"We are still not in a good basketball shape. We still need to be a little bit free on the court" - something Mantas Kalnietis and Lithunaia will look to rectify on Wednesday when they take on France
The Second Round of EuroBasket 2013 tips off on Tuesday with Group E taking center stage. The six teams from Groups A and B are pitted together ultimately for four quarter-final spots.
The first encounter sees Latvia, entering the stage with a 0-2 record, taking on Ukraine, who have a 1-1 record. Ukraine have already made history by reaching the Second Round for the first time ever while Latvia hadn't gotten past the First Round since 2001.
The second contest at Stozice Arena pits 0-2 Belgium against Serbia, who have a 2-0 record for their efforts. While the young Serbs have big ambitions in Ljubljana, Belgium are looking to build on their already historic showing as they finished 21st two summers ago without a victory.
The final game is Group A winners France (2-0) squaring off against Lithuania (1-1) in a battle of big basketball nations looking to find some consistency.
Latvia (0-2) v Ukraine (1-1)
Stats Don't Lie: Ukraine have made the most triples per game (10.8) and at the second best percentage (44.3%). Latvia, meanwhile, made the fourth-most triples as a team (8.4) and took the second-most long balls (25.6). Key Match-Up: This game could come down to which team rebounds better meaning the Latvian group of Kaspars Berzins, Rolands Freimanis and Martin Meiers will battle the Ukrainians Viacheslav Kravtsov, Kyryl Natyazhko and Ihor Zaytsev. They Say: Ukraine center Viacheslav Kravtsov: "We definitely want to beat them and I think we have all the chances to do that." Latvia shooting guard Dairis Bertans: "We haven't been [to the Second Round] for so many years and we had a really tough group this year."
Belgium (0-2) v Serbia (2-0)
Stats Don't Lie: Serbia rank fourth worst in three-point shooting percentage (28.3%) with the third fewest triples made (5.6) while Belgium are fourth worst in opponent three-point percentage (39%). Key Match-Up: Serbian star center Nenad Krstic was rested in their last first round game and Belgian big man Sacha Massot will have to find a way to stop him. They Say: Belgium coach Eddy Casteels: "We need discipline. We need organisation and structure in our game. In our preparation and also against France we proved that we can play top level basketball, but for some reason we fall apart and we are limited to 25, 30 minutes." Serbia coach Dusan Ivkovic: "Tournaments like this are not about individual statistics, but about team play. We respect every opponent. We certainly have more quality than the Belgian team, but we need to be prepared for this game in a proper way, reduce the oscillation in our game and have a better control of it."
Lithuania (1-1) v France (2-0)
Stats Don't Lie: France are the number one offence in the tournament (80.6 ppg) and have the second best shooting percentage (50.8%). Lithuania's defence allows the second fewest points (67.4 ppg) and hold opponents to the second worst field goal percentage (37.7%). Key Match-Up: Lithuania guard Mantas Kalnietis has averaged 5.4 assists but has only an average 1.9 assist/turnover ratio. The playmaker will need to handle the French defence, and in all likelihood be personally responsible for guarding Tony Parker. They Say: Lithuania guard Mantas Kalneitis: "We are still not in a good basketball shape. We still need to be a little bit free on the court. Sometimes we look like we are thinking what we are doing. We sometimes do not enjoy being on the court." France coach Vincent Collet: "I think with the second round every team will try to elevate their level. I hope that will be the case for us."