First quarterfinals are going to be played tonight in Kaunas. All games of final round will be played on “Zalgiris” arena with 15000 capacity and you can imagine what support will have Lithuania NT these days. From other teams only Spain has played here friendly match versus Lithuania and knows what to expect from rings and atmosphere.
I have one pick for you for today’s late evening but it is mostly based on stats, experience and instintics.
Spain – Slovenia
Slovenia playing really poor this year. They have too much old players who can’t contribute on this level and also their roster is not balanced without Nachbar. Their defense was their main weapon so far but Spain is not Ukraine, Bulgaria, Russia and Macedonia. It will be very hard for slovenians to defend against powerful spanish offense with one leader changing another. How they can stop Calderon, Gasol-brothers and Rudy when they are all on the field?
I think this should be a walkover for Spain team who can use their defense to hold Slovenia poor offense in 62-70 points. Offensively Spain can score from 76 up to 86 points depending on game pace and shooting percentage.
I think that we have fair line here and Spain should dominate in this quarterfinal.
Prediction: Spain 81 – 65 Slovenia
Lithuania – Macedonia
Macedonia as well as Slovenia playing from defense. It was easy to stop bad offenses of their opponents in first rounds but what about best offensive team of the tournament? Lithuania is scoring 1.02 points per possesion here and so far only France was able to stop them from easy offensive life. Spain have beat them by showing their offensive skills mostly and I doubt that Macedonia can survive in this battle either with defense or offense. Macedonia have Gechevski out, Samardzinki will play with injury and Ilievski said that team feels tired. Tomorrow they have probably most important game on the tournament against Slovenia and may be it is worth to save legs and energy for tomorrows match.
Lithuania have deep bench, playing fast-paced basketball and can play defense which can hold Macedonia under 72 points. Offensively Lithuania should use speed, fresh conditions and surely good percentage from all distances. And I think that with 15000 crowd in “Zalgiris” arena it will be easy to get.
I see Lithuania is 78-88 points range while Macedonia points range is 63-72 points. Smels like an easy victory for hosts and -8.5 looks good for a low stake bet.
Prediction: Lithuania 83 – 68 Macedonia
Pick: Lithuania (-8.5) @ 1.92 3/10 Pinnacle