USA Basketball has kept its No. 1 spot in the FIBA world men’s rankings, even after a disappointing seventh-place showing in the World Cup that ended earlier this week.
It’s now nine-years-and-counting in the top spot for the U.S., which has held the No. 1 ranking since winning the 2010 world championship. World Cup champion Spain stayed No. 2, Australia leaped eight spots to No. 3, World Cup finalist Argentina rose one spot to No. 4 and World Cup bronze-medalist France fell two slots to No. 5.
FIBA’s rankings take results from the most recent eight years into account — which means the U.S. is still reaping point benefits from the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medals and the 2014 World Cup title.
”In this day and age, basketball in other countries is not a secret,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said after the Americans completed their run in the World Cup. “So it’s not like there’s an epiphany or a revelation to be made. There are wonderful teams and wonderful coaches all over the world. You go compete and the best teams win.”
It’s now expected that the U.S. will retain the No. 1 ranking going into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Several top NBA players, including Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Damian Lillard have said in recent days that they intend to play for the U.S. in Tokyo, where the Americans will try to win a fourth consecutive gold medal.
Most top U.S. players declined to be part of the World Cup team.
”I’m expecting them to be so strong next year,” Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said.