinan Erdem Arena – or are they Turkey’s next victims?

Eventhough the United States of America impressed against Angola yesterday – there is one ticket that basketball fans in Turkey want at the moment.. That is the hosts against the men in green, Slovenia. It is Turkey that are making all the noise right now. Their last-16 mauling of France on Sunday night a chilling statement – and adding to that, a fanatical crowd of 15,000, all loyal to their heroes in red-and-white.

Faultless in their first six games, the hosts have racked up big wins against Greece, Russia and, of course, the French. Along with wins against Ivory Coast, Puerto Rico and China. Under the leadership of NBA star, Hedo Turkoglu, Turkey are currently undefeated.

Against France, the hosts opened up a gap, scoring 13 points off 11 first-half turnovers, and by the time the full-time stats were printed – Turkey had racked up 21 points off 17 turnovers – as France could not find a way past the ongoing barricade, that is the Turkish defence, currently the best in the World Championships, relinquishing just over 60 points, per-game. Offensively, they stand fifth, averaging 81 points, per-game.

Slovenia, on paper will provide the sternest test for Bogdan Tanjevic’s men, tomorrow night.

“I don’t know. I think we are ready, but also Slovenia are. They play with great intensity and it’s going to be another test for us.” Tanjevic commented, when asked if Turkey can be stopped, and if Slovenia will be the team to do so?

Minus the blip against the United States, Slovenia have been playing attractive basketball themselves. Hitting 16 three-pointers on their way to a comfortable 87-58 victory against Australia in the last-16, on Sunday evening. They have also beaten a fancied Brazil side, on route to the quarter finals.

With Spain and the United States the chosen sides to meet in the final on September 12th, are we underestimating the Turkish value? Can Turkey live up to the hype that the country is giving them?

John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net