Thursday, September 15

Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose: it's how drunk you get.

So i didn't want to write this on my wall because it's going to end up being so long, and probably kind of ranting, but I just wanted to comment on how stupid the olympics qualifying is for basketball. Lietuva made it to the qualifying tournament, but that doesn't diminish the stupidity of the process. Only 12 teams get to play in the olympic's basketball tournament, so you'd think it would be really important to get 12 of the very best teams into the olympics. But you'd be wrong. The olympics doesn't actually want the the best teams in the world to compete because it's more important to have some sort of political correctness where we have to have countries from every continent in the world. It doesn't matter that Europe has by far the best teams in the world, as measured both by FIBA, and by world wide international competitions (which admittedly overlap.) If we look at international competitions going back to the 2006 world championships we see Europe consistently at the top of the charts. 2006 6 of the final 8 teams were european (with the US and argentina.) In the Olympics in 2008 4 of the top 6 teams were from Europe (plus the US and argentina.) Australia and China took spots 7 and 8, the only other non european teams with a top 8 finish in the past 5 years of international events (european teams took spots 9 and 10 giving them 6 of the top 10.) In the world championships in 2010 6 of the top 8 teams were european (plus the US and argentina.) So no country outside of Europe, Argentina, and the US has been in the top 6 of an international competition in the last 6 years. Likewise 6 of the top 8 teams in FIBA's world rankings are European (plus no surprise the US and Argentina.) 8 of the top 12 are European, and at least 6 of the top 10 finishers in each international competition were european countries. So why is that Europe only gets 2 Automatic spots in the olympics (i'm not counting great Britain's team which is not even one of the 12 best in europe, much less in the world and only got its place as the host country.) There's no doubt that 6 of the best teams in the world are from Europe, but they only get 2 spots. Even if they win all 3 of the final qualifying spots they will only get 5 teams. Meanwhile africa gets an automatic bid so Tunisia ranked 37 in the world gets to go to the olympics because we need to have a country from Africa, even though no country in Africa is ranked among the top 12 teams. We also need to have a country from Oceania. You know how many countries played in their tournament? 2. New Zealand and Australia. So because they aren't part of some other continent either New Zealand or Australia automatically qualifies for the olympics, and the other automatically gets into the olympic qualifying tournament (for the last 3 spots in the olympics.) That's no small prize either. Turkey, which won a silver medal at the world championships in 2010, won't get a spot in the qualifying tournament Either serbia or greece, both top 10 countries will also be left out. Australia is a top 10 team, and new zealand is a top 20 team, so it's not a terrible that they got their spots, it's just stupid that their spots are guaranteed just because they are not part of any other continent. Asia has only 1 team in the top 20, China. If they win they get asia's only automatic spot, which would be okay, but if china has 1 bad game and doesn't win the automatic spot we'll get another terrible team to go along with Tunisia. The Americas get 2 automatic bids, which would be fine because they have 2 good teams, but the US gets a bid for winning the 2010 world championship so they get 2 other teams. Meaning Brazil, not rated in the top 15 gets into the olympics.

Beyond this stupid "let's let the fat kid play in the olympics" attitude, even stupider is that the bids rely entirely on a single tournament which takes place a year before the olympics. So despite turkey winning the silver at the 2010 world championship and being ranked 6th in the world they don't even get into the qualifying tournament. Despite LT coming in 4rth in the 2008 olympics, and 3rd in the 2010 world championships and being ranked 5th in world if they had lost today they wouldn't have gotten into the qualifying tournament. That's like if we decided that only the top finishers of a single track and field event got to go to the olympics (or rather 6 different meets held on 6 different continents.) If one of the best runners in the world turns and ankle, or false starts then he doesn't get to go to the olympics because of 1 bad event. Who thinks that's a good idea? If it's not a good idea for track and field, why would it be a good idea for basketball? LT's team for example was playing without their team MVP from the world championships last year, Linas Kleiza. So if they hadn't played well in the tournament because their best player was hurt would it make sense to keep them out of the olympics a year from now when he is expected to be healthy. Or might it maybe make more sense to look at a general body of work to see what teams are the best in the world.

The most natural connection here is to the NCAA tournament. In the Tournament some teams get automatic bids for winning their conference tournaments. So even if they aren't one of the 64 best teams, they still get to play in the tournament pushing a better team out. And then after all the automatic bids are take some 30 or so of the strongest teams are picked by a committee to fill out the bracket. That's fine because there are 64 teams. So if you get the 50 best teams plus 14 bad teams to give the underdogs a shot, you still have the 50 best teams. So if you're team number 51 that's too bad but you were 51 you weren't one of the best teams in the country. The olympics only has 12 teams. And there are at least 2 teams that nobody would argue are among the 25 best in the world (Great Britain and Tunisia) and another team (Brazil) that is not one of the top 10 teams in the world. So that means you're no longer leaving out team number 51 you're leaving out a top ten team. At least 1, probably several of the top 10 teams in the world won't get to play in the olympics. What if instead of combining this let the fat kid play strategy with the make the bids completely dependent on 1 tournament a year before the olympics policy we just gave the top 8 teams in world rankings an automatic bid. Then the next 12 ranked countries could get bids to the qualifying tournament. That would give the top 20 teams entrance. Then 12 more bids to the qualifying tournament based off of automatic bids from these tournaments, and or wild cards where the olympic committee gets to pick teams. I don't have a problem with giving automatic bids to the qualifying tournament to teams from africa/asia/oceania especially if the best teams in the world have already been given at least an entry to the qualifying tournament. Then if they play their way in and get one of the olympic spots good for them, and if they don't they had a shot and they weren't one of the best teams. It's just so disappointing to find out that great teams like turkey, greece which won silver in 2006, and Serbia came in 4rth in 2010 and was a single shot from silver, are already out of the olympic running a full year before the tournament starts, while a team like Tunisia already has it's spot secured.


Blogger Aras said...

You should kick the Olympics in the balls.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Trashcan said...

I'm not sure that would help, some of their balls are meant for kicking.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Aras said...

What, why can't I press *like* on your comment?

1:50 AM  

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