For the first time since FIBA rankings began nearly 20 years, ago Team USA is not atop the list for the men. That honor now goes to Spain, who overtook the U.S. when rankings were updated Friday morning. This past summer, Spain defeated France in the EuroBasket final. Spain and Team USA hold a healthy advantage over third-place Australia, at least according to the points system. France, who’s now been the runner-up in consecutive high-profile tournaments, is fifth.
Spain seize the #1 spot for the first time in FIBA Men’s World Ranking history!
— FIBA (@FIBA) November 18, 2022
While they did not explicitly say that the following tweet was a response, someone with access to the USA Basketball seems to think that putting anyone else No. 1 is a bit silly.
LOL. That’s cute.
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) November 18, 2022
FIBA rankings are derived from a weighted system based on results in international play over a six-year span. In recent years, Spain has won the 2019 World Cup, lost in the Olympic quarterfinals to Team USA, and notched the aforementioned EuroBasket crown. Comparatively, Team USA finished seventh at the 2019 World Cup, won the 2021 Olympics, and placed third at AmeriCup in September.
The next major tournament comes this summer at the 2023 World Cup. The U.S. will travel to South America in February looking to qualify. A full explanation via The Athletic for the U.S. path to qualification can be found here. For now, though, the reigning World Cup and EuroBasket champions are atop the men’s basketball circuit, with Team USA aiming to usurp them. If that tweet is any indication, it’s clearly a priority.