By David Hein
A place in the quarter-finals of EuroBasket 2007 - and possible qualification for the 2008 Olympics - rests in the balance today as Germany and Italy face off in Group F.
The winners will reach the last eight while the losers are left to contemplate what happened along the way, meaning that either the 2005 silver medallists Germany or 2003 bronze medallists Italy will book their flights home.
|Italy could use another|
fine display by Gigli
Last time out: Italy remained alive for the quarter-finals with a thrilling 84-75 over-time victory over Turkey. Germany must find a way to bounce back from an atrocious 77-47 loss to Slovenia.
Key match-up: Andrea Bargnani v Dirk Nowitzki. The NBA MVP will need to have a monster game as the Germans struggle to get scoring from other players. And Bargnani will likely be given the duties to try and slow him down.
X-factor: Against Turkey, Angelo Gigli had by far his best game of the tournament – perhaps even of his 25-game career with the Italian National Team - with 17 points and 12 points. Another performance like that could lead the Italians into the final eight.
Statistics: Germany made just 28% of their field goals against Slovenia while the Italians committed just three turnovers against Turkey - in 45 minutes of action.
Sounding off: "There's no excuse or explanation for (the Slovenia loss). Games like that, as bad as they are, I don't think they define who you are and what you are. What defines you is the ability to bounce back, and we will bounce back." - Germany coach Dirk Bauermann.