Not too long ago, the FIBA rankings were as follows (just the Top 15):
- Czech Republic
Well that’s changed. Here’s the new Top 15:
- Dominican Republic
France has fallen from a Top Three team to #17.
Incidentally, we misunderstood an important element of how the World Cup works. We assumed when France was eliminated, that meant they were going home. But instead, they are relegated to the equivalent of the loser’s bracket and play will continue there until everyone is sorted out.
It’s not like how we do things in the states obviously. It has a lot more in common with the soccer world in that sense. We’ll try harder to understand as things move into Round 2.
In Thursday’s highlights, France moved to 2-2 with a win over hapless Iran, 82-55, Japan knocked off Venezuela 86-77, Luol Deng’s South Sudan beat the Philippines 87-68 and China finally won one, taking out Angola 83-76.
On Friday, Italy and Serbia play first, followed by Georgia vs. Germany, Latvia vs. Spain, Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic, Australia vs. Slovenia, Greece vs. Lithuania and Brazil vs. Canada.
We kept the US vs. Montenegro for last. That game will be over by the time you read this. It’s scheduled to start at 4:30 AM.
Of these, the ones we’re most curious about are Latvia vs. Spain, Australia vs. Slovenia, Greece vs. Lithuania and Brazil vs. Canada. Latvia and Spain should just be fun. Australia is really talented but they have been erratic. Can’t do that with Luka on deck! So that one should be fun. Lithuania is Lithuania. It’s like it’s the Kinston of International basketball: they punch way above their weight. And as for Canada, they’re playing great. Brazil is not what it once was when Oscar Schmidt swaggered across the International stage and shot down anyone and everyone, including the US, but we’re still curious about what they might have. The Canadians are awfully good though.
Realistically, we can’t see Montenegro pulling an upset here, but it’s a chance for the US to work on the various things that Steve Kerr and staff might be worried about. Team USA could get a lot out of this game beyond a simple win.
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