By Jeff Taylor
|With Serbia's Tepic and Rasic missing, Jaka Lakovic, Goran Dragic and the rest of Slovenia's backcourt could have a big say in the game|
Slovenia will meet Serbia in a battle for seventh place at the EuroBasket on Saturday.
Both teams went into the competition with hopes of a podium finish but fell well short.
While neither will leave the tournament on a high, it's always better to sign off from a competition with a victory.
Both sides began the tournament on a roll but their campaigns were derailed by narrow defeats on the last day of First Round action.
Sergey Monya's shot at the end gave Russia a 65-64 win over Slovenia in Group D while Serbia fell in overtime to France, 97-96, in Group B when Dusko Savanovic missed an easy shot in the waning seconds.
The Slovenians and Serbians proceeded to lose four of their next five games.
If the Quarter-Final setbacks were painful, the losses that followed piled on the agony as they ended their hopes of playing at the London Games.
Needing victories in the Classification Round to progress to next year's FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Slovenia fell to Lithuania and Serbia crashed to defeat against the Greeks.
"We are very sad we didn't qualify for the pre-Olympic tournament," Serbia captain Nenad Krstic said.
"But we have to stay together and think positive."
Head-to-Head: Both of their previous EuroBasket games took place in 2009. While the Slovenians won the Group C battle 80-69, the Serbians hit back to win the Semi-Final, 96-92, in overtime.
Last Time Out: Lithuania beat Slovenia 80-77 while Serbia fell 87-77 to Greece.
Key Match-Up: Serbia's Krstic v Slovenia's Mirza Begic in a battle of centers
Key Stat: In the first quarter of their game against Greece, the Serbians were out-rebounded 13-. The Greeks also shot 11 of 17 from the floor and led 34-8 after the opening frame.
X-Factor: Goran Dragic of Slovenia.
Sounding Off: "We are very good friends with Slovenia... I have to prepare a game that means nothing but to finish seventh best," says Serbia coach Dusan Ivkovic.