FIBA Olympic Qualifiers: A Quick Overview

Just because the NBA is in its offseason and there’s a lockout, doesn’t mean there isn’t basketball action to satisfy your craving for professional ball. This week the Olympic qualifiers kick off, which means a possible ticket to the 2012 London games and a shot at Olympic gold.

From Pau Gasol to Manu Ginobili to Dirk Nowitzki to J.J. Barea, lots NBA talent will be leading their respective teams on the court in what should be some of the better qualifying tournaments in recent memory.

Here is a quick overview if you see yourself caught in a water-cooler discussion and want to keep up:

FIBA Americas Championship:

Mar del Plata, Argentina

Aug. 30-Sept. 11

Group A – Canada, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Brazil, Cuba
Group B – Argentina, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Panama, Paraguay

The heavy favorites to win the tournament is Argentina. They brought back many of the players from their glory days such as Ginobili, Carlos Delfino, Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni, and Fabricio Oberto. This team is stacked and should have no issues getting a ticket to London. Surprisingly, Oberto made the squad after suffering an injury in his first game back to the court after retiring from the NBA due to a heart condition. It was doubtful he would be named to the squad.

Brazil comes into the tournament as an outside threat to Argentina, but it could have been a bigger threat. Nene, Leandro Barbosa, and Anderson Verajao will not suit up for Brazil due to injury and personal reasons. This leaves Tiago Splitter as their number one weapon along with Marcelo Huertas and Marcelo Machado. But in the end it will not be enough to contend with Argentina.

Puerto Rico does have a slight shot at giving Argentina a run for their money as they finished second at the 2009 FIBA Americas Championship. Puerto Rico comes in with J.J. Barea, Carlos Arroyo, Renaldo Balkman, and Daniel Santiago.

Other notable teams will be Dominican Republic with Al Horford, Francisco Garcia, and Charlie Villanueva, and Venezuela with Greivis Vasquez and Oscar Torres.

Click HERE for the complete schedule.

EuroBasket 2011


Aug. 31-Sept. 18

Group A – Spain, Poland, Turkey, Portugal, Lithuania, Great Britain
Group B – Serbia, Italy, France, Latvia, Germany, Israel
Group C – Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Finland
Group D – Belgium, Georgia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine

The favorites to win the tournament have to be France and Spain. France comes in with firepower: Tony Parker, Joakim Noah, Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, and Kevin Seraphin. However, the team lost Rony Turiaf recently due to injury thus depleting their depth at big men and on the bench which leaves the door wide open for Spain.

With France losing Turiaf, Spain does have a huge advantage in the size department. Pau and Marc Gasol will lead the way for Spain while Ricky Rubio, Serge Ibaka, Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez, and Juan Carlos Navarro round out a deep roster. However, Spain also comes into the tournament limping. Rubio suffered an ankle sprain and Fernandez suffered an arm injury in a tune-up game against Slovenia.

Other teams to watch are Germany, and Slovenia. Germany will sport Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman but they won’t have enough to defeat France let alone Spain. Slovenia may have an outside shot a upsetting the top teams. With players such as Goran Dragic, Erazem Lorbek, and Samo Udrich, Slovenia does have the size and the experience to put a scare in the favorites. Expect them to give Spain and France headaches or pull the upset.

Turkey will be a solid team to keep an eye on especially if you are a Utah Jazz player with top draft pick Enes Kanter suiting up. Also, Omer Asik, Hedo Turkoglu, Ersan Ilyasova will be hitting the court but will be without Semih Erden who is out with injury.

Click HERE for the complete schedule.