Top 5 reasons to watch FIBA 3x3 World Tour Utsunomiya Opener 2022
13 May 2022
UTSUNOMIYA (Japan) - The 10-minute sprint is back! Bigger and better in 2022 with a new season of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour starting with a bang at the Utsunomiya Opener.
There are actually many more, but we limited it to the top five reasons to watch the Utsunomiya Opener for free on our Facebook and YouTube channels on May 14-15.
You've been dying for the return of the World Tour, haven't you?
It's been five months since the World Tour 2021 season ended in memorable fashion when powerhouse Liman claimed their first World Tour Final in Jeddah.
It capped an incredible 2021, which was quite fitting given the 21-point game made its Olympic debut and stole the show in Tokyo. And the bucket load of new 3x3 fans were not disappointed as the World Tour lived up to the hype with a truly insane season.
New teams and stars emerged, while results were more unpredictable than an Elon Musk tweet.
The depth of 3x3 is deeper than a Drake lyric but that has only made teams even hungrier for success.
It all has fuelled anticipation for the new season and, trust us, the wait will be worth it.
Clear out your calendars, finish what you're watching on Netflix and do the chores, because you'll be having square eyes watching 3x3 all weekend.
The top 7 ranked teams in the world will be in Utsunomiya and 11 of the top 13.
Unlike previous years, there really isn't a clear cut top one or two teams. You can probably put a blanket over half a dozen of them although Ub deserve top billing after a truly amazing 2021, where Novi Sad legend Dejan Majstorovic found a new partner in crime in Strahinja Stojacic, who was named Most Spectacular Player of the Year by the fans.
But those warriors Liman and Riga ain't going anywhere just yet. The Serbs had the last laugh in Jeddah while the Latvians boast a trio of gold medalists who are out to prove yet again they can win it all with Nauris Miezis at the helm.
Then there is Princeton, who have long been mighty USA's best team and are extra motivated after a couple of lean years. Beware opponents, Kareem Maddox and Robbie Hummel are back and last time they were in Utsunomiya, they were just a win away from clinching their first World Tour title.
We saw a host of new champs in 2021 and that might be the case to start 2022. No.2 seed Antwerp, the breakout team last year, will be the hot tip to break their Masters drought but don't discount anyone in the field because 3x3 is the game of upsets.
But the best team of them all will probably be... your fantasy team. Yes, you're reading this right: 3x3 has its own fantasy game. Download the app and select your team before the games begin tomorrow.
Who holds the crown as the best player on the World Tour? A good starting point is the No.1 player in the world Nauris Miezis, Lasmanis' teammate, who is a cold blooded assassin while Antwerp's Thibaut Vervoort and Ub's Strahinja Stojacic will surely do something crazy that will leave our man Kyle Montgomery aka 'the Voice' breathless.
But what is always most intriguing as we launch a new season is who will be the surprise packet. A year ago, before he became 'Must See TV', no one would have had Vervoort on these lists.
So who will be the breakout star this time around, leaving us shook and wanting more?
The World Tour travels to amazing places around the globe and Utsunomiya is one of the very best. The event is staged at the Futaarayama Jinja shrine, which was founded 1,600 years ago and is where people go to pray.
It's truly an honor for the World Tour to be played at such a historical treasure and it has been the site of three previous memorable Masters and an amazing Final.
In recognition of its importance in 3x3's history, Utsunomiya is the proud host of the World Tour's first official opener of a season.
And don't forget the dunk and shoot-out contests!
It's always a major highlight of the World Tour events. The dunk contests featuring pro dunkers are absolutely lit and some of the very best dunks ever seen have been performed in Utsunomiya.
While for the snipers, there is a cool $5000 up for grabs if a 3x3 007 can break the current record of 17.