EuroBasket 2015 preview
Turkish Airlines Euroleague and Eurocup stars will be front and center when EuroBasket 2015 tips off Saturday in four countries, with 134 of them competing in the signature tournament of the off-season.
Twenty-four teams will go for glory in the 15-day tourney, whose concluding stages will be held at Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Lille, France. The competition will be hot not only for the medals, but as part of the Road to Rio, as EuroBasket 2015’s two finalists will automatically qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
The teams ranked third through seventh will receive berths to one of three pre-Olympic qualifying events from which three final tickets to the Rio games will be claimed. France defeated Lithuania in the EuroBasket 2013 final and both are among the many teams to watch this time.
The 24 teams are divided into four groups of six, with the opening phase being played in Berlin, Germany; Montpellier, France; Riga, Latvia; and Zagreb, Croatia. The top four teams from each group will advance to the second phase, which begins September 12 in Lille.
From that point onward, the race to the final becomes single-elimination, though there are classification games for fifth through eighth place as well as a third-place game. Virtually every squad has a connection to the Euroleague and Eurocup, whether on the court, the bench or the sidelines, making the event an ideal prelude to the European club season.
Indeed, the Euroleague and Eurocup will once again be the most-represented leagues at the competition, with 83 and 51 players respectively. A total of 23 out of 24 Euroleague teams and 26 out of 36 Eurocup teams are represented at the event. Here’s a look at who is who in the chase for European glory and a place at the 2016 Olympics!