14 Dec 2009

Tall Blacks learn who they won't play at world champs

6:55 pm on 14 December 2009

The Tall Blacks have avoided China, Asian champions Iran and African champions Angola in pool play at next year's men's world basketball champs in Turkey.

But just who they'll face in pool play won't be known until tomorrow night, when the draw is made.

Basketball's governing body FIBA's released their seedings in six groups, but rather than being grouped on qualifying performances or world rankings have seemingly done so on competitiveness.

At first glance, New Zealand doesn't seem to have gained any benefit from winning this year's Oceania Champs,

falling below Australia despite beating the Boomers in their home and away series earlier this year.

Australia's avoided Brazil, runners-up Puerto Rico and Canada.

The Tall Blacks probably would've preferred facing any of their group-mates to another European or American team, but being grouped along China may be a benefit if NBA centre Yao Ming returns to the lineup from injury.