By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
AS teams head toward the FIBA World Cup and Olympic qualification, the Bahamas is one of 15 islands in the Caribbean Basketball Confederation to make the lastest edition of the rankings list.
The Bahamas senior men’s national team was ranked No.59 in the field when FIBA launched the new “FIBA World Ranking Men,” presented by Nike. Moving forward, rankings will be updated after every window of qualifiers and following the conclusion of top official FIBA competitions.
Eighty teams are vying for the 19 spots at the FIBA World Cup 2019. The Bahamas will travel to face Canada in the first round of qualification games on November 24 at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Bahamas will play their first home game on November 27 against the US Virgin Islands.
Then on Thursday, February 22, the Bahamas will host the Dominican Republic and Canada on Sunday, February 25.
Their final two games will be on the road on Friday, June 29 in the US Virgin Islands and Monday, July 2 in the Dominican Republic.
Other teams in Group D include the US Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is ranked at 17 while the USVI comes in at 51.
Puerto Rico is the top ranked team in the CBC region at No.15 and they will play in Group C alongside Mexico the United States and 60th ranked Cuba. Group A will comprise of Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Panama. Group B will include Venezuela, Chile and Colombia.
For now, the new FIBA World Ranking Men, presented by Nike, only applies to senior men’s national teams and competitions. FIBA will work towards drawing up and implementing similar systems for the women’s and youth (boys and girls) rankings at a later stage.
According to FIBA, the new ranking are based on results of games ranging from regional pre-qualifiers all the way to the FIBA Basketball World Cup Final, and includes the Olympic Basketball Tournament as well as the Continental Cups. The previous ranking was purely competition-based and only took into account the final standings of tournaments.
The Bahamas finished in seventh place at the 2016 FIBA Centrobasket Championships hosted in Panama, which earned them qualification for the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games.
The top seven teams in the Americas Region will advance.
FIBA’s Sub-Zone CONCENCABA (Central American and the Caribbean) voted and approved the cancellation of the Pre-Qualifier tournament that was set to be played last July in Bolivia and the Bahamas was one of three teams affected.
The sixth and seventh place teams from both Centrobasket (Bahamas, Cuba) and South American Championships (Chile and Paraguay) were then slated to complete the 16-team field for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers.
With regards to the scoring system to compile the rankings - 1,000 basis points are awarded in each game, with the two teams earning a share of these according to the margin of victory or defeat. Weightings are added on a round basis meaning that, when a team progresses through a top official FIBA competition, its wins are worth more with every round it plays. Finally, the new ranking also recognizes the value of away wins and rewards facing and beating opponents that are higher in the ranking.
FIBA Secretary General and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member Patrick Baumann said: “The new ranking was devised with our new calendar clearly in mind. We are pleased to offer more teams - 149 of them, compared to 91 previously - a ranking that can be updated after every window of the Qualifiers so that national teams, fans and their national federations can follow their progress on a more regular basis. Prior to the change, the rankings already proved to be among the most popular pages on FIBA.basketball and we expect there will be even more debating and conversations taking place following the implementation of this new one.”