January 24, 2014

2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup mock draw 2.0

A week from now FIBA will announce the four wild cards which will complete the 24-team FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. A week from Monday, they'd draw the teams to determine how the groups are split up. In between those dates, FIBA will announce how the teams will be seeded, and how the pots will be split up. Way back in September 2013, I already made a mock draw, before the conclusion of the EuroBasket. Now that all of the continental championships are over, and the 15 wild card entrants are known, it's way past time for a version 2 of the mock draw. Let's begin!

First, how the pots are split up. Let's make some changes on how I thought FIBA came up with the pots:
  • Line 1: 2010 semifinalists that made it outright and host
  • Line 2: Rest of the top 6 EuroBasket 2013 teams
  • Line 3: Top 4 teams from 2013 FIBA Americas Championship
  • Line 4: Wild cards
  • Line 5: Top 3 teams from 2013 FIBA Asia Championship and Australia
  • Line 6: Top 3 trams from 2013 FIBA Africa Championship and New Zealand
So we'd come up with:
  • Line 1: USA, Lithuania, Serbia, Spain
  • Line 2: France, Croatia, Slovenia, Ukraine
  • Line 3: Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Dominican Republic
  • Line 4: WC1, WC2, WC3, WC4
    • I'll call the wild cards as China, Brazil, Italy and Greece
  • Line 5: Iran, Philippines, Korea, Australia
  • Line 6: Angola, Egypt, Senegal, New Zealand
So, let's draw!
  • Group A: Lithuania, Slovenia, Mexico, WC4 (Greece), Korea, New Zealand
  • Group B: USA, Croatia, Puerto Rico, WC2 (Brazil), Iran, Angola
  • Group C: Serbia, France, Dominican Republic, WC3 (Italy), Philippines, Egypt
  • Group D: Spain, Ukraine, Argentina, WC1 (China), Australia, Senegal
Tournament mock-up:
  • Group A:
    1. Lithuania
    2. Greece (WC4)
    3. Slovenia
    4. Mexico
    5. New Zealand
    6. Korea
  • Group B:
    1. USA
    2. Brazil (WC2)
    3. Croatia
    4. Angola
    5. Puerto Rico
    6. Iran
  • Group C:
    1. France
    2. Italy (WC3)
    3. Serbia
    4. Dominican Republic
    5. Egypt
    6. Philippines
  • Group D:
    1. Spain
    2. Argentina
    3. Ukraine
    4. Australia
    5. China (WC1)
    6. Senegal
  •  Round of 16:
    • Lithuania > Angola
    • Brazil > Slovenia
    • USA > Mexico
    • Croatia > Greece
    • France > Australia
    • Argentina > Serbia
    • Spain > Dominican Republic
    • Italy > Ukraine
  • Quarterfinals
    • Brazil > Lithuania
    • USA > Croatia
    • France > Argentina
    • Spain > Italy
  • Semifinals
    • USA > Brazil
    • France > Spain
  • Finals
    • 3rd: Spain > Brazil
    • Final: USA > France
Just so you know, this is a mock draw, a mock mock-up and everything here is a product of my imagination. The results are mainly based on who'd show up in Spain, and yes, I see Brazil doing well here. As long as until they meet the US in the knockout stages, they'd do fine as they say they'd bring everyone. And yes, I see Tony Parker signing up after saying after EuroBasket that he'll miss this one.

As for the Philippines, Gilas faces really tall (pun intended) odds, even with all of the time they'd get from training. Chot knows this, and he won't actually do anything until the groups are drawn. At this point, it's virtually impossible for the Philippines to beat a European team; they can probably beat New Zealand, an African team and a fellow Asian team (won't be grouped in this case) or an Americas team that doesn't have NBA players. They have to win twice to be almost sure, or once, then hope for a favorable tiebreaker.

If the group that has the Philippines includes two of the beatable teams, the Philippines can sneak in. Again, with the tiebreaker rules, if you're a crappy team (and the Philippines is, in this stage), it's better to win big against a crappy team than win or even lose a close one against a strong team, since the tiebreakers are usually within the tied -- crappy -- teams first. See for example, what happened to Lebanon in 2006: the Lebanese beat France, but France ended 2nd in the group, and Lebanon was in a three-way tie for 3rd-5th. They lost (heavily) all of their games against the teams teams they were tied with, including a massive blowout in the must-win group finale against Nigeria, to miss the knockout stages. They did beat Venezuela though.

So, if the draw turns out to be favorable, Chot has one mission: beat the crappy teams. If he can do that, he can afford to even win one game, and make sure that one win is a massive win against a crappy team, and the Philippines can meet up with the best team from the other group, in this case, vs. Spain, in the round of 16.

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