Power Rankings: Where does each team sit before the final window of Americas Qualifiers?
MIAMI (United States) - Six tickets to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 remain up for grabs as we approach the final window of the Americas Qualifiers with eight countries still battling for those final spots.
Canada were the only country to clinch a spot at this summer's World Cup in the last window, which means that two spots are left in Group E, three spots in Group F and the best fourth-place team that could come from either group.
Let's take a look at the latest edition of the power rankings as teams continue their quest for one of the six available spots left in this year's tournament to be played in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. (Movement from previous rankings in parentheses)
#1. Canada (+1)
Current Record: 10-0 (1st in Group E)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 15th
Canada have been the strongest team throughout the Americas Qualifiers, as they rank first in multiple stat categories including points per game (102.6), assists per game (22.4), steals per game (10.7), field goal percentage (51.4) and three-point percentage (44.1). They've outscored their opponents with a +345 margin across their 10 wins and will look to continue that extremely high level of play in their final two qualifying games against Argentina and Venezuela.
If Canada were to win those two remaining matchups, they would become the region's first team ever to complete the qualification cycle undefeated.
#2. USA (-1)
Current Record: 8-2 (1st in Group F)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 2nd
USA haven't officially qualified for the World Cup, but that time could be growing near, as they will do so with a win against Uruguay or if Brazil defeat Puerto Rico on February 23. It's still yet to be determined if USA or Brazil will finish atop Group F, and if Brazil win their first game, it will come down to USA vs. Brazil on February 26 to decide first place in the group.
#3. Brazil (+2)
Current Record: 7-3 (2nd in Group F)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 13th
After losing three qualifying games in a row to Colombia, Puerto Rico and Mexico, Brazil rebounded nicely and have now won two in a row against USA and Mexico. If Brazil defeat Puerto Rico on February 23, they will clinch their spot at the World Cup and the winner of their game against USA on February 26 would then clinch first place in Group F.
#4. Venezuela (-)
Current Record: 7-3 (2nd in Group E)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 17th
Despite losing both games in the November 2022 window, Venezuela are still currently in a good position in Group E. They have two crucial home games coming up against Bahamas and Canada, but if they can defeat Bahamas, and Canada also defeat Argentina on February 23, Venezuela's spot at the World Cup will be clinched.
#5. Argentina (-2)
Current Record: 7-3 (4th in Group E)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 4th
After not playing in the November 2022 window, point guard Facundo Campazzo should be back with Argentina to try and help them qualify for the World Cup. With two tough home games against Canada and Dominican Republic, it will be important to win at least one of those games, especially the game against Dominican Republic, as Argentina lost their first game to them, 80-69.
Pablo Prigioni's squad wouldn't yet qualify even with a win over Canada on February 23, so it will all come down to the final game on February 26.
#6. Dominican Republic (+2)
Current Record: 7-3 (3rd in Group E)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 25th
One of the three teams tied in Group E alongside Venezuela and Argentina, Dominican Republic will be on the road against Panama and Argentina for their final two qualifying games. They can't yet qualify for the World Cup even with a win on February 23, meaning that things will get really interesting on the final day of qualifiers on February 26.
The three aforementioned teams (Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Argentina) will be battling it out until the end for the second and third spots in the group, while the odd team out will have to hope that their record matches up well against the fourth-place team from Group F.
#7. Puerto Rico (-)
Current Record: 6-4 (3rd in Group F)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 21st
Puerto Rico moved up to third place in Group F thanks to a 2-0 November 2022 window where they won both games at home. Now, the Boricuas will play away from home in their final two games against Brazil and Colombia.
There's actually a scenario where Puerto Rico could qualify for the World Cup on February 23 and that's if they beat Brazil, USA prevail over Uruguay and Colombia also defeat Mexico. If one of those things don't happen, however, it will come down to the final game on February 26.
#8. Mexico (-2)
Current Record: 6-4 (4th in Group F)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 31st
Mexico go into the window tied with Puerto Rico in Group F at 6-4, but they don't have the head-to-head tiebreak, meaning that they would have to finish a game better in the win column in order to finish ahead of them. Mexico play both upcoming games on the road against Colombia and Uruguay and can't qualify for the World Cup even with a win on February 23, so once again, that final game on February 26 will be of the utmost importance.
Mexico should have a lot of key national team members for this final window including Paul Stoll, Pako Cruz, Jorge Gutierrez, Orlando Mendez, Gabriel Giron, Fabian Jaimes and Yahir Bonilla.
#9. Uruguay (-)
Current Record: 5-5 (5th in Group F)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 45th
Uruguay still have an outside chance to qualify, as they would pretty much need to win both games - two tough tests at home against USA and Mexico - and they would also need some help as well, having either or both Puerto Rico and Mexico lose.
The three teams officially eliminated:
#10. Colombia (-)
Current Record: 3-7 (6th in Group F)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 52nd
Colombia may be eliminated, but they made some strides in the qualifiers with big wins over Brazil and Mexico. After seeing that they're capable of pulling off an upset, they'll want to keep improving and focus on being more consistent so being competitive against the best teams in the Americas becomes the standard.
#11. Bahamas (-)
Current Record: 3-7 (5th in Group E)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 57th
Bahamas had some close losses throughout the qualifiers, losing by 8 points to Dominican Republic, 5 points to Venezuela and 4 points to Argentina, and things would look different if they were able to pull out a win in a couple of those games. It's always fun to see Buddy Hield suit up for his country, and 21-year-old fellow NBA player Kai Jones made his promising debut in the November window. Bahamas' talent pool of players is there, it's just about being able to get several of them to play at the same time.
#12. Panama (-)
Current Record: 2-8 (6th in Group E)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 51st
Panama have been trying to integrate younger players in recent windows and tournaments, and continuing to develop those players will be an objective going forward. They will look to close out their qualifiers with a win against Bahamas to possibly avoid finishing last in Group E.
*The power rankings are entirely subjective and is in no way a true, accurate ranking systems. All comments are purely those of the author.