Sunday, June 19, 2011

FIBA Americas Cup 2011 -- U16 Americas Cup Field is Set...Almost

Puerto Rico, Mexico, and...Belize?
A review of the FIBA Americas standings at the Centrobasket U16 Championship 2011 held in Mexico City, Mexico indicates that Puerto Rico (4-0 with one game remaining) will qualify for the FIBA U16 Americas Cup, the tournament to start next week. Puerto Rico will be assigned to the A pool (see below). Mexico, also 4-0 going into the last game has already qualified for the Americas Cup and was assigned to Pool A back in May. Puerto Rico and Mexico meet in the last game (played later today -- Sunday), so one will finish undefeated while the other will take second place. The second qualifier from Centrobasket U16 will most likely be Belize, currently sporting a 2-2 record. The fourth place teams, Costa Rico and El Salvador are 1-3. Should Belize lose later today to El Salvador all three will most likely finish at 2-3 -- Costa Rico, facing 0-4 Guatemala is almost assured to finish 2-3 as well -- and will require a tie-breaker to determine the team for Pool B. The cleanest finish would be for Belize to beat El Salvador. Both have already played the leaders, Puerto Rico and Mexico, and lost. Belize has a -35 point margin in the two contests, while El Salvador is -127 (that is not a typo...). Though the game has to be played (and anything can happen...), I suspect that Belize will win, given that both also played Costa Rico, and Belize, in their head-to-head beat the Costa Ricans by a point (71-70), while El Salvador lost by 28 (79-51). If Belize loses while Costa Rico wins, and the tie-break is:
1. Head-to-head, then the FIBA Americas Commission will have to go to a second tie-breaker;
2. Point margin among the tied teams, then Belize should get the last spot;

The projected pools (Belize beats El Salvador or wins the tie-breaker):

Pool APool B
MexicoUnited States
Puerto RicoBelize

As expected both Puerto Rico and Mexico dominated the Centrobasket U16 field. Ironic that both wound up in Pool A. Given the strength of Canada, Puerto Rico (and do not underestimate home court advantage) and Mexico, Pool A could be interesting (though Canada and Puerto Rico would still have to be favored to advance to the medal rounds). USA games through pool play...

06/21/11 TuesBrazil
06/22/11 Wed.Argentina
06/23/11 ThurBelize

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