With EuroBasket 2015 just around the corner we are going group by group. In a stunning development the second group to be featured is Group B
Venue: Mercedes-Benz Arena aka the O2 World
Is Oguz Savas playing here?: YES!
The hosts for Group B, Germany have landed in by far the toughest group of any nation hosting round one. While having Dirk Nowitzki and Dennis Schroeder on the roster will help a great deal, it isn’t going to be an easy ride for the hosts. Spain are group favourites but they come here minus a bunch of important bodies and FIBA World Cup silver medalists Serbia will have high hopes of topping the group.
Ogus Savas, a good baller who is a touch of a black hole on D but a man who really seems to bring calm to Turkey on the floor, will be hoping his side can show enough consistency to progress while Italy are an absolute nightmare to read but tend to get things going in the early stages of EuroBasket more often than not. Lastly it’s the coolest team on the court, pun not intended, Iceland who may go 0-5 but will still be adored by geeks across the continent.
The other X factor to consider is, of course, Cedi Osman’s hair which has been blazing a trail across European televisions all summer long.
What the bookies think
Spain are the favourites at 4/5 but the odds makers are giving Serbia more than a fighting shot at topping the group at 7/4. There’s little to choose between Turkey at 10/1 and Italy at 11/1 before the drop off to Germany at 20/1 and, unsurprisingly, Iceland are rank outsiders at 100/1.
There are so many potential classics here. The easy temptation is to say Spain vs Serbia and you really ought to watch that game but I’m going to throw a curve ball here and pick the opening game on Saturday 5 September. Germany take on Iceland in a game which is flat-out must-win for both sides if either is to realistically make it to the second stage. Day 1 in Berlin is actually my favourite for match-ups as we get the two powers squaring off in the second game and then the big reveal game between Italy and Turkey.
Your four teams to progress are…
This is, by a wide margin, the toughest group to call because I have trouble rationally eliminating Italy at the group stage but to make them progress I have to bet against Bobby Dixon on the big stage, not happening, and Dirk & Dennis in front of their home fans. I just can’t go against that. This group should be a ton of fun and that’s why BiE will be based in Berlin for the opening round. That and the currywurst.