Article written in partnership with Extra time Basket
The tempo is frantic, however all people is aware of the rule: if you’re 19 (or youthful) there is not any vitality to spare. The FIBA U19 World Cup pulled up the curtain on Saturday June 29th, and the younger males competing will take pleasure in simply two days of relaxation till July seventh, the date set for the ultimate match.
We’re in Heraklion, on the Isle of Crete, Greece, and the group stage motion has now reached its conclusion – leaving the only elimination bracket puzzle. Based on the occasion’s format, every of the 16 groups will qualify for the second section, beginning with the spherical of 16, however every group’s standing will probably be key in defining matchups. The cube is not but thrown, by no means. Even the crew that ended its group lifeless final can have an opportunity of reaching the finals, operating towards the percentages in an uphill aspect of the bracket.
Simply ask Latvia for proof. Try to knock at their door, to inquire about their temper. It is arduous to guess if coach Visockis-Rubenis’ crew is perhaps disheartened – three losses, although Group B was powerful, just isn’t a correct observe as much as final 12 months’s European Championship’s silver medal. Or whether or not the crew is perhaps in good spirit, given how dedicated they’re to go all-in now, with nothing to lose.
Not having Arturs Zagars round certainly harm them. He ought to have been their most important level guard and a frontrunner for the World Cup Prime 5, however he wasn’t healty sufficient for a spot within the closing roster. His “Spanish colleague”, Arturs Kurucs, stepped up in his absence, scoring a mean near 20 factors per sport, however this feat did not keep away from two breakdowns towards Mali and Australia. The Canada matchup, a 78-75 loss, provides Latvian followers some cause to hope: besides that their spherical of 16 opponent will wave the star spangled banner.
USA collected three straightforward wins in a row, towering over New Zealand with 111 factors. Extra importantly, coach Weber acquired the information he was eagerly ready for: his roster is certainly able to performing in the long term and it is properly balanced, shifting gears between Jalen Inexperienced (14 factors towards Senegal) and Cade Cunningham (21 towards Lithuania). Given the event’s format we must be cautious with predictions, however we really feel protected to say this a lot: if you wish to to face an opportunity, you have to beat america.
Much more so as a result of the present titleholder, Canada, hasn’t shone up to now. Nonetheless, overcoming Latvia of their final match rewarded them with group B’s first place, and their path to a medal match appears immediately simpler – or is it? Their first opponent will probably be Senegal, who endend fourth in USA’s group. Lacking the expertise of RJ Barrett – who’s making himself prepared for his first season beneath New York’s brigh lights – coach Vanhooren’s boys had been overwhelmed by Mali (extra on this later) and narrowly beat Latvia and Australia: AJ Lawson is a bonafide star, however there’s additionally buzz round Karim Mane who’s been surprisingly good up to now, main his crew in factors and assists. Maybe he’ll be their key participant in the event that they’re seeking to land on the rostrum.
It is time to discuss concerning the mighty efficiency of Mali. This crew is the event’s finest story, fingers down. That is the second time in a row that they’ve taken half within the occasion, however the final time round they had been despatched packing with out scoring a single win. In Crete, it took solely 40 minutes to see their revenge come true. Latvia was soundly overwhelmed, 93 – 79, Karim Coulibaly’s sport (who performs within the NCAA at Pitt) was off the charts. Then it is Canada’s flip.
Mali led for the entire match however ultimately it got here right down to crunch time, the place Canada did not hit the deciding three pointer. All of the sudden on wobbly legs, Mali left the door open for Canada’s comeback however ended up prevailing 71 – 70. After the buzzer goes off, Malian gamers and supporters go wild and the hardwood itself turns into a floor for celebrations. It is a view that conveys a powerful love for the sport and a real pleasure; it could be so good to see extra of this, in skilled basketball. Reality be informed, Mali performs a sound model of basketball: they’re poised, energetic, nimble. In opposition to Australia they lastly debuted Oumar Ballo, the youngest of the squad however already dedicated to Gonzaga, and he answered the decision with 20 factors and seven boards. Within the spherical of 16, we’ll see Mali go face to face in a enjoyable matchup towards New Zealand, the very best among the many “Beasts from the East”: Philippines (discouraged by Ariel John Edu’s knee harm) and China has did not carry out at its finest.
Coming again to Europe, Lithuania was not directly a “Baltic disappointment” too: only one win in group A, and now their bracket is an uphill race. Greece, the occasion’s host, has additionally completed Group C play with a single win, though their expectations weren’t as excessive: the crew is younger at its core, and so they have causes to smile taking a look at how Nikolaos Rogkavopoulos is performing one 12 months forward of his class. He is already pacing his crew in scoring, with 16.7 factors per sport.
Within the spherical of 16 Greece will sq. off towards France in what appears to be a “Mission Impossibile”. This iteration of the France nationwide crew is aiming for a medal, nothing to cover about it. They’ve a deep and athletic roster, a really resourceful array of gamers, plus Joel Ayayi is doing all of it, and in fashion. He is France’s finest rebounder too: that is no straightforward feat if you’re the place to begin guard. Who is aware of, although, if France will be capable of decide up their momentum after their conflict towards Serbia for the supremacy of group D? The match was a nailbiter, Ayayi scored 33 and Pecarski responded with 28, however ultimately it got here right down to Serbia being an absolute juggernaut within the paint. Serbia now has three wins in a row – however virtually gifted Puerto Rico with the possibility at a miracle comeback – Serbia boasts the rock-solid duo of Pecarski and Petrusev (21.three factors per sport every) and retains trying on the street forward, feeling all however content material after final 12 months’s FIBA U18 European Championship gold medal.
We keep in Europe to provide credit score to perennial contender Russia; their group stage has been spectacular, adorned by two moments to recollect: Nikita Mikhailovskii’s 20 + 13 + 12 triple double, the primary one within the U19 World Cup since Dario Saric in 2013 (as odd as it might appear, within the earlier sport Mikhailovskii had failed to attain a single basket, with 10 missses on 10 photographs), and an early candidate for “match of the tournament”: a 86 – 84 extra time defeat.
Argentina got here out on prime of that one, and it is protected to say that albiceleste has been the most effective trying underdogs of the occasion up to now. After three wins in a row they’re ready Puerto Rico as their spherical of 16 opponent, and it is price noting that Argentina has gone up to now with out the assist of star participant Leandro Bolmaro, of Barcelona, injured in that very first sport againts Russia. In his wake, Juan Ignacio Marcos and Francisco Caffaro introduced their A-game, with sturdy showings from Francisco Farabello too. That is how the only elimination bracket has formed up. Matches start on Wednesday July third; the primary spherical of fights to see who’ll be the final one standing as the brand new King of Crete.
USA – Latvia
New Zealand – Mali
Lithuania – Australia
Senegal – Canada
Argentina – Puerto Rico
Russia – China
Greece – France
Philippines – Serbia