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Basketball groundhog day: US winning, refs suck

The report from basketball isn't surprising: The American teams, particularly in the A Division, are dominating; And the referees suck.

First, the Americans. Heading into the elimination round of the A Division, the Rock Dogs are undefeated at 7-0, having beaten everyone else in the division. The next two teams are the other American teams: Long Beach Rebels and the team from the Washington DC area. After that comes everyone else; None of the American teams lost to any of the non-American teams in the round robin.

One American I spoke to said the European and Australian teams really should have been in the B Division, and a couple teams in the B Division should have been in the A Division. But, because a gold medal is on the line and some teams knew the Rock Dogs and Rebels were reloaded and playing in the A Division, they opted to play in a lesser division for a chance at gold. On the flip side, the European players seem fired up and ready to try to knock off the Americans. It's interesting watching the two cultures play against one another. The Americans are bruising, and the Europeans are more finesse than physical.

Second, the referees. I only watched a few games, but one game in particular (between Sydney and Paris) was a joke. Various times, the referee just made up a call (and always against the team that was winning the game). They also called the game so close that some clearly clean blocked shots were called fouls. Usually respectful European fans were visibly upset and yelling at the officials. Yet another reminder of why it's so hard for me to watch basketball anymore.

One little snafu happened last night. Organizers had incorrectly recorded the final outcome of a game, and this upset the final standings. With three teams (Berlin, Paris and Sydney) at 3-4, the schedule for the playoffs won't be out until this afternoon because they couldn't determine the tiebreaker.