U18 MEN PREVIEW
Turkey and Italy both look to shake off the disappointment of losing in the semi-finals as they battle for the bronze medal at the U18 European Championship, in Wroclaw.
|Diego Monaldi, one of the men asked to cover for the absence of Amedeo Della Valle|
The teams come off entirely different semis as Turkey were blown out by Spain right from the start whereas Italy blew a 14-point third quarter lead and an one-point lead with a minute remaining before losing to Serbia.
While the disappointment about what was possible may be bigger for Italy, the Italians may be more motivated to grab the bronze - which they themselves feel would be a huge success at this tournament.
Italy's last medal was bronze in 2005 whereas their last appearance in the U18 final came in 1992.
Turkey have never won U18 gold but claimed bronze in 2009 and also took silver in 2004 and 2005.
The bronze medal game in Wroclaw should be an even battle of teams that have strong guard play with Kenan Sipahi for Turkey and Matteo Imbrò and Diego Monaldi for Italy. Italy have committed the fewest turnovers in the tournament and Turkey the second fewest.
The Italians will still be without leading scorer Amedeo Della Valle but they proved they can perform at the highest level as a team without him - beating hosts Poland in the quarterfinals and mounting a big lead against Serbia.
Center Amedeo Tessitori stepped up and had a huge game against Serbia and will likely need a repeat showing against Turkey, who are fourth in offensive rebounds and third best in field goal percentage.
But the biggest key to the game may be the motivation - which team can better rebound from their semi-final loss emotionally could be the winner.
Watch a video preview of the bronze medal game here!
Watch the game live on fibaeuropetv.com!