With two games left a lot of people are wondering about the next phase the World University Games Basketball tournament. Who qualifies for the next round and what happens after the group stage. Well, this post is to answer all that.
The countries have been divided into four pools of six teams each. The pools themselves will be decided by a round robin and the top two teams in each pool will advance to the championship round. The middle two teams will advance to 9th through 16th place classification tournament, while the bottom two teams will advance to the 17th through 24th place classification tournament. Any ties would be decided by the head-to-head matchup result.
Once the three classification rounds are set each team will still have three games to play, as even a loss in the first round of the championship classification would send a team to a sub-classification exactly like an 8-team early season tournament would do. This means PurdUeSA has five games left (two pool play games, three classification games) no matter what.
Now that everyone has played three games here are the current standings:
Chinese Taipei 2-1
South Korea 1-2
Serbia is all but through to the championship round at 3-0. Their next game is against Mexico, and a win moves them on for sure. The host Chinese Taipei is up against it slightly with a loss to Latvia, so they need to beat South Korea and Serbia to ensure advancement. The four 1-2 teams are a jumbled mess, but the Hungary-Latvia game eliminates at least one of them.
Hong Kong 0-3
This one is a little more clear-cut, and of interest for the U.S. Since we played Canada twice in warm-ups the Canadians are a good litmus test for how we stack up with some of the other teams, especially since we went to overtime with them. The Canadians have beaten Norway and Hong Kong, but have a 79-71 loss to Finland. That means they pretty much have to beat Germany in the final game (as well as beat Japan tomorrow) to have a shot at advancing. The winner of tomorrow’s Finland-Germany game assures a spot in the championship round. Finland is in very good shape regardless with a win over Canada in its pocket and a final game against Hong Kong, who is one of the three worst teams in the event.
United States 3-0
Czech Republic 1-2
PurdUeSA is in excellent shape to advance, especially after Argentina beat Estonia today. Now a win over Romania and an Estonian loss to the Czech Republic tomorrow clinches the top of the group (more on this later) no matter what Purdue does Friday vs. Estonia. The Argentines are now in the second spot to advance, and they should move on with games left against Romania and the United Arab Emirates.
The Ukrainians continue to surprise with a 72-65 win over Russia today that kept them in the driver’s seat of Pool D. They still have to close with games against Lithuania tomorrow and Israel on Friday, but the narrow wins over Australia and Russia have them in front. One more win sends them to the championship tournament. The second spot comes down to Lithuania and Israel. Lithuania has the edge, having beaten Israel 79-70. Lithuania must still also play the Russians on Friday in addition to the Ukraine tomorrow. Israel gets Ukraine in its final game but basically has a day off tomorrow against Mozambique, who has been outscored by 200 total points in its three games (Mozambique is REALLY BAD).
How Does The Championship Round Work?
The championship works so that PurdUeSA will not have a potential rematch with its pool partner until the final game. The quarterfinals would go as follows:
Pool A winner vs. Pool B runner-up
Pool C winner vs. Pool D runner-up
Pool B winner vs. Pool A runner-up
Pool D winner vs. Pool C runner-up
The A1/B2 winner would then play the C1/D2 winner in the first semifinal and the B1/A2 winner would play the D1/C2 winner in the second semifinal. This is where your group placement becomes important. If PurdUeSA wins Group C as expected it would play the Group D runner-up first (currently Lithuania, but it could be Israel or Ukraine). We would then play the A1/B2 winner (currently Croatia and the loser between Germany/Finland. If PurdUeSA finishes as runner-up it would get the D winner (currently the Ukraine), then the B1/A2 winner (currently the Finland/Germany loser or Chinese Taipei.
So far Germany and the United States are the two strongest teams. PurdUeSA has outscored its opposition by 116, but the Germans have outscored theirs by 132. We both have unmerciful beatings to our credit (the U.S 127-53 over the UAE and Germany 119-50 over Hong Kong). By winning the group we probably avoid Germany until the Gold medal game (unless they lose to Finland).
So there is your update. I can do another one of these after tomorrow’s games if you would like.