Old Power Rankings: Day 1
1. Team USA (2-0, Def. France, Tunisia)
Last Ranking: 1
The expected happens, and Team USA does it in spectacular fashion. Tunisia suffered a tremendous defeat, and Team USA remains the clear favourite.
2. Spain (2-0, Def. China, Australia)
Last Ranking: 3
Spain's win over Australia was dominant, despite the close final score. Australia made a meaningless comeback in the fourth, but Spain established their lead well in the second and third quarters, and put their big men to good use against Australia's weak front line.
3. Russia (2-0, Def. Great Britain, China)
Last Ranking: 2
Russia did what they needed to in Day 2, delivering a smothering win over the outmatched Chinese. They dominated the boards and defensive post, and this team still looks like they could beat anybody in this tournament. Spain only gets the bump up for crushing Australia.
4. France (1-1, Loss to Team USA, Def. Argentina)
Last Ranking: 6
After a devastating loss to Team USA, France has recovered nicely with a win against Argentina. It's hard knowing whether they can keep their good play alive, because the win can be largely attributed to the good play of role guys, like Mickael Gelabale and Kevin Seraphin. Plus, Tony Parker still hasn't played at a full level since his eye injury. Still, given the talent level of the team and the interior defense Turiaf brings, I'm willing to put them as high as four.
Below: Rankings 5 to 12!
5. Argentina (1-1, Def. Lithuania, Loss to France)
Last Ranking: 4
Their loss to France is totally excusable. The Argentine team played a good game, and the French were really ready to step it up after a big loss. But what scares me more is their lineup management. Despite having a bench that's experienced in international play and totally capable, the team played no reserve for more than 8 minutes altogether. This lack of confidence in their reserves will kill Argentina in a grueling tournament like this.
6. Lithuania (1-1, Loss to Argentina, Def. Nigeria)
Last Ranking: 9
Some of you might be thinking: "They only beat Nigeria! Why in the hell is this team ahead of Brazil?" Well, I'll tell you why. Lithuania didn't only beat Nigeria, they totally crushed them in areas where Nigeria normally excels, like rebounding and steals. Nigeria was never even close to grabbing the lead. This comes after the loss of Robertas Javtokas and a crushing loss to Argentina. Sure, they need to earn their keep later on by beating a real team, but for the time being, they're redeemed from an embarrassing tournament.
7. Brazil (2-0, Def. Australia, Great Britain)
Last Ranking: 5
Yeah, Brazil is 2-0 and has secured a ticket to the tournament stage, but they're a really weak 2-0. I have no doubt about their ability to beat China, but they let the thin British team challenge them late in the fourth because of their poor three point shooting. They can't rebound very well, and their offense is really slow. Right now, the team is looking like an absolute gift of a first round matchup for whomever finishes second in Group A.
8. Australia (0-2, Loss to Brazil, Spain)
Last Ranking: 7
Right now, they look like the strongest competitor among the three 0-2 teams in Group B. They basically ride up and down on their shooting and can fall into huge deficits, but their flaws don't look as bad as those of Great Britain or China. They have a decent rotation going, and they can, at times, use their rebounding and post play. They've hung around with Brazil and Spain, which says enough. Plus, Patty Mills isn't the worst point guard you could ever have.
9. China (0-2, Loss to Spain, Russia)
Last Ranking: 10
They've had a brutal opening schedule, but they've used it to figure out who will work within their rotation, and they've done a decent job of hanging around with better opponents. They still face some serious problems, such as bad rebounding despite their size, poor three point defense, and a non-existant transition game, but they'll probably win one before this is all said and done.
10. Great Britain (0-2, Loss to Russia, Brazil)
Last Ranking: 11
I know they lost to Brazil, but to me, that loss only proved that even when their role players (Reinking, Clark) step up, this team still doesn't have what it takes to win. They're too thin, and everybody outside the big three just isn't very good.
11. Nigeria (1-1, Def. Tunisia, Loss to Lithuania)
After a close call with Tunisia, this team came out and laid an egg against Lithuania, the team they had beaten only a few weeks ago. They need to do something to get their mojo back, or they could find themselves sinking far out of this tournament.
12. Tunisia (0-2, Loss to Nigeria, Team USA)
To their credit, they did a good job of hitting threes and guarding the paint early on in the game against Team USA. Still, this team is most likely destined to be the punching bag of Group A, as they just don't have that much talent.
Who tops your power rankings? Are my rankings silly? Let us know and post a comment!