Saskatoon up to challenging start following Lausanne Masters seeding
LAUSANNE (2016 FIBA 3x3 World Tour) - Number one seed Saskatoon (CAN) will be put to test as soon as Day 1 with contenders Maribor (SLO) and Paris (FRA) drawn in their pool following the automatic seeding of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Lausanne Masters, coming this week on 26-27 August.
Saskatoon get their third chance to clinch direct qualification for the World Tour Final in Lausanne after finishing third in Mexico City and second in Prague. But if the seeding was any indication, it is that nothing will come for granted for Michael Linklater and co, considering the résumé of the other two teams in Pool A.
Maribor (SLO) might make their official World Tour debut but for Rok Smaka, it will be his big come-back. Last time the Slovenian stepped on a World Tour court, it was to lift the winning cheque at the Istanbul Final back in 2013 (with Team Ljubljana).
Team Paris (FRA) did not find much success in the Challengers this season but last year, they caught everybody's attention with a success over reigning champs Novi Sad Al Wahda (UAE) and a semi-final finish at the Prague Masters.
Like it is the case in all World Tour events, the seeding is conducted automatically according to the 3x3 individual World ranking (of the three best players from each team). According to the FIBA 3x3 regulations, teams are seeded as follows:
Team Gdansk (POL) will headline Pool B after going all the way to the semi-finals in Lausanne last year. Keep an eye on Team Liman (SRB) who proved they felt like home in Switzerland after winning the Lugano Challenger earlier this month. Last but not least, Team Manisa (TUR) is the latest squad to win the Turkish Quest.
Pool C will feature familiar faces with Team Kranj (SLO) who won in Lausanne in 2013 and finished second at the World Tour last year. The other two teams in the pool will make their first appearance at the World Tour but could surprise. Team Pavia (ITA) is basically the core of the Italian national team while Obrenovac (SRB) beat some of the best Serbian teams (including Liman) in the Serbian Quest final last weekend.
Local favourites Team Lausanne (SUI) are back. And so is another team that reached the quarter-finals last year, Team Zemun (SRB). The home crowd had better cheer for their team because the third team in the pool are the 3x3 Spanish champions. Say hi to Team Valladolid (ESP).
For those not making it to the city centre of the Olympic capital (entrance is free!), pool games will start at 17.00 local time (GMT+2) on Friday live on FIBA 3x3's official YouTube channel and Facebook Live. The top-two placed teams from each pool advance to a standard knock-out round which starts at the quarter-finals stage, from 17.15 local time on Saturday.