As we enter the final window of FIBA Americas first qualifying round this week, optimism is running high with Canada’s outstanding roster; so much so in this corner that we are taking the liberty of projecting out the next few months on the path to qualifying for World Cup 2019.
So, with a pair of home wins over the Canada Day Holiday weekend, including defeating Dominican Republic on Friday night in Toronto by 13 or more points, Canada will capture first place in Group D of the first FIBA Americas World Cup 2019 qualifying round.
While all the games are still to be played, we project using some assumptions which teams will win this weekend (and by how much) – to provide a first-look at Canada’s potential next six games and the likelihood of ultimately qualifying.
Second qualifying round consists of two six-team groups with the top 3 teams from each group automatically advancing to China and the FIBA World Cup 2019. The top 3 teams in each of Group D and Group B will form Group F. As of the current standings, Group F is likely to consist of: Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Canada, Dominican Republic and U.S. Virgin Islands. Note that all results from all games in the preliminary group will count in the Group F standings, even those against teams that did not qualify for the next round.
Canada will therefore is likely to have home-and-home games against Brazil, Venezuela and Chile, and, assuming our forecasts for results of this weekend’s games are correct, the new Group F standings would look like this:
B1 Brazil 6-0
D1 Canada 5-1
D2 Dominican Republic 5-1
B2 Venezuela 4-2
D3 U.S. Virgin Islands 2-4
B3 Chile 1-5
with Canada owning the tie-breaker with Dominican Republic (assuming a Canada win over DR by more than 13 points on Friday).
Canada’s “projected” schedule for the next round – which consists of home-and-home games against the three teams in the opposite group – is shown below (assuming that Home team is listed first on the FIBA Americas qualifier schedule).
NOTE that this projection has Canada opening up the next round with a HOME GAME against Venezuela, the team that knocked Canada out of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Since this game is scheduled to be played prior to NBA training camps which usually begin in late September, optimists can hope to have arguably the most talent-laden Canadian Sr. Men’s team in history during this first window (and with some measure of payback ready for Venny).
“PROJECTED” Canadian schedule for second round of qualifying
Thursday, September 13th, 2018: B2 (Venezuela) at Canada
Sunday, September 16th, 2018: Canada at B3 (Chile)
Friday, November 30th, 2018: Canada at B1 (Brazil)
Monday, December 3rd, 2018: Canada at B2 (Venezuela)
Thursday, February 21st, 2019: B3 (Chile) at Canada
Sunday, February 24th, 2019: B1 (Brazil) at Canada.
Assuming Canada finishes in the Top 3 of Group F, a spot at FIBA World Cup 2019 is clinched. Two wins over each of Venezuela and Chile and a split with Brazil should get the job done for Canada.
Anxious to watch how things work out this coming weekend as Canada continues to move up the FIBA rankings toward a spot in the World Cup 2019.