The Minnesota lads spotted Utah a basket, but then went on a tear, building a 32-21 halftime lead. The lead was narrowed to five on a couple of occasions in the second half but the Fury played tenacious defense and took care of the ball for a 52-36 win. Let’s go to the highlights:
Now the Fury enter bracket play and face the fourth-place team from Super Pool A, Wisconsin Playground Warriors, who lost their three pool games by a total of 13 points against top competition. They’ll no doubt be hungry, so our boys will need to be at their best.
It was nice to see @tchoopsczar yesterday (here’s his blog); when we chatted after scouting the Playground Warriors he mentioned that Minnesota teams were undefeated in the Adidas tournament. As of this writing the Minnesota teams are 24-3 overall (The Fury program is 11-0). We’ll see how bracket play goes, but so far it’s a good showing for the Gopher state.
As I posted yesterday, I’m in Las Vegas for several days for the Adidas Super 64 basketball tournament. The teams play in age group categories (17 and under, 16 and under, etc.) and the first two days are pool play to decide which teams make the Championship bracket and which ones play in a lower bracket.
In the case of the 16Us (where my son Joe and nephew Tom play for the Minnesota Fury Gold), there are 88 teams in pools of four. Four of those (Pools A-D) are “Super Pools” in which all four teams make the Championship bracket. Those 16 teams all happen to be sponsored by Adidas. Coincidence?
In the remaining 18 pools (E-V), after the four teams play each other in round robin format, the two top teams make the 52-team Championship bracket. Our Fury Gold boys won big yesterday, and had a nice 46-32 win this morning against a team nominally from Texas, but which had a strong international flavor. Here are the highlights:
Since our boys are 2-0 in the pool, they’re now guaranteed a spot in the Championship bracket. They play the Utah Pump-n-Run 16s (also 2-0) tonight for the Pool P top seed. See the tournament site for bracket seeding. Check out what happened in Pool H, for instance. Three teams finished 2-1, and use a tiebreaker of cumulative victory margin. So even though they all had the same record in pool play, and a winning record at that, Iowa Pump N Run misses the Championship bracket by a single point. Our Fury Gold boys had exactly that experience earlier in the year in a tournament in Lawrence, Kansas.
The Super Pool teams get an advantage in that they all make the Championship bracket and the top three teams in each Super Pool also get a bye to the round of 32. Even so, I have to say this is the best-run tournament I’ve experienced. In addition to the 88 16U boys teams, they have about 180 17U teams here, as well as smaller brackets in the boys’ 15s and 14s, and also 17U and 16U girls. They have a neat iPhone app too, that updates scores and gives directions to the game venues.
It’s also fun to see some of the top national college coaches here scouting the talent. At one game I watched today, Coach “K” from Duke was just across the court (he’s in the white shirt in the middle):
And just a few feet away was his rival, UNC Tar Heel coach Roy Williams (standing in pink):
If the Fury win tonight, they’ll play the #4 team from Pool A. If they lose, they play the winner of Pool J.
I’ll update this post with video after the Utah game.
Updated (7/24/11): The Utah PNR win was so impressive it deserves its own post.