Croatia will play the Czech Republic and Italy will play Israel Sunday as the Eurobasket 2015 moves on to the single elimination Round of 16. Both teams finished 3-2 in group play which whittled the field.
Bojan Bogdanovic will have two days of rest following Croatia's loss to Georgia. Although it was his worst game of the tournament -- he shot 1-of-10 -- sources say that his concussion was not a factor, although the lack of rest might be.
The Czech Republic is led by 6'11" Jan Vesely, the Wizards 2011 draft pick known more for his reaction to being drafted than his subsequent play. Vesely has played well enough in Eurobasket to get some NBA front office types wondering if he deserves a second chance next summer. He currently plays for Fenerbahce of Turkey ends.
One big issue for Croatia is its surprisingly poor three point shooting. As a whole, the team is hitting less than 30 percent of its shots from deep. Bogdanovic is shooting a miserable 15.8 percent (not a typo).
In an Instagram post, Bogdanovic acknowledged his responsibility for the Croatian loss to Georgia and promised better results...
"We didn't show our best and my shooting skills were below average yesterday. I know you expect better and you deserve it! Most of all, I am aware that I am the one that has to carry the team. The points are not important as is playing good defense. A "new tournament" starts for us now in France and we got a new chance to accomplish something great, I know we will! Trust me that the hunger for victories is greater than ever after this unpleasant defeat and that there is nothing that makes me more honored than playing in the national jersey. Can't wait for the next game!"
Italy will be facing an Israeli team that just barely made the Round of 16. it's led by Omri Casspi of the Kings, who's averaged 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in group play. He's Israel's only NBA player while Italy has Andrea Bargnani, Danilo Gallinari, Marco Belinelli and Luigisi Datome, all of whom played in the league.
You'll have to get up early to watch Croatia. The game, played in Lille, France, starts at none in Europe. That's 6 a.m. Sunday.