Image courtesy of the official FIBA webpage.

FIBA 2014 Preview: Spain (4-0) vs. Serbia (2-2)

Thunder fans that tune into this game might recognize Team Serbia’s Nenad Krstic from his time in a Thunder uniform during the team’s inaugural run in Oklahoma City. Unfortunately, he is no longer on an NBA roster. He traveled to Istanbul, Turkey to suit up for the Anadolu Efes Spor Kulübü (Sports Club), which is one of the teams in the Turkish Basketball League (TBL).

That’s not necessarily a knock, per se. 2 other Team Serbia players hail from the TBL’s Fenerbaçe Spor Kulübü, which is officially known as Fenerbaçe Ülker due to their sponsorship by the Ülker food company. They are current Team Serbia rebounds leader (with 6 RPG), Nemanja Bjelica, and current Team Serbia blocks leader (with 0.5 BPG), Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Only one player on Team Serbia’s roster can currently claim “NBA status”, and that would be Team Serbia’s leading scorer (with 14.5 PPG), Miroslav Raduljica of the Milwaukee Bucks.

This affair between these two teams will be completely meaningless, as both teams have already secured entry into the Knockout Round of 16. Spain secured entry as early as two days ago with an 82-63 victory over Team Brazil to claim the sole #1 spot in Group A. And despite Team Serbia’s heartbreaking 81-73 loss to Team Brazil yesterday, their entry became official with Team Iran’s 88-73 victory over Team Egypt. Team Egypt’s loss officially eliminated them as of yesterday, because Team Serbia holds the head-to-head tiebreaker edge.

In a nutshell, Team Serbia will advance regardless of today’s outcome thanks to their 85-64 win over Team Egypt to open the 2014 FIBA World Championships.

The only other time Team Spain and Team Serbia went head-to-head was back on September 8th of 2010, with Team Serbia claiming a 92-89 victory. I’m sure Team Spain still has that one in mind as they look to even the match-up.

The group phase ends after today, and the top 4 teams in each group advance to the Knockout Round of 16. 3 of Group A’s spots are currently filled (with Team Spain in the 1st spot, Team Brazil in the 2nd spot, and Team Serbia in the 3rd), with the final slot going to the winner of today’s match-up between Team France and Team Iran.

This one tips off at the same 3pm CST. Check your local listings for TV availability.

Tags: FIBA 2014 Nenad Krstic Serge Ibaka

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