- National Teams
Great Britain’s Senior Men are on the verge of qualifying for EuroBasket 2017 after securing second spot in their group.
Joe Prunty’s side defeated Macedonia by 27 points on Wednesday night to finish with a 2-2 (+17) rank amongst the other group runners-up.
Their fate is now out of their hands and they must rely on results going their way on the final gameday on Saturday, though it looks promising.
GB only need to finish above three other runners-up as four out of the seven second-placed teams book their ticket to EuroBasket – hosted by Israel, Finland, Romania and Turkey – next year.
With one group consisting of only three teams, results against teams who finish fourth do not count amongst the rank to determine the best runners-up.
Therefore, GB’s result against Luxembourg on Saturday is essentially irrelevant in terms of their EuroBasket 2017 hopes, although they will want to finish on a high and potentially celebrate their place with victory.
Here is the current ranking amongst the runners-up (5 of 6 Gamedays now complete)
GEORGIA 2-1 (+57)
ICELAND 2-1 (+18)
GERMANY 2-1 (+18)
UKRAINE 2-1 (+7)
GB 2-2 (+17)
BOSNIA 2-2 (-35)
ESTONIA 1-2 (-11)
And now for a group-by-group breakdown of scenarios that can help or hinder GB’s chances of qualifying.
Iceland will definitely be the runners-up in this group, but their positioning amongst the second placed teams could come down to the game between Switzerland and Cyprus because of their defeat to Switzerland.
If Switzerland beat Cyprus on the road, they would avoid finishing bottom and Iceland would need to beat Belgium by at least 19 points to have a better record than GB.
However, if Switzerland do finish bottom (by losing to Cyprus), then Iceland would secure qualification with any win over Belgium, given their 3-1 record. However, if they were to lose and finish 2-2, then a loss of at least two points, favours GB.
Germany currently sit above GB in the ranking – but should they lose their final group game against leaders, Netherlands, they will slip below GB, as a 2-point loss will put them on 2-2 (+16). This is dependant on Denmark finishing bottom – which will happen – unless they beat Austria by more than 20 points at home.
However, if Germany win by 4 points or more – they will top the group and push Netherlands into second, which would also play into GB’s hands as the Netherlands would finish 2-2 with their current basket difference of +15 already inferior to GB’s.
What could potentially be cruel for GB is if Germany were to win by less than five points as they would still finish second but have a greater 3-1 record.
Also, if Austria do end up finishing bottom – any Netherlands win would still suit GB, although any Germany win would have either themselves or the Netherlands above GB.
In the only group of three teams, Bosnia finish second in the group – having played all four games – but have an inferior 2-2 (-35) record and therefore, they are definitely one side that cannot harm GB’s qualification chances.
Whatever way you look at this group, it’s more good news for GB.
No matter what happens, even if a 3-way tie at the top ensues, whoever finishes second cannot better GB’s record. Belarus have already finished 2-2 (-2) – when disregarding results against bottom-placed Portugal – and will claim second if Poland beat Estonia.
Even if Estonia defeated Poland (victory greater than 14 seals top spot), then no matter the points outcome, basket differences of any of the three sides will be of no threat to GB’s +17.
Any victory for unbeaten Slovenia over Ukraine will be very beneficial as that will result in GB finishing above Ukraine in the second-place rank, regardless of margin (providing Kosovo finish 4th).
However, Ukraine are at home – and should they win (margin greater than seven tops the group) then both they and Slovenia will finish with a 3-1 record amongst the runners-up, which is of course, no help to GB.
Montenegro (5-0) have already qualified, while Georgia are well placed to follow suit and this group is largely irrelevant to GB’s cause, barring a huge home win.
If Montenegro win, then Georgia will finish 2-2, but will have a superior record to GB unless they lose by more than 40 points. Any win for Georgia (by more than three points wins the group), and both teams will finish 3-1.
Essentially, it boils down to this.
GB will qualify if ONE of the following occurs:
Worst-case scenario that would see GB miss out if ALL of the following occurred:
Gameday 6 timings (selected):
Ukraine v Slovenia (2pm), Cyprus v Switzerland (3pm), Iceland v Belgium (5pm), Netherlands v Germany/ Denmark v Austria (both 6pm) – GB play in Luxembourg at 6:30pm (all times in UK time).
GB last played at EuroBasket in 2013, but only secured their place as a result of competing at the 2012 Olympics.
It’s over six years (August 26, 2010) since GB last achieved qualification to a major tournament when they topped a group that also contained Macedonia and Hungary – with Luol Deng’s 38 points sealing his nation’s spot at EuroBasket 2011.
EuroBasket 2017 currently looks like this (with 18 of 24 spots confirmed):
Finland, Israel, Romania, Turkey, Spain, Lithuania, France, Serbia, Greece, Italy, Czech Republic, Latvia, Croatia, Russia, Hungary, Belgium, Slovenia, Montenegro.
Disclaimer: This is the understanding of Hoopsfix and not confirmed by FIBA.