Thoughts on BYU in the Acropolis of Athens Tournament

Aug 23, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton on August 23, 2011 at 11:16 am

Here is a link where you can watch the games at the Acropolis of Athens Tournament. The Italy vs. Bulgaria game is on right now and due to the language barrier, I'm not 100 percent positive BYU vs. Greece will be on next but I'm pretty sure it will.

The Cougars have been given an incredible opportunity to play two of the top national teams in the world today and tomorrow at the Acropolis of Athens Tournament. BYU faces Greece today at 12:15 p.m. MT and Italy tomorrow at 9:45 a.m. MT. And these aren't the junior teams. These are the senior national teams.

BYU has played well so far in Greece, defeating the Athens All-Stars and ASE Doukas. But the next two games will be a level of competition the Cougars haven't seen, and weren't expecting. The Cougars had a slate of games scheduled but when a team withdrew from the Acropolis Tournament, BYU was called upon to fill in. It will be an incredible opportunity for the team to see how they measure up with some of the best players in the world.

While this team did graduate two all-timers in Jimmer and Jackson, the Cougars aren't without leadership. They have seniors Noah Hartsock and Charles Abouo who have been through three NCAA Tournaments and won two conference titles. Abouo has played with the Ivory Coast National Team for two summers, including the 2010 World Championships in Turkey. His experience and leadership will play an important role for BYU in these two games.

Greece finished 2010 ranked No. 4 in the world by FIBA and is currently No. 7. If you can read Greek, here is the official page for Greek basketball. Here is the nation's page on FIBA. While it's tough to find what the team has done this year and who is on the roster, this team is obviously enjoying some level off success despite numerous injuries and other issues.

Italy is ranked No. 15 in the world right now but is likely the most talented team of the four participating in the Acropolis Tournament. The Italian roster includes NBAers Andrea Bargnani, Danilo Gallinari and Marco Belinelli. All three play significant roles for their respective NBA teams and Gallinari and Belinelli helped their teams reach the 2011 playoffs.

For the speakers of Italian out there, here is Italy's official site for its national teams. Here is the FIBA page for Italy.

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