The early expectations I had for Bosnia are slowly vanishing after having noticed their way of play in the preparation matches.

Once again, my research is objective, meaning I have a formula depending on percentages, however, when a team doesn’t have a decent background, but at least they can spread the load to several key players from the small forward to the center positions, it allows them to become less predictable on 5on5 occasions. From then on, they can have specific ways of

exposing opposing defenses with their frontcourt talents. However, all I see is Mirza, Mirza, Mirza, when Bajramovic and Milko Bjelica are also in the picture. This to me looks like a tough case to get them through the 1st round, especially with Varda and Hodzic already kicked out of the tournament. {jathumbnail off}

Group C qual. 30%, group F qual. 6%, to win it all 0.60%


Similarly to Finland, but with some decent depth in the front court (despite Hervelle’s injury, as they replaced him with Mbenga) and with an easier group to qualify to the 2nd round, Belgium is only lacking talent to be considered a solid team in this tournament. Other than that, they fight in every single game, they sometimes win and they have beat the spread in most of their friendly matchups. This means that they usually lose by less points than expected, but it can also mean that most people (opponents or bookies) underestimate Belgium’s team effort, good defense and ability to be competitive. With Faison and Van Rossum being the keys to the perimeter, they won’t go far, but I think that winning a spot to the 2nd stage is not out of the question for them

Group D qual. 35%, group F qual. 7%, to win it all 0.70%


Casspi or not (anyway, this must have been the longest talk of the summer), Israel shows some promise, lastly having thrashed Russia in their recent preparation matchup. With a good starting five and their typical toughness and team spirit will not give away any win, if someone underrates them. Obviously, as it has happened in many cases, they can severely underperform, but Eliyahu and Halperin as leaders are usually productive for them and the group B’s mid-tier teams (Germany and Italy) are not out of reach for the Israeli NT. The task remains tough for them, since they will need to beat both to finish 3rd in the group and make it through the 1st round, but for now, they can be considered competitive even with their lack of depth

Group B qual. 28%, group E qual. 5%, to win it all 0.82%


Georgia is not a better team than Israel, but they have a much easier group, that will probably allow them to be active and contend for the 2nd stage qualification with more chances to make it. What does Georgia have, besides Pachulia, a legit NBA bigman? They have depth at all the frontcourt and worries at the backcourt. But, their schedule is balanced and their opponents for the 3rd spot are looking weaker in most positions than the Georgians. In other words, at their best game, the Georgian team has more upside than Belgium, Bulgaria and Ukraine and there might be one small chance they can beat one of the two big teams of the group, something that looks impossible for the rest of the 3rd place competition

Group D qual. 30%, group F qual. 9%, to win it all 0.86%


Always fighting, pretty much the twin brother of Israel at this case, FYROM has been a Eurobasket-level team for some time now and is not one of these teams that are underperforming. Of course they won’t scare anyone talent-wise, but in Group C, they have some serious chances of qualifying in the 2nd stage, especially with Greece being in a refreshment period, Croatia looking unstable in friendly games and Montenegro lacking some backcourt depth. McCalebb and Ilievski are decent players to depend on at this group and, if their wings overachieve, then top12 is a logical expectation from this team

Group C qual. 30%, group E qual. 9%, to win it all 0.86%


I am not sure if they would be ranked higher with Ben Gordon playing for them this summer, since their 1st round group is ridiculously talented, but probably their toughest loss will always be Pops Mensah-Bonsu. In such a long tournament, his rebounding and defense could be key for the team’s success. Anyway, even without those two, the Brits are looking fairly good in the friendlies and they possess some talent that will give them a win or two. Turkey’s recent struggles could give them a slight chance of finishing third in Group A, but even if this happens, they are not looking likely to do much more. Not to worry though. The Olympics 2012 are in London and they are already booked to play there and play full team. Fair or not, their chance doesn’t come before next summer, so it would be wise to keep Van Oostrum and Richards in the final roster to give them some experience for the coming summer

Group A qual. 33%, group E qual. 10%, to win it all 1.55%


In every match they will play it is likely that Bargnani, Belinelli, Mancinelli and Gallinari will all have 10 or more points. But Italy doesn’t have the chance to win many games in this tournament, since there isn’t a single point guard that can benefit from the presence of these talented players. Looking like the sole decent option to lead this team, Gallinari could be playing point forward at some moments, but yet again, defense and frontcourt depth could be worries in such a tough Group B. Theoretically, of course, Italy can contend against Serbia and France in some limited occasions, but it isn’t as they would even appear as favorites against Germany for the top12 qualification matchup. Things would have been better if they had played more competitive friendly games

Group B qual. 43%, group E qual. 14%, to win it all 2.12%


Very puzzling thought is where to place Germany, probably the sole team that can beat Serbia and lose to Latvia at the same week. They did play for two summers without Nowitzki and they didn’t look bad, but again, they weren’t talented enough. One thing everyone knows is that they try their best and that keeping the same coach for long has brought them a silver medal and several good placings. But, since Dirk (and Kaman) came back, it might have only been three games, but their recently brought up new chemistry doesn’t seem to exist anymore. They will have to put the two NBA players into the system, otherwise this group will not be very friendly for them. They already have Serbia and France in. In order to not only qualify but also place themselves well enough for the 2nd round, they will need to at least beat on of the two heavyweights in the 1st round and this doesn’t sound very likely with such a thin backcourt

Group B qual. 53%, group E qual. 24%, to win it all 3.57%


In their first Eurobasket appearance and having dominated Division B and Qualification matches in the last two summers, Montenegro was looking promising for this tournament. An easy schedule and a very good frontcourt would, even without Vujosevic be good enough for them to start considering the quarter-finals. But, so far it’s not been so good without a single decent starting shooting guard at this level and with Omar Cook being almost alone running the point. Both Greece and Croatia are not out of reach of course, but the scary thought can have them losing to any of the weak teams and start considering top12 qualification as their peak at this tournament. The good news of course is that there isn’t another mid-tier team with a center as effective as Nikola Pekovic

Group C qual. 55%, group F qual. 46%, to win it all 4.57%


Last year Turkey shocked me and I am guessing many other people with their great defense, their dominant presence both sides of the floor (ok, they also had a night off in the title game, where Serbia should be playing) and all of these guided by Tanjevic’s smart coaching. Nothing of the above exists now, despite having an upgrade (or two, they have both Kanter and Predzlic after all) on the roster. Their gameplan is ugly, some of the stars (Tunceri and Turkoglu more than the rest) look uninterested and old, Ilyasova has always been better as a secondary option and, with Kanter in, it’s a crime to trust the pure role players Asik and Erden more. The way things look, Turkey has stll many chances to learn how will the tournament help them benefit from its long duration and change their “3-point only or ball to Asik” plan. This way, they can take advantage of the overall very good talent and depth they possess and the other teams’ limitations due to injuries. But they need to be careful in the 1st stage and thus, beat all the must-win games in order to keep going

Group A qual. 65%, group E qual. 39%, to win it all 5.84%

Tomorrow we will present the 1-8 rankings, so stay tuned.

The article was written by Dimitris Ritsonis. Dimitris is in the basketball business as a trader. He currently works for one of Europe’s leading betting companies. You can follow him on twitter @wardjdim