After an underwhelming start, Tbilisi prepares for a dazzling finish

Edvinas Jablonskis
Daily Editor
2022-09-07 06:45

On the last day of Group A, Tbilisi might have a turn of events like none of the other groups, with four teams finishing the group stage with a 2-3 record.

Credit: FIBA

Poor attendance, mediocre organization, and incidents on and off the court. It's fair to say that EuroBasket 2022 for Tbilisi didn't go as smoothly as everyone wanted.

Nevertheless, as Turkey's head coach Ergin Ataman said, everyone came here for basketball. And on the last day of Group A, Tbilisi might have a turn of events like none of the other groups.

Firstly, Spain and Turkey will test each other to determine which team will take first place, but the most interesting things could be left for the evening.

After Spain's, Turkey's, and Bulgaria's wins, four teams – Belgium, Georgia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro may end up with the same 2-3 record. For this to happen, Bulgaria will need to beat Belgium and Georgia to win against Montenegro.

So, which teams will qualify in case we have such a turn of events? BasketNews takes a look at all cases and possible scenarios.

Before that, let us remind you about the FIBA tiebreak system, in case more than 2 teams have the same record.

If 2 or more teams have the same win-loss record of all games in the group, the game(s) between these 2 or more teams shall decide on the classification.

If these 2 or more teams have the same win-loss record in the games between them, further criteria shall be applied in the following order:

  • Higher game points difference of the games between them.
  • Higher number of game points scored in the games between them.
  • Higher game points difference of all games in the group.
  • Higher number of game points scored in all games in the group.

If still tied before all games have been played in the group, tied teams shall share the same ranking. If these criteria still cannot decide at the end of the group phase, a draw shall decide on the final classification.

Current standings

Pos
Team
GM
W
L
PPG
PPG A
Diff
STR
L5
1 4 3 1 89.8 74.8 15 +1 +  -  +  +
2 4 3 1 83.5 76.5 7 +1 +  -  +  +
3 4 2 2 75.0 76.3 -1.3 -1 -  +  +  -
4 4 2 2 73.8 75.8 -2 -1 -  +  -  +
5 4 1 3 86.8 96.5 -9.8 +1 +  -  -  -
6 4 1 3 77.0 86.0 -9 -1 -  +  -  -

Montenegro

Win-loss record in games vs. Bulgaria and Belgium: 2-0

Qualifies if:

  • Beats Georgia
  • Loses to Georgia and Bulgaria beats Belgium

Gets eliminated if:

  • Loses to Georgia and Belgium beats Bulgaria

Belgium

Win-loss record in games vs. Montenegro and Georgia: 1-1

Qualifies if:

  • Beats Bulgaria

Gets eliminated if:

  • Loses to Bulgaria

Bulgaria

Win-loss record in games vs. Montenegro and Georgia: 1-1

Qualifies if:

  • Beats Belgium

Gets eliminated if:

  • Loses to Belgium

Georgia

Win-loss record in games vs. Bulgaria and Belgium: 0-2

Qualifies if:

  • Beats Montenegro and Belgium beats Bulgaria

Gets eliminated if:

  • Loses to Montenegro
  • Bulgaria beats Belgium

As we can see, Montenegro and Bulgaria have the best chances. In case all four teams end up with a 2-3 record, Montenegro and Bulgaria would qualify for playoffs as both of them would have the best record (2-1) among those four teams.

Bulgaria could end up pulling the biggest surprise in the last two days of group competition after they beat Georgia on Tuesday.

To Bulgaria's fans' joy, Dee Bost finally showed up and put almost a historic performance by putting up 33 points (2/5 2PT, 9/14 3PT, 2/6 FT), 12 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, and 38 EFF.

33 points are the best tally for a player with Bulgaria in the EuroBasket since Filip Videnov, who scored 34 against Lithuania in 2005.

Meanwhile, his nine 3-pointers made are the most for a player in a EuroBasket game since 1995, when Yugoslavia's Aleksandar Djordjevic also scored nine 3-pointers against Lithuania. 

"I've been playing basketball for 20 years. It's part of the game. You got your slumps, you got games where you can't pass," Bost said after the game. "I feel confident, and I'm the same player I was before. It was a big relief to finally make some shots and get a win."

Sasha Vezenkov was his usual self, contributing with 28 points (8/15 2PT, 4/10 3PT, 0/1 FT), 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 32 EFF.

Both Bulgarian national team leaders smell blood.

"It's a big victory for us," Vezenkov told BasketNews after the game. "We knew that if we lose, it's over. We have to rest, and we have less than 24 hours to prepare for the next game. Belgium is a good team, so we must be focused and try to win."

Bost also praised Vezenkov, admitting that in the first three games, he didn't provide the help that was expected of him.

"If I help [Sasha], we have a better chance to win. Scoring-wise, I didn't help him in the previous games. The team needs me. If I'm more consistent, we have a better chance to win. We need everybody on a team. All of us have to help Sasha even more," Bost said.

"It is a big confidence booster," Bost added. "We won our first game, we put a good game against a home team."

Before you go, one interesting fact: the last time Bulgaria took part in EuroBasket was back in 2011, finishing the group stage with a 2-3 record. Both wins were recorded against Georgia and… Belgium.

However, 11 years ago, three teams (Georgia, Bulgaria, Ukraine) shared a 2-3 record, with Georgia claiming the 3rd place spot, which granted a place in the playoffs.

So, who knows… Maybe this time, history will repeat itself in a more fortunate fashion for Bulgaria.

Urbonus podcast



Show comments


Add comment

Nickname:      
  Total comments: 0

We have the right to remove comments which are offensive, contains abusive language, or violates other rules of the website