Nine of 12 spots for the 2016 Rio Olympic men’s basketball tournament have been filled:
- United States
The other three will be determined next summer by three Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, six teams playing in each. Of those 18 spots, 15 have been claimed by the highest-finishing teams in last year’s continental tournaments:
- Puerto Rico
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
The three remaining spots in the qualifying tournaments go to the hosts.
Serbia, Philippines and Italy will likely host the three Olympic Qualifying Tournaments next July, according to Tuttosport.
Serbia and Philippines are almost sure to host the mini-tournament, according to the Italian newspaper while the third hosting nation will likely be Italy.
Here’s why that matters:
1. The host countries have a home-court advantage, giving them an easier path to the Olympics.
2. More importantly, the selection of the host countries determines which other three teams reach the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.
The three host countries are guaranteed entry. Serbia, Philippines and Italy have already qualified. So, the next teams from their continental tournaments qualify.
With Serbia and Italy hosting, Latvia and Croatia – which finished eighth and ninth in EuroBasket – would reach the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments. The Philippines hosting would get Lebanon, fifth in the FIBA Asia Championship, in.
Croatia, especially with Dario Saric and Mario Hezonja gaining experience, could be dangerous.