From 12 teams, the field is now down to eight teams and will soon be reduced to four as the quarterfinals of the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men gets underway today in Caracas, Venezuela.
Russia and France will kick off the quarterfinal festivities in which the Russians will try to extend their winning run, but are still wary of the firepower of the former African champions.
The Russians finished on top of Group C, defeating Dominican Republic and Korea by a mile, while Angola squeaked through the final eight despite losing their first game of the tournament against Angola.
Like their European rival, Greece will also try to ride on their two-game winning run as they collide with Nigeria in the second game of the day.
The Greeks looked formidable as shown by their two blowout wins against Puerto Rico and Jordan, but Nigeria remains a dangerous squad and is ready to threaten Greece’s bid to advance to the final four.
Nigeria, who finished with the bronze medal in 2011 FIBA Africa Championship, scored the biggest upset of the tournament, stunning powerhouse Lithuania, 86-80 – a win that booked them a spot in the quarterfinals of the tournament and ended host Venezuela’s Olympic bid.
Meanwhile, Macedonia is expected to go all out to earn a shot for a ticket to the London Games, but it won’t be easy as Dominican Republic vows to play like there’s no tomorrow in their final-eight showdown.
Lithuania, on the other hand, will try to bounce back from the stunning upset they absorbed when they cross path with Puerto Rico, who is also capable of defeating the Green Army.
The winners in each quarterfinal matches will advance to the semifinals in which the teams will be a win away from earning a ticket to the 2012 London Olympics.
Photo Credits: FIBA.com