U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Draw and Preliminary Round Schedule Announced
FIBA (International Basketball Federation) conducted the draw for the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball competition virtually Tuesday from its headquarters in Mies, Switzerland, and the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team has been drawn into Group A alongside 2019 FIBA World Cup bronze medalist France, 2017 Asia Cup runner-up Iran, and the winner of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, Canada. Preliminary round games will be held July 25-Aug. 1.
Rounding out the 12-nation field is Australia, Nigeria, the winners of the Olympic qualifying tournaments in Belgrade, Serbia, and Split, Croatia, in Group B; with Argentina, host Japan, 2019 World Cup champion Spain, and the winner of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Kaunas, Lithuania, in Group C.
The American men will open Olympic preliminary round play on Sunday, July 25 against France (all game times are to be announced by FIBA at a later date), then will play Iran on July 28 and will close out preliminary round play on July 31 versus the winner of the Canada Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
“It’s exciting to learn more about the Olympic schedule and who our preliminary round opponents will be in Tokyo,” said USA head coach Gregg Popovich. “The three Olympic preliminary groups appear well balanced, and there are a good number of teams who have legitimate shots at the gold medal in Tokyo.”
The XXXII Olympic Games men’s basketball competition will be held July 23-Aug. 7 at the Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan.
The Tokyo Olympic men’s basketball tournament will feature a different format than in past games.
This summer, the 12 teams have been split into three groups of four teams apiece for preliminary play, held July 27-Aug. 3. Following competition of the preliminary round, the top two finishing teams from each group and the two best third-place teams according to FIBA’s placement rules, will qualify for the medal round and will be seeded. In the medal round, teams will compete in a knockout bracket, with winners advancing from the Aug. 3 quarterfinals to the Aug. 5 semifinals. The bronze medal and the gold medal games will be played on Aug. 7.
Under the new format, the Olympic medalists will play six games, while teams not advancing to the quarterfinals will play three games.
The final four teams to qualify for the men’s basketball competition will be determined through FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments that will be held June 29-July 4, 2021, in Canada, Croatia, Lithuania and Serbia. The winners of each tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Playing in the qualifying event in Serbia are the Dominican Republic, Italy, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Senegal and Serbia. Contending for an Olympic berth at the Lithuania qualifying tournament will be Angola, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, South Korea and Venezuela. Competing in Croatia are Brazil, Croatia, Germany, Mexico, Russia and Tunisia will battle in Croatia; while Canada, China, Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey and Uruguay will compete in Canada.
The U.S. men have won the gold medal in the last three Olympics and have medaled in all 18 Olympics in which they have competed, including 15 gold medals, one silver and two bronze medals. The Americans own an impressive 138-5 all-time record (.963 winning percentage) in Olympic action, and since NBA players began representing the United States in 1992, the USA is 53-3 in seven Olympics, capturing six gold medals and one bronze medal.