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September 2022
15 Nikola Jokic (SRB)
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Sunday preview: Which teams will progress to the Quarter-Finals?

BERLIN (Germany) - The FIBA EuroBasket 2022 has reached the Knockout Phase and the stakes are higher in win-or-go-home games. The four games on Sunday September 11 at the EuroBasket Arena Berlin will see teams from Groups C and D match up.

Each of those groups had an undefeated powerhouse - Greece and Serbia, respectively - but all four crossover Round of 16 games are wide open without a clear favorite.

Ukraine vs Poland (12:00 CET)

Ukraine and Poland have never faced each other in a major competition. Ukraine's Road to Berlin started with three straight wins over Great Britain, Estonia and Italy before falling to Greece and Croatia. Poland won their opener against Czech Republic then lost to Finland before beating Israel and Netherlands and finished with a loss to Serbia.

Key Matchup: Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Mateusz Ponitka both are big time scorers who also do a lot of playmaking and will be key to their team's chances. They also play big roles on their teams' defenses with their abilities to get steals and push the fast break.

X-Factor: Ukraine shooting guard Ivan Tkachenko has made 11-of-12 shots from inside the three-point stripe (91.7 percent) but just 4-of-17 (23.5 percent) from outside. If the shooting guard can get hot from the outside he would give Ukraine a big scoring boost.

Stats Don't Lie: Poland have conceded just 6.2 offensive rebounds and 3.8 second chance points per game - both the fewest of any team in the competition. Ukraine have averaged just 8.6 offensive rebounds, the fewest of any team remaining in the event. Poland offensively shoot 58.0 percent on two-pointers but are last in free throws at 68.4 percent.

Finland vs Croatia (14:45 CET)

Finland have never beaten Croatia in a major competition, losing at EuroBasket 1995, 2011 and 2013. Both teams reached the Round of 16 in the last two EuroBaskets but were then eliminated at that stage. Finland started the competition with a loss to Israel before knocking off Poland. They were beaten by Serbia but finished strong with victories over Czech Republic and Netherlands. Croatia fell to Greece in the opener then beat Great Britain and Estonia before a loss at the hands of Italy. Croatia also finished in good form by defeating Ukraine.

Key Matchup: Lauri Markkanen ranks fourth in scoring at 24.8 points per game with two double-doubles including 30-plus points for the Finnish power forward. His Croatian counterpart Dario Saric will have his hands full trying to limit Markkanen from taking over the game.

X-Factor: Finland center Alexander Madsen can impact the game in a number of ways, whether that's hitting a three-pointer (46.2 percent) or coming up with a big energy play at either end as a powerful dunker and good rim protector. That energy will be needed against Croatian big man Ivica Zubac.

Stats Don't Lie: Finland connect on an outstanding 39.6 percent of their three-pointers while hitting 89.0 percent of their free throws - best in the competition. Croatia are the number one rebounding team but have the third-worst assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.2 with 14.8 turnovers per game.

Serbia vs Italy (18:00 CET)

These European powerhouses have only faced each other eight times in major competitions - including Serbia's 83-67 Quarter-Finals win at FIBA EuroBasket 2017. The Italians won for the first time at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2020 in Serbia, surprising the OQT hosts 102-95 in the Final to reach the Tokyo Games. Serbia rolled through the Group Phase in Prague with a perfect 5-0 record with wins over Netherlands, Czech Republic, Finland, Israel and Poland - by an average winning margin of 20 points. Group hosts Italy won their opener versus Estonia but then lost to Greece and Ukraine before regaining their form with victories over Croatia and Great Britain.

Key Matchup: Serbia can get their scoring from anybody and everybody so the focus will be on how Serbia can slow down Italy's top scorer Simone Fontecchio. One of the main people in charge of that will be Nikola Kalinic.

X-Factor: As if Serbia were not tough enough as it was but head coach Svetislav Pesic finally had the services of star big man Nikola Milutinov for the final group game against Poland, and the 7-footer delivered with 16 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist in 20 minutes. That makes the task at hand for Italy that much more difficult.

Stats Don't Lie: Serbia are tops in the competition in scoring (93.2 points per game), shooting (53.0 percent), two-point shooting (61.0 percent) and assists (23.8 assists per game). Oh and they are second in three-point accuracy (42.0 percent) and only commit 9.2 turnovers a contest. Italy meanwhile shoot just 43.4 percent from the field but grab 11.4 offensive rebounds and have an outstanding 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Greece vs Czech Republic (20:45 CET)

Greece and Czech Republic had not played each other in a major competition since 2001 prior to playing Greece's win in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. But the Czechs then surprised Greece 97-72 in the Final of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2020 in Canada to reach their first Olympics. Greece have not been beaten thus far with wins over Croatia, Italy, Great Britain, Ukraine and Estonia. The Czechs lost their first two games to Poland and Serbia at home before finally tasting victory over Netherlands. After a loss to Finland, Czech Republic booked their ticket to Berlin with a big win over Israel.

Key Matchup: Giannis Antetokounmpo cannot really be stopped so the unenviable task of trying to slow him down could possibly be given to Jan Vesely. But the Czechs will have to throw different looks at the two-time NBA MVP to keep him at least guessing and force his decision-making.

X-Factor: The Czechs will be so worried about trying to slow Giannis on defense that they will need to get energetic boosts at the offensive end and Vojtech Hruban must come up big as not only the leading scorer but also someone who hits 45 percent from three-point range.

Stats Don't Lie: Greece are not particularly effective on the offensive glass with just 8.6 offensive rebounds but they swipe 10.2 steals per game. The Czechs for their part are tops in three-point accuracy (42.3 percent) and tied for first in assists at 23.8 per game.