Villanova's basketball team arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday with enough time to do some sightseeing before curfew. Israel, their opponent today, also travelled to the Dutch capitol on Thursday, but star forward Omri Casspi stayed home. The loss of Casspi takes away the sole NBA-talent on the Israeli roster and makes the Wildcat's opener slightly less daunting.
Casspi reportedly suffered a knee injury on Wednesday night while participating in a training session with his national team. The injury occurred when he slipped a half-hour into the practice, creating a slight tear in his knee ligaments, requiring complete rest for at least 10 days — making it highly unlikely that Casspi will show up in Amsterdam at all.
The other team in blue and white will not be the same without their star player, but they do have talent elsewhere on the court. Their coach is concerned, but hopes to make lemonade:
"Clearly we only have one Yotam Halperin, one Lior Eliyahu and one Casspi, but we will do our best to prepare for the tournament without him," Israel coach Arik Shivek told the Jerusalem Post.
He may be available for the European Championships later this month, however.