Tomorrow is the final day of Group play at the World University Games and the standings are a little more clear when it comes to the championship rounds. A couple of upsets in the other pools clouded things, but there are only two teams left that are undefeated and they are the favorites.
Here are the standings going into the final day.
Chinese Taipei 3-1
South Korea 1-3
The most significant result from today was Mexico’s 89-83 upset of Serbia, throwing this Pool into complete chaos. Host Chinese Taipei now can assure advancement if it beats the Serbians tomorrow, and that sets up the potential of a three-way tie for the second spot if Mexico beats Hungary and Latvia beats South Korea. In this case Latvia has the edge, as they are +22 and even though Serbia is +32, a Serbian loss and Latvian win closes that gap. Chinese Taipei is 3-1, but only +1 in scoring margin. A loss that gets them into a tie with Latvia probably sends the Latvians through. Mexico is +8 and plays Hungary, so they need a bigger win to make up scoring ground on Latvia.
Hong Kong 0-4
Germany beat Finland 72-64 and is all but through to the championship round. Now they would have to lose to Canada and have Finland beat Hong Kong. Even then, the point differential between Germany and Finland is 85. Germany also has a +33 point differential over Canada. Basically, Canada has to beat Germany by at least 34 and Finland would have to beat Hong Kong by at least 51 points, which is possible because Hong Kong did lose by 69 to Germany. Regardless, as long as Canada does not beat Germany by 34 or more the Germans are through. The second spot would then go to Finland most likely based on head-to-head.
Czech Republic 1-3
This is where the point differential gets really hilarious. Estonia is up against it because they either need Argentina to lose or they need to be the United States by 139 points. That could get the 3-way tie, but the U.S. point differential is so large (138 over Estonia, 65 over Argentina) that Casey, Ledman, Juan, Kyle, and myself could play all 40 minutes and still keep the U.S. in the championship rounds (although Grady Eifert playing about 2 minutes would seal it). Argentina has the head-to-head tiebreaker over Estonia, but if they lose to Romania and Estonia upsets the U.S. it is Estonia that goes through.
Lithuania’s 76-71 win over Ukraine has this group in a 3-way tie. Now that sets up an intriguing game tomorrow. Israel plays Ukraine in a game where the winner is guaranteed to move on, but the loser is most likely done. Lithuania plays Russia in a dangerous game for the Lithuanians. Australia also still has an outside chance at the No. 2 spot because they are almost certainly going to tie with the Ukraine/Israel loser and Lithuania should Lithuania lose to Russia. The Aussies are -1 in point differential. Lithuania is +99, but would drop with a loss to Russia. Israel is +79 and Ukraine is +75. That seems daunting, but Australia is playing Mozambique, whose closest game was 44 points to Russia and Israel. Lithuania drubbed them by 87. If Australia unleashed an absolutely unmerciful beating on Mozambique and gets help with a Lithuanian loss they can advance.
Who is Most Likely to Advance
For all intents and purposes the United States and Germany are through to the championship. Finland is very likely through with only a game against 0-4 Hong Kong left. Argentina is also in good shape, as it should be Romania. The Serbia-Chinese Taipei winner is also through, as is the Israel-Ukraine winner. Latvia probably has the best shot of a team with two losses to advance, and Lithuania is through if it beats Russia.
As for us, PurdUeSA would play the second place team in Pool D if it beats Estonia. That means it will be Lithuania, Israel, Ukraine, or Australia.