USA Basketball is back atop the FIBA men’s world rankings, even after failing to medal at the World Cup.
The Americans swapped places with Spain at No. 1 in the world in the updated rankings released Friday, regaining the top spot they lost late last year. Spain is now No. 2 and world champions Germany have moved up eight places to No. 3 on the world list – the best in the program’s history.
It’s certainly possible now that the Americans can maintain the top spot heading into the Paris Olympics, where the U.S. will aim for a fifth straight gold medal. FIBA, the sport’s governing body, updates its rankings every few months; Friday’s update was the first change to the men’s roster since February.
Spain overtook the United States in November 2022, ending 12 years of American dominance.
“The world is good at basketball,” American point guard Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks said as the World Cup drew to a close. “Respect everyone.”
The FIBA rankings were changed in 2017 to a system that only takes into account results from the last eight years. Olympic gold medals from Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo are factored into the current rankings and are obviously helpful after back-to-back failures at the last two World Cups – the US finished seventh in China in 2019 and fourth in Manila earlier this month. falling to Germany in the semi-final and Canada in the bronze medal match.
Canada moved up nine places to No. 6 in the world after winning that bronze medal, and Latvia – who reached the quarterfinals of their first World Cup – moved up 22 places to No. 8.
The top 10 teams are the United States, Spain, Germany, Australia (which fell one place to No. 4), World Cup silver medalist Serbia (which moved up ‘one place to No. 5), Canada and Argentina (down three places to No. 5). 7 after not even making the World Cup), Latvia, France (down four places to No. 9) and Lithuania (down four places to No. 10).
The biggest riser in the rankings after the World Cup was South Sudan, who were world No. 63 before the tournament and climbed 32 places to 31st. South Sudan qualified for the Paris Olympics after finishing the World Cup as the top country. Africa’s finisher at the tournament.
“This team is a ray of light, as I keep saying,” South Sudan coach Royal Ivey said after his team clinched the Olympic berth in Manila. “We bring unity, camaraderie, love and friendship to this country.”
Latvia is the second biggest climber, rising 22 places, and Cape Verde – who won the World Cup – improved their ranking by 19 places to 46th.
“We made a statement,” Will Tavares, a Rhode Island-born striker for Cape Verde, said after the World Cup victory. “Even though we are the smallest country, we have so much heart. »
There are 159 men’s teams in the FIBA rankings. USA Basketball is also ranked No. 1 in the other three sets of rankings maintained by FIBA: women’s, boys’ and girls’, all by wide margins.
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