The Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball groups were recently revealed on February 2. There will be three groups of four teams each at the Olympics, for a total of 12 teams. The top two teams from each group advance to the knockout stage with the top two of three third at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Tokyo 2020 summer men’s Olympic groups revealed
The confirmed teams in Group A will be USA, France and Iran. For now, the United States and France should be the favorites to win the group. The United States are the three-time reigning summer Olympic champions. However, in the 2019 FIBA World Cup quarter-finals, France eliminated the United States of America from the tournament.
– FIBA (@FIBA) September 11, 2019
Iran is the other team in the group. Including the Oceania teams (which play in Asian competitions), Iran ranks second in Asia according to FIBA. However, they are ranked 23rd in the world while the United States is ranked first and France is ranked sixth. Additionally, Iran, unlike France and the United States, does not have any NBA players, which will make it difficult for Iran to break out of the group stage.
Finally, Iran will most likely have some issues with who they face in the FIBA Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, BC, Canada. The first two to win an Olympic spot are either Canada (ranked 21st) or Greece (ranked seventh). Greece finished second at the 2006 FIBA World Cup, while Canada currently has the second highest number of NBA players by nationality according to the NBA. This includes players like Shai Gilgeous-Alexandre and Jamal Murray. Finally, there is an external chance that the Czech Republic (ranked 11th) or Turkey (ranked 15th) will surprise and qualify for the Summer Olympics.
Group B is the only Olympic basketball group to have only two teams confirmed to play in the Olympics. The two confirmed teams are Australia and Nigeria. Regardless of who qualifies for the other two Olympic qualifying tournaments, Australia will be the highest ranked team in the tournament (currently ranked third in the world). Currently, Australia has the fourth highest number of NBA players by nationality, behind Canada, the United States and France. This includes the two-time Australian NBA All-Star Ben simmons.
– #NBAAllStar (@NBAAllStar) February 1, 2019
Nigeria will also be a tough team to beat. They are the 22nd highest ranked African nation with six-seven NBA players. He is a dangerous dark horse that can make quite a bit of upheaval at the Summer Olympics. It’s unclear who the other two teams in the squad will be. In Belgrade, Serbia, there are good teams in this Olympic qualifying tournament, which includes teams like New Zealand (25th), Serbia (5th) and Italy (12th).
The other Olympic place that will be in Group B will be determined in Split, Croatia. Either Croatia, ranked 14th, or Russia, ranked ninth, are the favorites to win the group. Brazil is a dark horse in the group as they are ranked 10th in the world. Group C might be the only group where all four teams can think they have a good chance of doing a deep run at the Olympics.
Argentina and Spain
Spain, the reigning FIBA World Cup champion, headline Group C. The second-ranked Spanish league is considered one of the best in the world. They also have five NBA players, who are most of the three teams on this list. Argentina will be another tough team in the tournament. They are ranked fourth in the world. Argentina are known for knocking out the United States in the 2004 Summer Olympics semifinals.
Argentina will eventually win the gold medal match against Italy in the final of the 2004 Summer Olympics. Unfortunately, unlike 2004, Argentina currently does not have any NBA players. However, like Spain, Argentina should not be underestimated as they also have an extraordinarily strong home league. For example, the Argentines lost to Spain in the 2019 FIBA World Cup final.
Japan and the summer Olympic qualification in Lithuania
The last confirmed team on this list is host nation Japan. Japan is ranked 41st in the world. It is the weakest of the eight teams confirmed so far at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, this ranking is misleading as Japan has two NBA players. Especially, Rui Hachimura, who looks like the second best Asian player in the NBA after Yao Ming. There is also Yuta Watanabe, who made his name known with the Toronto Raptors during the 2020-21 NBA season. Japan is a rising powerhouse in basketball in Asia and will surprise many at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
– Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 21, 2020
Finally, the Olympic qualifying group is in Kaunas, Lithuania. Host country Lithuania is ranked eighth and is the favorite to move on. As mentioned earlier, basketball is like a second religion in Lithuania and could very easily qualify for the Summer Olympics. The other teams that could advance are Poland and Slovenia. Poland is ranked 13th in the world with six Olympic participations, while Slovenia is ranked 16th in the world. They are the lowest ranked of the top three as they failed to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. However, they won the 2017 Eurobasket Championships and have NBA All-Star in Luka Doncic.
Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball groups preview
There are a lot of scenarios with the three groups. Yes, the United States, as in previous times, will be the favorites. However, it is not yet known whether all the stars will commit to Team USA. In addition, the rules of FIBA are different from those of the NBA, which manifested itself in the 2019 FIBA World Cup as the United States struggled in that tournament.
Group A is the one that will interest many NBA fans. Not just because the United States is part of the group. France, which eliminated the United States in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, has the third-highest number of NBA players. If Canada participates in the Tokyo Summer Olympics, the countries with the first, second and third NBA players will all be in the same group according to the NBA. And while Canada doesn’t make the Olympics, there’s Greece, which is home to the two-time MVP of the Year award, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
There is also Group B, which could be the death group if Serbia and Croatia participate in the Olympics. Then there is Group C, which includes Spain, reigning FIBA World Cup champion, Argentina, 2004 Summer Olympics champion and 2019 FIBA World Cup finalist, with the rising Asian basketball nation of the host country, Japan.
World champion atmosphere… 🇪🇸🏆
– FIBA (@FIBA) September 15, 2019
Of course, the Olympics could be canceled if they do not take place this year. If that happens, it will likely take place before the Olympic qualifiers, canceling those tournaments as well. However, at the moment the Olympics are taking place. The Olympic qualifiers will take place from June 22, 2021 to July 4, 2021 while the Summer Olympics will take place from July 25 to August 7.
– FIBA (@FIBA) February 2, 2021
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