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Hoos at the FIBA U19

[This series is special to Hoos Place from rushdacote, who is in Crete watching the FIBA U19 World Cup.]

Crete is not excited for UVA basketball, nor is it excited for the U19--many players are 19, so let’s please rename it U20--FIBA World Cup. I arrived Friday night, and I didn’t see a single sign in town about the tournament. Similarly, I dare you to try to find online where the University of Crete’s stadium, the site of half the games, is. N...

I arrived 45 minutes before Australia’s game against Latvia and found a seat near Coach Soderberg, just in time to watch Mali pull of an upset against Canada. During the 4th quarter, Mali’s bench players were leading “De-Fence! De-Fence!” chants. I haven’t seen players doing organized cheers for their own team outside of girl’s softball. I dug it. After the game, Mali’s coach took Canada’s aside and gave him his business card--talk about a great time to network.

Game Day 3 was the last day of group play. Group play doesn’t eliminate anyone, it just seeds teams for the final round. The final round doesn’t eliminate anyone either. All 16 teams get four more games and a definitive ranking from 1 to 16. Both Australia (1-1) and Argentina (2-0) came into the day with the possibility to finish anywhere from 1st to 3rd in their group; finishing first would be a big benefit because it would mean playing a 4th place team in the round of 16 and avoiding another 1st place team until the semifinals.

Game Day 4 was the start of knockout play. All 16 teams entered knockout play, seeded according to their results in group play. As winners of their group, Argentina drew winless Puerto Rico. As second in their group, Australia drew Lithuania, who got third in their group.

Argentina got run out of the gym in the 4th quarter, losing by 20 points to Puerto Rico in a game the South Americans led at half. The stakes and pressure were lower, but in the third and fourt...

[Ed. Note: This is the final installment in the series.  We thank rushdacote for volunteering to cover this event for us.  Please enjoy his final analysis below.]

I skipped game 5 to explore the island, went to game 6, and then chose Papi’s game 7 over Kody’s but Papi only played two minutes. Instead of recapping their game 6s, I’ll give their total stats, my predictions for their contributions at UVA, and at the end a rundown of the ...