Thursday, 22 March 2007

Olympic Qualifying Tournament Announcement

After a couple of days to decompress after the weekend in Halifax, we've come with a shortened edition today, highlighting the recently-announced FIBA Americas 2007 Olympic qualifying tournament this summer in Las Vegas in which Canada needs to finish in the top five to continue their quest for a spot at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Entries will not be as consistent as during the season but we are planning a number of special features including reassessing the needs of the top CIS programs for next season and other material.

Ranked #15 in the world by FIBA, the governing body of basketball in the world, Canada's national basketball team begins their quest to qualify for the 2008 Olympics with FIBA Americas 2007 Olympic Qualifying Tournament beginning August 22nd, 2007 in Las Vegas. Canada needs to finish in the Top 5 of this tournament to remain in contention for a spot in Beijing (a top 2 finish would ensure a spot at the 2008 Olympics). In all, there are 10 teams participating in the initial qualifying event in Las Vegas including (FIBA world ranking) #1 United States, #2 Argentina, #13 Puerto Rico, #17 Brazil, #21 Venezuela, #30 Panama, #31 Uruguay, #34 Mexico and the US Virgin Islands. The top 2 teams in the Las Vegas event advance directly to the 2008 Olympics while finisers 3 through 5 enter in another qualifier just prior to the 2008 games next summer. Six of the teams in this summer's qualifier, including #15 Canada, are ranked in the FIBA world Top 25. With the U.S. and Argentina the probable favorites for the top 2 spots at this summer's qualifier, one of the 4 remaining teams in the current Top 25 will be eliminated from Olympics contention at this tournament. The 10 teams at the Las Vegas event (all games to be held at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV)) will initially be placed into two Groups of five. Canada has been placed in Group B and will open the tournament against Brazil in the first game of Group B action. Other teams in Group B include the United States, the US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela. Group A includes Argentina, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico and Uruguay. Each team will play one game against all others in their group in the preliminary round, with the fifth-place finisher in each group eliminated from the tournament. From there, 8 teams move on to the second round where games against their qualifiers in their group continue to count and four more games, against qualifying teams from the other group, are played. The top four teams advance to the semi-finals, while the FIFTH PLACE team in the second round standings becomes the fifth and final team to remain in contention for qualifying. Clear?

CIS players from this season who should merit strong consideration for this summer's National team include CIS Final 8 MVP Aaron Doornekamp (Carleton), Osvaldo Jeanty (Carleton), Garry Gallimore (St. FX) and Casey Archibald (UBC). Hopefully, a high number of other CIS stars will be invited to tryout. The Canada Basketball national team coaching staff includes Dave Smart (Carleton). More on the tryouts and other news on the National team should follow in the coming weeks.

Here is FIBA's current list of the Top 25 basketball nations in the world with FIBA Americas 2007 Olympic qualifying tournament participants in BOLD:

Rank Points
1. USA 832.0
2. ARG 720.0
3. ESP 619.0
4. YUG* 508.0
5. LTU 460.0
6. GRE 429.0
7. ITA 418.0
8. FRA 343.0
9. GER 282.0
10. AUS 279.0
11. CHN 262.0
12. NZL 228.0
13. PUR 218.0
14. ANG 206.0
15. CAN 196.0
16. TUR 194.0
17. BRA 168.0
18. RUS 162.0
19. CRO 125.0
20. SLO 121.0
21. VEN 105.0
22. NGR 101.0
23. ISR 62.0
24. LIB 57.0
25. KOR 52.0

Official Canada Basketball Release

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