Friday night (10:40am UK) in Melbourne, Australia look to maintain their perfect record in Group B in Asia’s first qualifying round for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, with a second group victory over tournament hosts Japan.
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Where to watch Japan v Australia on TV:
Courtside 1981(with paid subscription; Note: ‘certain content may vary based on your geographic location/may not be available in your geographic location)
With two thirds of the first group stage of qualification for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, to be held next August and September in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines, in the books, a dominant Australia side sits atop Group B, a spot for second qualifying round already assured, with four wins in four, by an average margin of just under 20 points per game.
Over the next few days in Melbourne, the entirety of Group B – China, Chinese Taipei, Australia and Japan – will play out the final rounds of games in this first group stage of qualifying. The Aussies enter play on Friday a game and a half games clear of the second-placed Chinese, and a full three games up on Friday’s opponent, Japan.
The Japanese have taken the floor four times in this initial qualifying group stage. They kicked things off with consecutive losses to China, by a combined 49 points. They then secured a five-point victory over winless group minnows Chinese Taipei, before falling, again by double digits (this time 16 points), this time to Australia. In all, they’ve racked up an average margin of -15 points over their four group games. Of course, it should be noted, as hosts of the tournament (with Indonesia and the Philippines), Japan don’t actually need to qualify!
Thus, for these two teams, these final two rounds of games in this initial group stage are, in reality, little more than chances for some exercise, a bit of on-court refinement and, in Australia’s case, the pride that would accompany a perfect record in group play.
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