Thursday marked the last day of pool play in the FIBA World Cup, and there appeared to be something fishy with the way Australia closed out its run in Group D. Heading into Thursday, Australia sat in second place, which is the last place any of the top teams from Group D want to be. If everything plays out to chalk, finishing second in Group D guarantees a quarterfinal date with Team USA, and almost no shot at a medal. Finishing first or third doesn’t guarantee a semifinal appearance, but it makes getting there a lot easier.
As such, Australia faced off against Angola, a team that has a couple wins, but is, historically speaking, a punching bag for strong teams in FIBA tournaments. The Aussies, knowing they had their ticket punched to the knockout stage, sat their best players and lollygagged their way to a 91-83 loss. Goran Dragic, the leader of undefeated Slovenia which sits atop Group D, certainly took notice.
Basketball is a beautiful sport, there is no room for fixing the game like today Australia vs Angola!! @FIBA should do something about that!
— Goran Dragic (@Goran_Dragic) September 4, 2014
It should be noted that Australia’s loss also doesn’t guarantee anything, it just makes the path to the third seed easier because all they need is for Lithuania to beat Slovenia in the final game of Group D. While Slovenia hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in this tournament (even they only had a single-digit win over Angola), they are undefeated, and Lithuania hasn’t been as strong as they have in the past thanks to injuries and attrition. For those of you seeking a karmic silver lining, a Lithuania loss locks Australia into the second spot due to the head-to-head tie-breaker.