Australia’s ultimately disappointing World Cup campaign in China has still produced a dramatic rise in basketball’s world rankings for the Boomers.
Although the men’s national team failed to secure their first medal at a major international tournament earlier this month, a string of impressive results before and during the World Cup has seen them jump from 11th to third in FIBA’s latest rankings.
Australia were beaten by eventual winners Spain in the semi-finals before losing to France in the play-off for third. The Boomers still leapfrogged fourth-ranked Argentina and France (fifth), who they beat in the second group stage.
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Patty Mills was the standout performer for the Boomers at the World Cup. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
FIBA said Australia’s victories over France and Lithuania contributed to their elevated status over a rankings period that spanned eight years. The Boomers also benefited from an impressive sequence of results in major tournaments, including a semi-finals appearance at the 2016 Rio Olympics and winning the FIBA Asia Cup in 2017.
The United States kept its No.1 spot in the rankings, even after a disappointing seventh-place showing in the World Cup.
It’s now nine-years-and-counting in the top spot for the US, which has held the No.1 ranking since winning the 2010 world championship.
Joe Ingles BEIJING, CHINA – SEPTEMBER 15: #7 Joe Ingles of Australia controls the ball during the 3rd place games between France and Australia of 2019 FIBA World Cup at the Cadillac Arena on September 15, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Di Yin/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
FIBA’s rankings take results from the most recent eight years into account — which means the US is still reaping point benefits from the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medals and the 2014 World Cup title.
“In this day and age, basketball in other countries is not a secret,” US coach Gregg Popovich said after the Americans completed their run in the World Cup.
“So it’s not like there’s an epiphany or a revelation to be made. There’s wonderful teams and wonderful coaches all over the world. You go compete and the best teams win.”
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It’s now expected that the US will retain the No.1 ranking going into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Several top NBA players, including Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Damian Lillard have said in recent days that they intend to play for the US in Tokyo, where the Americans will try to win a fourth consecutive gold medal.
Most top US players declined to be part of the World Cup team.
“I’m expecting them to be so strong next year,” Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said.
Originally published asBoomers rocket up the rankings
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