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How Nigeria Emerged 4th In Latest Basketball (FIBA) Power Rankings

D'Tigers

July 17, (THEWILL) – In the latest rankings of teams heading to the Basketball event of the XXXII Summer Games in Tokyo Japan, the world basketball governing body, FIBA, ranked Nigeria’s D’Tigers as the fourth-best team of the 12 countries that qualified to feature at the games.

This was celebrated effusively by the team and the Nigerian Basketball Federation as it is a clear demonstration of the concerted efforts put together by the squad and their coaching crew headed by Mike Brown. It represents a vindication of the selection process of the 51-year-old, who is also the Associate Head Coach of the Golden State Warriors in the USA.

The talented and committed cast of foreign-based professionals that coach Brown has put together produced a sensational victory over the highest ranked basketball team in the world, the invincible Team USA, to let the world know they were ready to take on all comers. Days later, D’Tigers further emphasised this objective when they beat the fourth-ranked team in the world, Argentina.

This latest FIBA ranking has however led to the need to differentiate between the ranking of these teams that D’Tigers played against and the ranking of the teams heading into the Olympics so as not to mix up these two distinct but related positions for the same teams involved.

What makes the rankings related is that they are both issued by the same organisation, FIBA, the International Basketball Federation. FIBA is an association of national organizations which governs the sport of basketball worldwide. Although, originally known as the Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur, it dropped the word “Amateur” from its name in 1989 but opted to retain the acronym.

In the international ranking, presented by Nike in much the same way as FIFA’s is sponsored by Coca-Cola, only FIBA tournaments consisting of full five-a-side teams are used in calculations for the rankings. Other tournaments, such as regional championships, invitationals, three-on-three half-court basketball, and friendlies are not included.

Two stages are required to calculate the men’s rank. FIBA first calculates the rating points (RP) for each game to each team and then, calculates the ranking according to the weighted average rating points of each team, over all games in the previous 8-year period.

Then, the Federation factors in the strength of opposition the team being ranked had faced in the intervening period between the previous and the latest ranking timeframe. This is because a win by a team against an opponent that is higher in the FIBA table means the result will be worth more points for the winners.

All these are rounded up in a calculation of the ratings for all teams at that time within the period before a rank is assigned to any individual team in the overall standings. This means the ratings of other teams must be taken into consideration by taking a penalised weighted average of rating points from their previous games. This is preceded by the calculation of the weight for each game.

It is this involved process that ranks D’Tigers 22nd in the world in the most recent FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike where the Top Five slots are occupied by Basketball heavyweights: the United States of America, Spain, Australia, Argentina and Serbia respectively.

That is different from the ranking released ahead of the Olympics for teams that will be involved in the Tokyo Basketball events which ranked Nigeria fourth. It carries the tag FIBA Power Rankings to make this distinction clear. As a different ranking system, the Power Rankings also have their own distinct system of arriving at a calculated basis for assigning ranks.

The system that is applicable in the Power Rankings of FIBA concerns its calculation on a restricted basis for ranking because, unlike the system presented by Nike, it does not allot points to all 32 countries under FIBA’s jurisdiction but only the 12 going for the Olympics and applies a model determined by dividing the sum of all the win points, tie points, schedule points and bonus points by the number of games played ahead of the Games.

This distinction means that the performance of the Nigerian male Basketball team in their pre-Olympic exhibition games in Las Vegas afforded D’Tigers the points average to be placed fourth after the brilliant wins they recorded over the highly ranked Team USA, which is first in the Nike ranking, and Argentina, who are fourth.

Unsurprisingly, Australia was placed highest in the Power Rankings as they wrapped up their pre-Olympic exhibition games with a 100% record. They beat all teams they played in Las Vegas: the US, Argentina and ended it with a trouncing of D’Tigers by a 108-69 point margin. They were expected to come out on top and that was exactly how it played out.

The rankings will spur the Nigerian team to excel in the Games and coach Brown will expect nothing less than a resilient improvement from that performance against the US to justify the unshakable confidence he has reposed in the side he picked for the Olympic Games. The events in Tokyo will take place from July 23 to August 8, and the basketball event proper will begin on the third day.

The full FIBA Power Rankings:

Australia

Spain

United States of America

Nigeria

Slovenia

France

Italy

Argentina

Germany

Czech Republic

Japan

Iran