Fierce Competition In USA 3x3 Men’s, Women’s Open Division Preliminary Round
After a full slate of games on Saturday, the preliminary round of competition in the men’s and women’s 2017 USA Basketball 3x3 National Tournaments is in the books. The games in both tournaments were extremely tight, and no team came away unscathed.
Held at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the tournaments culminate April 9 with knockout rounds to determine the USA Basketball 3x3 men’s and women’s open division champions.
In addition to the tournament title, the winning men’s team will have the opportunity to represent the United States at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup, held June 17-21 in Nantes, France.
“I’ve played in this since 2012 and the talent level is getting better every year. This is probably the most talented group of guys I’ve seen,” said six-time USA 3x3 participant Corey Campbell (Denver, Colo.), whose teams earned the 2013 and 2015 USA 3x3 National Tournament crowns.”
“All the games today were really competitive, they were really close,” said Washington’s Natalie Romeo (Martinez, Calif.), who captured a bronze medal with the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s 3x3 World Championship Team. “We just have to realize how fast these games actually are. It’s the first time the rest of my team is playing 3x3, so it’s a new experience for them.”
Teams finishing in the top two spots in each men’s pool earned a bye in the quarterfinals. Finishing No. 1 in Pool G was 3BALL Select (4-1), followed by Harlem (4-1), while Denver (4-1) took the No. 1 slot out of Pool H and Ariel (4-1) finished in second place.
“I loved it,” said 3x3 newcomer and former University of Wisconsin standout Zak Showalter (Germantown, Wis.), who was a late addition to 3BALL Select. “It takes a bit to get into a rhythm with your guys, but considering that we all came from different areas, we really picked it up well. Getting the first seed in our pool is big.
The men’s knockout round on Sunday will begin at 8:30 a.m. (all game times local, MDT) with play-in games featuring Pool H fourth-place finisher Crowe (2-3) taking on Pool G fifth-place finisher Hard2Guard Elite (1-4). Select Imports (3-2), which finished No. 4 in Pool G, takes on 3BALL Premier (2-3), seeded No. 5 out of Pool H; Pool G third-place finisher TNT (3-2) will face The Attack (0-5), which finished sixth in Pool H; while No. 3 out of Pool H, NYC (3-2), will play Bliss (0-5), the No. 6 team from Pool G.
Men’s quarterfinal games will be played at 9:50 a.m. and 10:10 a.m.; semifinals are slated for 10:50 a.m. and the championship game, which will stream live on usab.com/live, tips-off at 12:30 p.m.
“We need to get some rest tonight, take care of your body, because the first day is like the regular season of the NBA,” added Campbell. “You go out and play, but it doesn’t really matter until you get to the playoffs. So, everybody’s going to bring their best tomorrow, we just have to be ready.”
On the women’s side, University of Southern California (2-1) finished atop Pool E, edging out University of Colorado (2-1) for the No. 1 seed based on head-to-head play, while Ariel Investments (1-2) finished third and Washington State University (1-2) was fourth.
FIBA’s tie-breaking formula was necessary to figure out a four-way tie in Pool F, which saw University of Washington (3-1) finish as the top seed ahead of University of Oregon (3-1), Silent Assassins (3-1) and University of California (3-1).
“I’m kind of like the veteran because I’ve played before, so I could help them,” said Romeo, one of four women in the open division with prior USA 3x3 experience. “Before we came, I briefed them on the rules and they said it helped a lot. I showed them some tricks and they’ve actually been working. So, it’s kind of cool to be that person who can tell them what’s up.”
In the 8:30 a.m. women’s play-in game, the Cougars take on DMI Got Game (0-4), which finished fifth in Pool F, and the winner will advance to face the Huskies in the quarterfinals. In other quarterfinals games, the Trojans take on the Golden Bears, the Ducks go up against Ariel Investments and the Buffaloes will meet the Silent Assassins.
“We played Cal in the Pac-12 Tournament and got knocked out by them, so we’re hoping for a little revenge,” said USC’s Minyon Moore (Hercules, Calif.). “We just have to stay on (Kristine) Anigwe, make sure she doesn’t score, get on the shooters, play fast basketball. In our first game today we played slow, dribbled a lot and it was hard to score and win the game. So, we have to score fast, get Anigwe and hopefully come out with the win.”
Women’s quarterfinals games are scheduled to tip-off at 9:10 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., semifinals will be played at 10:30 a.m. and the championship game, which will stream live on usab.com/live, begins at 12:10 p.m.
“It was so competitive,” added Moore. “It was so new for us. We are transitioning from five-on-five to 3x3 and all these teams here are really good. It was a lot of fun.”
Under FIBA’s 3x3 rules, each game consists of one 10-minute period. The team leading after completion of regular playing time, or the first team to score 21 points is declared the winner. If the game ends in a tie, the first team to score two points in overtime earns the victory. Shots made outside the arc are awarded two points, shots made inside the arc are awarded one point and each made free throw is worth one point. Additionally, a 12-second shot clock is utilized.
This year marks the sixth annual USA Basketball 3x3 National Tournament, which was first held in 2012. Last year’s champions in the men’s tournament, 3Ball Premier, made history at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup after capturing the silver medal – marking the USA’s first medal of any kind at the men’s tournament – while the women’s team, Defend, claimed the bronze medal.
As part of a pilot program to help increase the number of women competing in 3x3, USA Basketball invited teams from the Pacific-12 Conference to participate in the tournament.