April 23, 2014
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) - Spain is favored to win a third straight European basketball championship despite the absence of Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka and the shooting of Juan Carlos Navarro when the 24-team tournament starts on Wednesday.
Spain will rely on Marc Gasol and Ricky Rubio to become the first winner of three straight European titles since Yugoslavia in 1977.
Their campaign begins against Croatia in Celje.
Two years ago in Lithuania, the Gasol brothers were a huge presence under the basket, while Navarro added 27 points in the 98-85 victory over France in the final.
France is back with Tony Parker, but is missing some of its own big men, including Joakim Noah.