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In the first classification game of the night, Italy face off against Latvia. While Italy was utterly dominated in their quarter-final loss to the United States, Latvia suffered a narrow loss to Germany in their quarter-final.
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|O 167.5 (-115)|
|U 167.5 (-115)|
Italy was dominated in their last match, and Latvia present a similar problem for them in this classification game. Scoring and pace of play will determine who controls this game, and Latvia remains one of the most impressive offensive sides in the tournament - particularly from three.
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|Gianmarco Pozzecco||Head Coach||Luca Banchi|
|Lost 1||Form||Lost 1|
Leaders (Per Game)
|S. Fontecchio (18.3)||PPG||A. Zagars (14.2)|
|N. Melli (7.7)||RPG||R. Kurucs (6.8)|
|A. Pajola (5.0)||APG||A. Zagars (6.0)|
|S. Fontecchio (1.0)||SPG||A. Grazulis (1.5)|
|N. Melli (1.0)||BPG||A. Grazulis (1.2)|
|S. Tonut (.529)/S. Fontecchio (6.5)||FG%/FGM||A. Grazulis (.571)/A. Grazulis (5.3)|
|M. Spissu (.424)/M. Spissu (2.3)||3P%/3PM||R. Kurucs (.500)/D. Bertans (3.5)|
Now 4-2 after their recent loss, Italy has been knocked out of World Cup contention and hopes to achieve the best finish possible. They entered this classification game after a devastating defeat to the United States in the quarter-finals.
In their last game, a 37-point loss to the United States, Italy were dominated. Held to 30.7% from the field and 18.4% from three-point range, Italy's offense was stifled by their American competitors. The sole bright spot of their performance was forcing 19 turnovers out of the United States - otherwise, they were dominated in almost every other category.
Italy takes on a Latvia team that has been one of the tournament's best shooting teams. While their paint success and defense have been solid through the tournament, Italy must keep pace to compete with Latvia.
Italy isn't known as a scoring team, averaging just 77.8 points per game on 41.2% shooting from the field and 28.9% from the floor through the World Cup. Their best performances have come against teams with a limited paint presence so that Italy's frontcourt can be effective.
Their top performer through the tournament has been Simone Fontecchio, who has averaged 18.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game. Marco Spissu leads the Italian offense from the perimeter, averaging 10.8 points per game and 2.3 made threes.
Italy is expected to control this matchup in the paint, but they must show they can keep up with Latvia's pace. Their three-point shooting hasn't been consistent through the tournament, so expect the Italians to force this game into the halfcourt.
After a fantastic run through their first-ever FIBA Basketball World Cup, Latvia fell short of the title when they lost their quarter-final match to Germany. They'll now compete in the classification rounds, aiming to recreate their earlier performances against France and Spain.
In their last match, a two-point loss to Germany, Latvia impressed against one of the tournament's best teams. Despite the loss, Latvia shot 44.6% from the field and 38.2% from three, making 13 threes on the night. Their 19-to-10 assist-to-turnover ratio showcased their efficiency, but their weakness on the boards let Germany take advantage.
Against a similarly capable paint-oriented team, Latvia will need to rectify their previous match's mistakes against Italy. While their offense remains one of the best in the tournament, Latvia won't find victory if they can't limit Italy at the rim.
Latvia was one of the best-scoring teams in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. They averaged 88.2 points per game on 50.4% shooting from the field and 39.9% from three. They lead the tournament with 13.2 threes made per game.
Latvia has had many valuable contributors through the tournament, but none more than guard Arturs Zagars. The guard has averaged 14.2 points and 6.0 assists on 56.4% from the field and 44.8% from three-point range. Sharpshooter Davis Bertans has also been very productive, averaging 13.7 points and 3.5 threes per game on 39.0% from the field and 39.6% from deep.
To take down Italy, Latvia need to maintain their outside shooting punch. They were dominated on the glass in their last match, so expect a better performance when they take the court against Italy.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
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