FIBA Americas Champion Crowned

Where the Olympic tournament stands now

Lucas Koprowski, Sports Editor

For the first time ever in the history of the International Basketball Federation, or FIBA, Venezuela has won the FIBA Americas Championship, beating Argentina 76-71. The team has only made it to the finals one other time: in 1992 when they lost to the United States 80-127, giving the U.S. their first continental title.


Because of both Venezuela and Argentina made it to the finals, they both have a spot reserved for them in the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After these two have entered the fray, there are a total of 6 teams now qualified for the Olympics. The other four are Brazil, the U.S., Australia, and Nigeria.


That being said, there are still 6 spots open for grabs for the Olympic tournament. Two of the six go to the EuroBasket Championship Finalists, one goes to the winner of the Asian Championship, and the last three go to the top three teams of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which is comprised of a miscellaneous number of teams from each of the 5 continental divisions of FIBA.


The EuroBasket Championship has already started, with the quarterfinals happening on Sept. 15 and 16, the semi-finals happening on Sept. 17 and 18, and the first and third place matches happening on Sept. 20. There were a total of 24 teams that started in the group stages, and now there are 8 left in the tournament for the quarterfinals: France, Latvia, Spain, Greece, Serbia, Czech Republic, Italy and Lithuania. Since the EuroBasket also puts their third through seventh place teams into the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, they have an Olympic Qualifying bracket for the fifth through eighth place teams to see who will fill the qualifying tournament spots. The semi-finals for this are on Sept. 17 and the finals are on Sept. 18.


The final continent to represent the global community and add their team into the Olympics is Asia. Their championship tournament starts with the group stages on Sept. 23, with 16 teams of the 44 FIBA participating countries of Asia. To be one of the 16 teams, they have to either be the host county for the tournament’s team, or earn one of the vacancies by being a top contender of one of the 7 regional tournaments across Asia. The participating teams for this are China, Iran, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Hong Kong, Qatar, Kuwait, India, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine.


Based on the team’s FIBA ranking, Israel would have been one of the teams, most likely pushing Palestine out of the tournament, if it were part of the Asian league. The team is actually part of the EuroBasket, which is geographically wrong due to it being part of the Middle East, or West Asia, and not Europe. This is because Israel is an associated state of the European Union, and because it has closer bonds to Europe compared to its neighboring countries.  Israel was eliminated from the EuroBasket Championship in the previous round of 16 of the tournament on Sept. 12, when they lost to Italy 82-52.
Although half of the qualifying tournaments have already been completed for the 2016 Olympics, there is still a lot more basketball happening across the globe. The EuroBasket Championship will end on Sept. 18, the Asian Championship will go from Sept. 23 to Oct. 3, and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament will be from July 5 to July 10, 2016.