Where once there was 12 now stand 8. The quarter finals are set so it’s time to update our Power Rankings.
There are some radical changes but I still expect plenty of you will be upset. Take aim in the comments.
1. Croatia (4-1). It was really tough to decide between first and second here. Three straight wins in the second round, including that unreal 2OT win over Greece on Monday, were just enough for them to get top slot.
2. Serbia (4-1). So that ranking of 9 was harsh. Serbia still clearly have a lot of work to do but their win over France was particularly impressive.
3. Slovenia (3-2). The home team is really getting the crowd involved in their games. Their win over Italy exposed some of the latter’s failings. Following that up with a heart-stopper over Greece was enough to take third here. We’re not counting what was clearly a nothing game against Finland against them.
4. Lithuania (4-1). This feels a little low but there is a lot to like about this team. Their quarter final match-up is particularly favourable given Italy’s trouble breaking down opponents with substantial presence inside.
5. Spain (2-3). A little high? Splitting the next three teams was tough especially as these rankings are what have you done for me lately more than what do I know you can do. The OT loss to Italy was hardly inspiring but when they’re on, they can beat anyone. The quarter final with Serbia has game of the tournament potential.
6. France (3-2). A ranking wholly to do with performance more than talent. France certainly has the latter but their in and out performances through the tournament have me wary of them in knockout play.
7. Italy (3-2). Finally we see Gentile deliver big. Now all he has to do is repeat the feat in each of the next three games. Luigi Datome and Marco Belinelli have carried this side. To stay alive they need the rest of the team to step up like they did on Monday.
8. Ukraine (2-3). If Pooh Jeter can deliver one more display like the one he delivered against Serbia, Ukraine could be going to the World Cup. That said, of the quarter finalists they remain the team most likely to be on the outside looking in.
9. Greece (1-4). Considering the emotion of their win over Spain, what followed was quite the let-down. Greece played the best of the four teams not to progress but it’s scant consolation.
10. Belgium (1-4). The Lions come good at last. Belgium played their hearts out throughout EuroBasket and finished with a big win that meant an early exit for Latvia.
11. Latvia (1-4). Like Greece they started the second stage with a big win but couldn’t follow it up. A chance lost.
12. Finland (2-3). Guys, it was a blast but all good parties have to end. See you at the next EuroBasket where undoubtedly we will all underestimate you again.
The next set of rankings will go up after the quarters.