Posted: Friday, September 20, 2019. 3:10 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Despite being unable to qualify to the FIBA AmeriCup tournament next year after a pair of losses to Cuba and Bahamas earlier this year, there is some good news for the Belize national men’s basketball team this week: they are the 118th best team in the world, according to FIBA.
The Associated Press says the jump of 50 ranks is the biggest move in the rankings released this week, ahead of the likes of Kosovo, Togo, Tunisia and Ivory Coast.
Of course, the boys still have some ways to go to catch the all-conquering United States, which has been number one since winning the 2010 world championship and retains its top rank despite a disappointing seventh place finish at the recent Basketball World Cup. World Cup champion Spain stayed No. 2, Australia leaped eight spots to No. 3, World Cup finalist Argentina rose one spot to No. 4 and World Cup bronze-medalist France fell two slots to No. 5.
FIBA’s rankings take results from the most recent eight years into account. The U.S. continues to lead all four rankings for men, women, boys and girls.
The Americans are headed to the Tokyo Olympics with several top players agreeing to play including Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Damian Lillard, after an inexperienced squad was sent to the World Cup.
Also playing in the Olympics are hosts Japan, Argentina, Nigeria, Spain, France, Iran and Australia as the top teams from their region and four Olympic berths to be decided by Slovenia, Serbia, Lithuania, Greece, Russia, Brazil, Italy, Puerto Rico, Turkey, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Germany, Canada, the Czech Republic, Poland, New Zealand and Tunisia. There will be four six-team tournaments held from June 23-28, 2020 — winner-take-all, all in this case meaning an Olympic berth. Bidding for sites is expected to begin shortly, FIBA said.
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