Goran Dragic doesn't like FIBA World Cup tanking

Goran Dragic has a bone to pick with FIBA. Slovenia led Group D heading into the final day of group play before an eight-team cut, but every squad in the group knows that avoiding Team USA, leader of Group C, is important to survive through the next round. The first- and third-place squads will avoid the Americans until the semifinal of the entire tournament, so a second- or fourth-place finish in group play is not ideal.

Australia fell to Angola 91-83 and didn’t play its best player, Joe Ingles, or second-best player, Aron Baynes. Starting guard Matthew Dellavedova played just four minutes, while youngster Dante Exum, who has thus far only played spot minutes, played 31 minutes.

So Australia, with no shot at the first or fourth seeds, decided to pull its starters and lose to Angola, making it more likely for a third-place finish with a 3-2 record. Slovenia is 4-0 heading into a final game against 3-1 Lithuania, which would fall to third place in a loss to Dragic’s squad because Australia owns the tiebreaker. In the opposite case, a Slovenian loss would slip it to second place and keep Australia in a safer third.

Had Australia won, it would’ve come down to a three-way tie broken by average points scored in games against the other two tied teams. The Australians were still in sound position to finish in third because Slovenia has scored more through just one game — so ironically, Slovenia would have needed to win or tanked in a big way during a loss to get the coveted third slot.

 

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