Friday, July 18, 2008

The Olympic Dream

The second round of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament is well underway now, with Croatia delivering a certified beating to Canada, knocking them out of contention. Just now, Slovenia lost to Puerto Rico, in a game where they kept it close until the lat 5 minutes of the game, during which Puerto Rico pulled away for an 11 point victory, who came in third place in the European tournament last year.

Greece steamrolled through the first round with an average margin of victory of 33.5 points, solidifying their spot as the odds-on favorite to win it all here. They have a relatively easy matchup here against New Zealand.

The other two wild card spots are likely to come from either Croatia, Brazil, Germany, or Puerto Rico. The only problem is that Brazil plays Germany today in a loser goes home scenario. Two good teams (including Slovenia) are going to make their exit.

I would say that Greece and Croatia are almost definite picks to make the top 3. Greece destroyed Brazil, beating them by 20 in the preliminary round, while Croatia beat Puerto Rico by 14. They both have the easiest path to the Finals of the teams, as they basically received a bye into the semis vs. New Zealand and Canada respectively.

I would expect Germany to defeat Brazil today behind strong performances by Dirk Nowitki and Chris Kaman, but they were untested in the first round, so I'm not sure how good this team actually is. Slovenia looked good in the first round two, beating Canada and Korea by an average of 14 points, but they fell down hard against Puerto Rico, who actually had a negative point spread in the first round due to their loss to Croatia.

In any case, Puerto Rico has already punched their ticket to at least the third place match, so they deserve to be in the conversation with their outstanding guard play behind NBA reserves JJ Barea and Carlos Arroyo.

[edit]Germany is laying the hurt on Brazil right now, leading 55-30 in the third quarter (low score). They might just sneak into the final if they can repeat this kind of defensive performance (holding Brazil to under 30% shooting) against Croatia.



1. Croatia vs. Canada
2. Slovenia vs. Puerto Rico
3. Brazil vs. Germany
4. Greece vs. New Zealand


5. Croatia vs. Winner of 3
6. Puerto Rico vs. Winner of 4


7. Winner of 5 vs. Winner of 6

Consolation game (Third Place):

8. Loser of 5 vs. Loser of 6