By Christophe Morel, USAG Benelux Public AffairsNovember 21, 2018
CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- From Nov. 26 to Dec. 1, 15 teams will compete to win the 53rd annual SHAPE International Basketball Tournament. Here are five things to know about the event.
1. The first women's tournament is held this year.
For the first time, female teams will have their own tournament! Five countries from Europe and North America will try to be the first to win the SHAPE IBT.
2. There are more participating teams than last year.
Last year, eight teams participated in the event. For the 53rd edition, the number of participants almost doubled! Ten teams will compete in the men's tournament, and five countries will compete in the women's tournament. The men's teams are from Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, U.S., and SHAPE. Female teams are from Latvia, Great Britain, France, Belgium, and The Netherlands.
3. There will be 36 games in the tournament.
More teams mean more games. During the tournament, the community will have the opportunity to watch 36 games in one week! There will be six games per day. The first game of the day will start at 9 a.m., and the last one will start at 8 p.m. Spectators are invited to bring all the accessories they need to show their support. All games are held at the basketball court inside the SHAPE Fitness Center.
4. The teams are comprised of active-duty military members.
The SHAPE International Basketball Tournament is a great opportunity to see military members playing basketball. All players are military members from NATO countries. The U.S. team is comprised of members from the U.S. Armed Forces Sports Men's Basketball team.
5. The U.S. men's team will defend their championship title.
Last year, the U.S. men's team won the tournament after defeating France (91-64) in the final game. The U.S. won all five games last year and is one of the biggest favorites this year. Of course, other teams have a chance to win the tournament.
If you cannot watch the games in-person, you can watch AFN Benelux's livestream on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AFNBenelux. AFN Benelux will stream the opening and closing ceremonies, U.S. and SHAPE team games, semi-final games and final game. The games will also broadcasted on-air at 101.7 FM (Brussels), 107.9 FM (Chièvres), SHAPE (106.5 FM) and 99.7 FM and 96.9 (Tri-Border Community). Listeners can also tune into AFN360 Internet Radio at http://www.afneurope.net/AFN-360/.