The women’s basketball qualifiers have been set and it’s now time to determine the additional qualifiers for the men’s basketball competition of the 2012 London Olympics.
Twelve teams who performed well in their respective continental qualifiers will be going all out to grab one of the three remaining Olympic slots at stake in 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men that will kick off today in Caracas, Venezuela.
Angola, Dominican Republic, Greece, Jordan, Korea, Lithuania, Macedonia, Nigeria, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Russia, and host Venezuela are expected to fight tooth-and-nail to grab the coveted ticket to the 2012 London Games.
Greece and Jordan will kick off festivities in Group A as they collide today, while Puerto Rico gets a bye in day one before taking on the Jordanians in day two.
The Greeks, who will be parading a mixture of youngster and veterans in their lineup, are tipped to top the group and one of their young guards, Evangelos Mantzaris likes their chance in their group.
“We have a very good chemistry and we know everything we’re supposed to do in our position,” Mantzaris said. “I think we will show the best of ourselves.”
Lithuania, who is a perennial contender in the world basketball circuit, headlines Group B in which they will going up against Nigeria and host Venezuela.
Nigeria will get a taste of the hometown fans today when they open up their campaign against the host when they collide today in a game that could virtually decide who will advance to the second round along with Lithuania.
On the other hand, Korea, Russia, and Dominican Republic compose Group C.
The Koreans and the Russians will be kicking off the Olympic Qualifying Tournament festivities, while Dominican Republic awaits their turn in day two of the tournament against Korea.
Meanwhile, Angola, Macedonia, and New Zealand will be competing in Group D.
Despite missing key players in the Olympic Qualifiers, New Zealand is expected to top Group D, but Macedonia is expected to give them a run for their money.
The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals that will play in a standard knockout format. The four winning quarterfinalists will advance to the semis in which the winners will automatically earn a ticket to London, while the two losing semifinalists will fight for the last slot.