See, BiE secretly knew this would happen … you break down, make a few fearless predictions online and bam! The inconvenient fact of a loss – two losses in fact, one particularly egregious – goes down and you suddenly have to rework the whole damn post on 2010 FIBA World Championship power rankings.
In the egregious loss previously referenced, the proclamation that Team Canada would “surprise a few people” proved prophetic, but not in the way assumed. Over a squad that FIBA was forced to label a “Canadian developmental team” did Spain romp for a final score of 84-38. Those who’ve doubted the star power of Team Spain can note Felipe Reyes, Rudy Fernandez and Carlos Suarez all going for double-figures in limited team plus probably with one arm tied behind their backs.
And Team Slovenia was no doubt downloading BallinEurope’s original power rankings to use as fodder to beat up on Australia, 71-60. No depth, judged BiE? “Ha!” responded the Slovenes, who brought Sani Becirovic to put up 20 points and unleashed The Dragon for Goran Dragic to add 13. (BiE told you the Aussies would never get above no. 10 for the remainder of the tournament.)
Ah no matter … we knew these things were flexible, right? Plus, BallinEurope gets to splash a big “updated” across the post, like a real cutting-edge producer of news and opinion. BallinEurope’s official 2010 FIBA World Championship Power Rankings run below the break.
1. (↔) Spain. The defending champions immolated Canada, proving they’ll probably be able to sleepwalk through pool play. Sergio Scariolo has removed Pablo Aguilar for contention from the final squad, Sergio Llull may be next for the ax due to his injury, and it barely registers a blip in talent-level dropoff.
2. (↔) USA. BiE’s been accused of overrating European players, and it was presciently pointed out to BiE today that Team USA will possess one distinct advantage in this tournament, i.e. for the first time the three-point line has been moved to the American standard for FIBA tournament play. But they’re staying here until they get to beat up on some Canadians or something.
3. (↔) Greece. No reaction from the Greek contingent for placing Team Hellene a mere third? Disappointing that no one can tell me how Greece can beat Team USA … come on, there’s got to be someone out there…
4. (↔) Brazil. South American champion team members Murilo Becker and Nezinho Santos joined Team Brazil in practices today, making the (impressive) extended 14-man roster the following: Becker, Santos, Hatila Passos, Anderson Varejao, Maybyner Hilario, Tiago Splitter, Marquinhos Vieira, Guilherme Giovannoni, Marcelinho Machado, Leandro Barbosa, Alex Garcia, Marcelo Huertas, Paulo Boracini and Raul Togni Neto.
5. (↑) Serbia. No news remains good news for Team Serbia (in a way). Basically in a virtual tie for fifth place in the last BallinEurope 2010 FIBA World Championship Power Rankings, they’ll get to move up a spot thanks to an enviable lack of injuries. (See: Nocioni, Andres.)
6. (↓) Argentina. So what if Andres Nocioni’s injury is minor and that he’ll be off crutches by the opening game of this tournament? The lack of practice time and conditioning will surely hurt his game and this team.
7. (↑) Russia. BiE has also been informed that we’re overrating Team Russia going into this tournament … so why stop now? The truth is that Timofey Mozgov, still well on an upward swing after his breakout season with BC Khimki and his signing by the New York Knicks, has joined the squad. And that’s another plus.
8. (↓) Turkey. This impressive and perhaps underrated (by the general public, not BiE) squad is at full strength and head coach Bogdan Tanjevic is pleased with the team’s progress. So why do they lose a place in these power rankings? ‘Cause life’s unfair, BiE’s telling ya!
9. (↑) Slovenia. Right, BallinEurope is officially done with underestimating Slovenia. In fact, jettisoning pouty NBA stars seems to be the secret to Slovenia’s success. A few days after Beno Udrih left the team in a huff over playing time, the Slovenians just go out and dominate Australia, win a four-team tournament over three of the top teams of the Southern Hemisphere (Oz plus Asia’s top two, Iran and China) and prove that they’ll survive pool play already.
10. (↓) France. Still no Joakim Noah, still no moving up in this chart.
11. (↑) Lithuania. Okay, the basketball-happy land moves up by pure dint of the U18 team’s inspirational play this weekend. That and the fact that these guys now essentially appear to be getting handed at least third place in Group D.
12. (↑) Croatia. A recent barrage of bad news from the Team Croatia camp: Mario Delas and Leon Radosevic are out, while Zoran Planinic’s knee surgery will keep him from full practice for a while yet. A win against Italy gets Croatia this high in the rankings, but this tournament figures to be an uphill battle.
13. (↑) Germany. Without Dirk Nowitzki for the tournament, in the short term Team Germany almost has a best-of-both-worlds advantage: The national team gets to break in a roster chockfull of young talent from Tibor Pleiss and Lucca Staiger on down from a group in which Germany has a puncher’s chance to advance.
14. (↓) Australia. Thoroughly spanked by Slovenia on Sunday, Australia has plenty of time to get just enough bottle up to advance out of pool play. (They’re better than Angola and Jordan, right? Right? Also: How much will Andrew Bogut’s stock increase by *not* playing in this tournament?)
15. (↑) China. Coming in third place in a four-team tournament and you move *up* in the BiE Power Rankings? Yes, for two reasons: 1. They barely lost to Australia and 2. They should advance from Group C … unless it’s Puerto Rico…
16. (↓) Canada. Who knows why after the 84-38 at the hands of (a real team) Spain? This spot could well be occupied by Liberia or New Zealand … perhaps Group D should be called “The Group of Life.”