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17 February, 2020
23 February, 2021
Second trimester done: Grades are in, upset heroes top the class
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Upset heroes top the class: What grade did your national team get for November?

MIES (Switzerland) - Two of the three windows are behind us in the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifiers, and we already know the names of 11 teams that will play at the Final Round in Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany and Italy. There are still 13 tickets available in the final window.

Not everything reflects in the results and standings, so we decided to send report cards back to the teams after their second trimester in the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifiers class. The good news is that no teams have failed the class (yet) - in other words, they are all still alive in the race for the Final Round.

Group A W/L P
1 ISR Israel (Q) 4/0 8
2 POL Poland 2/2 6
3 ESP Spain (Q) 2/2 6
4 ROU Romania 0/4 4


We did warn you about Israel back before the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifiers started. And now they've reached a point where they can go 4-0 without breaking a sweat, pick up their A in this class, while showing the rest of the continent why BCL followers were so high on Tamir Blatt, why NBA guys were so high on Yam Madar, why everyone was so high on Jake Cohen. Oh, and add this to the Oded Kattash collection, we are looking at a world class coach right here.


Even though Poland aren't *qualified yet, they are almost qualified. That 30-point win over Romania means that all that they have to do in the last window is avoid a 31+ point defeat to Romania on the very last gameday. Then again, it's hard to believe any Polish fans expected an Israeli sweep against them in these Qualifiers, so plenty of stuff to be talked about in the locker room.


Here's why Sergio Scariolo is the best in the business: He used 13 players in two games. Nacho Llovet played seven minutes against Romania, Ferran Bassas played five against Israel, and those are the only two Spanish single-digit players in minutes in the bubble. Meanwhile, nobody played more than 25 minutes in both games. So, Scariolo tested all of his guys, while still picking up a win and booking a ticket to the FIBA EuroBasket 2022. World class by the world champs.



Not much to say about Romania. It's not their fault they are in a group with two elite teams from the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, plus the in-form Israeli team with more depth than ever before. Romania are still alive, but need a miracle over the last two games to book a return to the FIBA EuroBasket Final Round.

Group B W/L P
1 ITA Italy (Q) 3/0 6
2 RUS Russia 2/2 6
3 EST Estonia 1/2 4
4 MKD North Macedonia 0/2 2


Just seeing Meo Sacchetti laugh and smile at the end of the game against Russia is worth an A alone. And it's always an Amedeo stepping up in games like these, it used to be Della Valle, now it's Tessitori, as Tex picked up 27 points in 27 minutes of action against his former Cantu coach Sergey Bazarevich.


A comfy win over Estonia, a nasty step back by Mikhail Kulagin, a double-double return for Andrey Vorontsevich. Let's ignore the fact that they got swept by Italy, Russia are still on course to make the Final Round without any stress, and that's all you could ask for right now. Feels like they deserved more than B.


One game, one defeat by 28 points... They still have to play North Macedonia once more, they already won the first matchup between the two, so technically, they are just a win away from a ticket to the Final Round. Not bad. But not all that good either, at least not when it comes to the game in Tallinn on Saturday.

Group C W/L P
1 BEL Belgium 3/1 7
2 DEN Denmark 2/2 6
3 LTU Lithuania 2/2 6
4 CZE Czech Republic (Q) 1/3 5


How crazy is this? Belgium were 3-0, one of the most dominant teams of the Qualifiers, with a chance to book their ticket to the Final Round already on Sunday. But, with a defeat to Lithuania, combined with a Danish win over Czech Republic, Belgium are now looking more and more into their rear view mirror, because they are only a win ahead of Denmark and Lithuania. Two of those three will make the Final Round, Czech Republic are already there as hosts.



Now, people who watched Denmark in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Pre-Qualifiers three years ago, they can tell you all about this team. They are for real. They know how to play. And Gabriel Lundberg is a different animal when he puts on the national team shirt, a one-man wrecking crew capable of scoring 38 points in games like these. Also, Mathias Bak Christensen had a story to tell.


That defeat to Denmark will remain a dent in Lithuania's recent history. However, maybe it was a good wake up call, just in time, so they focus on the game against Belgium and bounce back, because disaster could've happened if they had dropped to 0-2 in this window. The last one will see them play against Czech Republic and Denmark, a chance for redemption for coach Darius Maskoliunas and his boys.


We know, we know, Czech Republic are hosting the FIBA EuroBasket 2022, so they don't have to worry about the Qualifiers. But still, we expected a bit more than a pair of defeats with a combined difference of 29 points.

Group D W/L P
1 CRO Croatia (Q) 4/0 8
2 NED Netherlands 2/2 6
3 SWE Sweden 1/3 5
4 TUR Turkey 1/3 5


Majstori! Nobody expected this from Croatia, to become the first team to book a ticket to the FIBA EuroBasket 2022, especially not after their abysmal run in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers. But Veljko Mrsic found the panacea for the poison, building a defensive wall that held Croatia's opponents to 56, 59, 62 and 72 points in their four wins. Offense wins games, defense wins championships, that's what they say.



Nothing says "B" like going 1-1 with a two-point win and a two-point defeat. Oranje are much closer to this being a B+ than a B-, because they protected their lead from the first matchup against Turkey, meaning they are an inch away from qualifying to the FIBA EuroBasket 2022. Oh, the fact that Turkey and Sweden have to play each other in the last window also helps the Dutch cause.


Did you read the Netherlands just above this one? Okay, so that's why there's a minus next to Turkey's grade. They still have it all in their hands, two wins in the last window should be enough to advance to the Final Round, no matter what happens in the other games. The win over the Netherlands gives Turkey a bit of breathing space now, they are finally off the mark.


Two defeats for Sweden in this window. All to play for in the February, but Sweden already know that they'll likely have to sweep Turkey to reach the FIBA EuroBasket 2022, and that's no easy task. That second matchup is scheduled on Saturday, February 20, to be confirmed where, but write it down because we may be getting all the answers from this group after that game.

Group E W/L P
1 GEO Georgia (Q) 4/0 8
2 SRB Serbia 2/2 6
3 FIN Finland 1/3 5
4 SUI Switzerland 1/3 5


A colleague from Georgia said this was an experimental squad Ilias Zouros lined up in Finland. Also, he added nobody would be mad if Georgia went 0-2 in Finland. Well, guess what, when you have the backbone of the team in Thad McFadden, Tornike Shengelia and Giorgi Shermadini, you're still able to go 2-0 in a Window. Georgia are 4-0 overall, impressive for a team already qualified as a host of the Final Round.



Two wins by Georgia massively helped Serbia in Finland. This way, that Dusan Mladjan dagger doesn't seem as painful, because Serbia are up at 2-2, while Finland and Switzerland own 1-3 records. See, if Georgia had lost their two games, this group would've seen a three-way 2-2 tie for second place with two games to play. It didn't happen, so it's a job well done for Serbia in Finland. Wasn't excellent. But wasn't horrible, either.


Finland went 0-2 in Finland. That's it. That's the whole grade. February game against Switzerland became a do-or-die duel now.


It just used to be a pair of Mladjans and a Kazadi or a Cotture for Switzerland. But nowadays, they have a 12-deep team, so their win over Serbia was no fluke, no accident, no incident. Coach Gianluca Barilari used all 12 of his guys in that one, and don't forget that Switzerland also sent Georgia to OT in Tbilisi, and almost stole one from Finland in Fribourg, too. Good to see you, Switzerland. Here's an A for you.

Group F W/L P
1 SLO Slovenia (Q) 3/1 7
2 UKR Ukraine (Q) 2/2 6
3 HUN Hungary 2/0 4
4 AUT Austria 0/4 4


FIBA EuroBasket 2017 winners are back. Slovenia cruised through the Ljubljana Bubble, with Jordan Morgan as the new fan favorite, with Jaka Blazic as a certified leader, with Edo Muric as a captain, with Luka Rupnik to bring the mixtape style to the floor, with Alen Hodzic to knock down a bunch of shots, and with Aleksander Sekulic to orchestrate this new up tempo Slovenia. Easy to fall in love with a team like that one.



Okay, looking at it from the results' point of view, Ukraine were a straight A student, because they qualified to the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 with two games to spare. But, at the same time, watching them from the front row in Ljubljana, you could see they aren't a finished product yet - not even close. In fact, they were one Bogic Vujosevic three-pointer away from playing OT v Austria and potentially falling to 0-2 in Stozice. Hence the B.


Here's one for you. You have a lazy Saturday or something, don't know what to watch or where to go or what to do. Check to see if Rasid Mahalbasic is playing. There's something so poetic about his hands, and his ability to thread the needle and anticipate where his teammates will be is just sublime. He was flirting with triple-doubles in both of his games in the Bubble, and it's no wonder he's racking them up regularly for EWE Baskets Oldenburg.

Group G W/L P
1 FRA France 3/1 7
2 GBR Great Britain 2/2 6
3 MNE Montenegro 2/2 6
4 GER Germany (Q) 1/3 5


It's crazy how close this group is, and it's even crazier how easily France went to 3-1. And the craziest part is that they aren't qualified just yet, they still have to keep either Great Britain or Montenegro behind them in order to reach the Final Round. Good thing for France is that they get to do it by themselves, they are playing against both Montenegro and Team GB in February. They'll get an A+ then.



Instead of reading what we have to write, listen to what Gabe Olaseni had to say after Great Britain claimed the head-to-head against Montenegro.


This is the trouble for Montenegro. Sure, congrats, you defeated Germany. But, you lost to Great Britain by 15, which means you are behind them in case of a tie at the end of Gameday 6. Which means you are out in case of a tie with GB at the end of Gameday 6, because you already have a pre-qualified Germany in your group, and you have the in-form France in your group, as well. Points difference could hurt Montenegro after all.


Sure, Germany are already through to the Final Round as hosts, but when you have 29 assists and 30 turnovers in two games, it's impossible to get a better grade than a C.

Group H W/L P
1 GRE Greece (Q) 3/1 7
2 BIH BIH (Q) 3/1 7
3 BUL Bulgaria 1/3 5
4 LAT Latvia 1/3 5


It was a rollercoaster ride for Greece, as they entered the Bubble ranked #1 in our Power Rankings, and almost fell to 0-2 in Sarajevo. Ioannis Athinaiou had to go crazy to save the day against Bulgaria, force overtime and get the job done for coach Thanasis Skourtopoulos and the rest of the Greek delegation. Oh well, they won, they qualified, they get an A.



Bosnia and Herzegovina were low-key the most dominant team of the Window, blowing out Bulgaria by 39 and completing the sweep over Latvia, so this A could've been an A+ easily. Not really sure why it isn't, because BIH were the feel-good story, alongside Denmark, the only A+ team of the Qualifiers. A is still impressive. Keep it going, BIH.


Just here to tell you that Bulgaria face Latvia on February 20. Both teams are at 1-3. Winners take it all. Losers go home.


Just here to tell you that Latvia face Bulgaria on February 20. Both teams are at 1-3. Winners take it all. Losers go home.

*The grades are entirely subjective and is in no way a true, accurate ranking systems. All comments are purely those of the author.

Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic is a Croatian freelance writer, Live Blog aficionado and meme expert who watches a lot of basketball and brings both the power and the rankings to the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifiers.