Basketball / Israel seeded in sixth pot for EuroBasket finals draw
Criteria confound local officials.
Upsetting the expectation of Israeli basketball officials Israel was placed in pot 6, the lowest group, for the draw for the 2013 EuroBasket.
Israel's second-place finish in group A, above Serbia, had officials thinking the placement would be higher. FIBA's criteria for ranking the national teams, it turned out, were not at all what Israeli officials had in mind.
The European federation factored in success percentages and point differences, not only ranking in the group, which made Israel 13th of the 14 teams to qualify.
Naturally, this ranking might make it harder for Israel to finish among the top three teams in the group at the championship in Slovenia.
An optimistic scenario would see Israel being drawn with Macedonia from the first ranking pot (semifinals at the last EuroBasket ) - avoiding Spain, France or Russia - and Britain from the second pot, rather than Lithuania, Greece or Slovenia.
The third-pot teams are all strong - Italy, Croatia, Germany and Montenegro - but Israel is capable of beating any of the fourth-pot teams - Finland, Poland, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The fifth-pot teams include Turkey, which Israel will certainly want to avoid.
"I really don't understand the ranking system," said national team coach Arik Shivek, "but that's what FIBA decided, and I cannot dwell on their considerations. I also don't attach too much importance to the rankings. Sometimes its even better to be ranked last."
The draw is scheduled for November 18. The tournament will begin on September 4, 2013.