Follow the 2017 EuroBasket

Spain looks to defend its title as 24 national teams battle for the European title.

The 40th edition of EuroBasket, the biggest international basketball competition in Europe, begins Thursday with games spread across four countries. The 24-team competition will run through Sept. 17, with the results factoring into who will qualify for the FIBA World Cup in 2019.

Finland, Israel, Romania, and Turkey are playing hosts for the 2017 EuroBasket, which opens with a round robin preliminary stage over the next week. The teams are split into four groups of six, with the top four finishers in each group advancing to a 16-team knockout stage starting on Sept. 9.

Teams participating in the tournament include the four host countries, nine countries that played in the 2016 Olympics or the 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament, and 11 countries that earned spots through qualification that occurred in the fall of last year.

Romania is appearing in EuroBasket for the first time since 1987 as a result of being a host. The team’s last appearance was rough as it went 0-7 to finish 12th out of 12 teams.

The defending champion in the tournament is Spain, which has won gold in three of the past four EuroBaskets. The only time it didn’t was in 2013, when Tony Parker and France pulled off the victory in the gold medal final, forcing Spain to settle for silver.

Pau and Marc Gasol may no longer be in their 20s, but Spain remains the No. 2 team in the FIBA World Rankings behind the United States. Those two will be playing in this tournament along with fellow NBA players Ricky Rubio, Willy Hernangomez, Alex Abrines, and Juancho Hernangomez. Other familiar faces for those who have followed international hoops include longtime guards Sergio Rodriguez and Juan Carlos Navarro.

It’ll be tough to take down Spain, but teams like France, Serbia, Lithuania, and Croatia should be worth keeping an eye on.

The French team is highlighted by Magic guard Evan Fournier, Jazz forward Boris Diaw, Spurs forward Joffrey Lauvergne, and former NBA players Kevin Seraphin and Nando De Colo. Serbia has Kings sharpshooter Bogdan Bogdanovic and 7’3 Pistons big man Boban Marjanovic. Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas will lead Lithuania, and Croatia is also very interesting given its talented young duo of Dario Saric and Dragan Bender.

So there’s going to be a lot of NBA talent on hand, and it should be a blast to follow.

Eurobasket format

The 24 teams are split into four groups of six, with each team playing the other five in its group via a round robin structure. The top four finishers in each group will advance to the 16-team knockout stage, which operates like your usual bracket with winners advancing to the next round and losers eliminated. The gold medal game and third-place games are set for Sept. 17 in Istanbul.

Eurobasket teams

Finland (host)
Israel (host)
Romania (host)
Turkey (host)
Czech Republic
Great Britain

Eurobasket streaming and television information

All games will be available to stream in the United States through WatchESPN with a cable or satellite subscription. For those looking to tune in outside of the U.S., you can check out for more information.

Eurobasket preliminary round schedule

(All times Eastern)

Group A

Aug. 31
Slovenia vs. Poland, 6:45 a.m.
Iceland vs. Greece, 9:30 a.m.
France vs. Finland, 1 p.m.

Sept. 2
Poland vs. Iceland, 6:45 a.m.
Greece vs. France, 9:30 a.m.
Finland vs. Slovenia, 1 p.m.

Sept. 3
France vs. Iceland, 6:45 a.m.
Slovenia vs. Greece, 9:30 a.m.
Finland vs. Poland, 1 p.m.

Sept. 5
Iceland vs. Slovenia, 6:45 a.m.
Poland vs. France, 9:30 a.m.
Greece vs. Finland, 1 p.m.

Sept. 6
Slovenia vs. France, 6:45 a.m.
Greece vs. Poland, 9:30 a.m.
Finland vs. Iceland, 1 p.m.

Group B

Aug. 31
Germany vs. Ukraine, 8:45 a.m.
Lithuania vs. Georgia, 11:30 a.m.
Italy vs. Israel, 2:30 p.m.

Sept. 2
Georgia vs. Germany, 8:45 a.m.
Ukraine vs. Italy, 11:30 a.m.
Israel vs. Lithuania, 2:30 p.m.

Sept. 3
Georgia vs. Ukraine, 8:45 a.m.
Lithuania vs. Italy, 11:30 a.m.
Germany vs. Israel, 2:30 p.m.

Sept. 5
Ukraine vs. Lithuania, 8:45 a.m.
Italy vs. Germany, 11:30 a.m.
Israel vs. Georgia, 2:30 p.m.

Sept. 6
Germany vs. Lithuania, 8:45 a.m.
Georgia vs. Italy, 11:30 a.m.
Israel vs. Ukraine, 2:30 p.m.

Group C

Sept. 1
Hungary vs. Croatia, 8 a.m.
Spain vs. Montenegro, 10:45 a.m.
Romania vs. Czech Republic, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 2
Montenegro vs. Hungary, 8 a.m.
Czech Republic vs. Spain, 10:45 a.m.
Croatia vs. Romania, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 4
Hungary vs. Czech Republic, 8 a.m.
Montenegro vs. Croatia, 10:45 a.m.
Spain vs. Romania, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 5
Czech Republic vs. Montenegro, 8 a.m.
Croatia vs. Spain, 10:45 a.m.
Romania vs. Hungary, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 7
Czech Republic vs. Croatia, 8 a.m.
Hungary vs. Spain, 10:45 a.m.
Montenegro vs. Romania, 1:30 p.m.

Group D

Sept. 1
Belgium vs. Great Britain, 7:15 a.m.
Serbia vs. Latvia, 10 a.m.
Turkey vs. Russia, 1 p.m.

Sept. 2
Latvia vs. Belgium, 7:15 a.m.
Russia vs. Serbia, 10 a.m.
Great Britain vs. Turkey, 1 p.m.

Sept. 4
Latvia vs. Great Britain, 7:15 a.m.
Belgium vs. Russia, 10 a.m.
Serbia vs. Turkey, 1 p.m.

Sept. 5
Russia vs. Latvia, 7:15 a.m.
Great Britain vs. Serbia, 10 a.m.
Turkey vs. Belgium, 1 p.m.

Sept. 7
Russia vs. Great Britain, 7:15 a.m.
Belgium vs. Serbia, 10 a.m.
Latvia vs. Turkey, 1 p.m.