Friday, August 1, 2008

Thoughts from the Diamond Ball

The Diamond Ball tourney wrapped up today, and my predictions were spot on 1-6, granted I made them when we were already halfway through the tournament. So here are just some exiting thoughts I have after the tournament.

  • China beat Iran this morning, 75-46. With this victory, they finish with the second highest margin of victory in the tournament (+8.7, compared to +9.3 for Argentina, and +6.7 for Serbia). They are also the only team to really throttle Iran, who put up a fight against Argentina (lost by 10), and upset Serbia. I thought Iran looked pretty solid during this tournament, but this win shows that if China has a good game, they might not be the Group B write-off everyone expects them. They have the potential for a big upset to come out of a group featuring USA, Spain, Germany, and Greece, similar to the one they had at Athens over Serbia to make the Top 8.

  • I don't buy Argentina as a potential upset for Team USA. Manu looks like he's still feeling his injury and we are only a week away from Beijing. In the preliminary round, Argentina allowed Iran to shoot 50% (China held them to 27%) from the field and outrebound them 28-26 (with 3 from Scola and Oberto combined). This morning, Scola and Manu dominated (32 and 24 points, respectively), but Australia still shot 50% and was only -4 in rebounds despite only 2 from Bogut. Team USA is managing 30+ point wins over teams like Turkey and Lithuania, while Argentina can only scrape by with a 10 point win over Iran, 15 Points against Serbia, and 4 points against Australia? If we think the US defense has holes, this one looks like it might be Swiss cheese.

  • Iran is if nothing else, a great rebounding team. I already mentioned that they pretty much eliminated the rebounding of Scola and Oberto, but they also held their own against the Great Wall of China in Yao, Yi and Wang, outrebounding the Chinese team, 39-33. To illustrate this, here are the total rebounding margins for each team in the tournament.

    • Iran: +12
    • Argentina: +4
    • Serbia: -1
    • Australia: -2
    • China: -3
    • Angola: -10

    Iran was also the only team to have a postive rebounding margin in every game played, though it only helped them to a 1-3 record in the tournament.