Russia, Lithuania and Nigeria.
Nope, that isn’t a typo. The Nigerian men qualified for the Olympics while Angola, the perennial Afrobasket champions and African continent Olympic representatives will be watching the London Games tournament at home on television..
In our last episode of ‘As The Olympic Basketball Bounces’ the Men’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament in Caracas was in the quarterfinal stage.
Greece suffered their first loss in the tournament at the worst possible time to Nigeria 80-79 while the Russians rolled over Angola 80-65. In the other bracket Lithuania beat Puerto Rico 76-72 and the Dominican republic rolled over Macedonia 86-76 to get to the semis
In the semifinal action that took place on July 7 the winners of those games would get two of the Olympic slots while the loses would play the next day for the final London Olympic berth.
Russia finished the tournament unbeaten with a 4-0 record and clinched one of the Olympic spots with a 85-77 victory over Nigeria. Their Lithuanian next door neighbors rolled over the Dominican Republic 109-83 to claim the second Olympic berth.
That left Nigeria and the Dominican Republic to battle it out for the final Olympic spot on July 8. Nigeria dribbled their way to an 88-73 win to punch their ticket to London.
After the three final Olympic qualifying teams were determined, a draw was held to see which groups the qualifying tourney teams would play in when the men’s Olympic basketball tournament prelims start on July 29.
Lithuania and Nigeria ended up in Group A with the USA, Argentina, France, and Tunisia while Russia ended up in Group B with Australia, Brazil, China, Spain and Great Britain.
Should be fun to watch… .