25 August, 2023
10 September
1 Reuben Te Rangi (NZL)
to read

August 30 preview: Final boarding call for Round of 16

MANILA (PHILIPPINES) - As we reach the last gameday of the First Round, there are still plenty of questions to be answered about who will advance to the Sweet 16 to continue their quest for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 title.

Can the Kiwis make their statement?

It was the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China where New Zealand suffered an end to their four-tournament streak of reaching the Round of 16.

They might not seem like favorites against Greece, who is on the same exact streak as we speak. However, there's a reason why this seemed to be the pivotal matchup in Group C even before the World Cup even started. USA ultimately were just too much for both of them.

Ironically, the situation was exactly the same five years ago when Greece had the upper hand in a 103-97 victory that also determined the second place in their group. 

New Zealand have also kept their tradition of being a part of some high-scoring games. They might need some intimidating defense after the Haka to stop Greece's balanced offense.

Can Georgia make us proud of the rookies?

With Latvia already in the Second Round, Georgia is up next as the team in its first World Cup with a pretty decent chance to advance.

They can be grateful that they laid down the law in their debut against Cape Verde. That 25-point victory gives them some breathing space against Venezuela, who has a target of +16 for this game.

Venezuela aren't to be taken lightly. They cooled down in a costly loss to Cape Verde, but their 16-of-40 shooting from deep is something the Slovenia coaching staff remembers well.

Furthermore, we see you and admire you, Cape Verde! Who's to say that Edy Tavares can't shut down the paint against Slovenia and throw all of these calculations down the drain?

South Sudan look for their miracle

Talking about rookies... Oh, how that thrilling overtime loss against Puerto Rico must hurt right now for the team built by Luol Deng.

We've yet to see someone properly challenge Serbia in Group B. Could it be that South Sudan is ready for such an upset? They certainly have done their best to prepare and bring a very solid squad to the Philippines.

Then again, there's a reason why unforeseen events tend to happen in the last gameday of group phases. It only takes China beating Puerto Rico later in the day (by 34 points or less, we might add)  for South Sudan to advance either way. 

Never underestimate an Olympic dream, one that probably is in the minds for China right now. Also, Li Kaier and Zhou Qi are still due for a game, where both of them get rolling.

And then there's Puerto Rico, who must hate the last few paragraphs.

Other storylines for August 30

 Cote d'Ivoire veteran Solo Diabate has a nice perspective about life. He's here to enjoy basketball, have fun and also win along the way. His team dreams of beating Brazil to snatch the second place in the group.

The tournament's second highest scorer Rondae Hollis Jefferson (31.5 points per game) and Jordan go up against USA who might have plans of ruining RHJ's day.

• Luka Doncic might be at two consecutive 30-point games. However, does he know that Luis Scola had a five game streak of scoring 30+ in 2010? Still ways to go, Luka.

• La Familia have brought up some new members of the family. Juan Nunez has fit right in and looks for another great performance in Spain's bout against Iran.