As forecasted by this very blog a couple of weeks ago, Canada’s final shot at Rio 2016 Olympic qualifying will take place in The Philippines and further, as we hypothesized in that same post, the two European nations will join Canada in the Philippines will be France and Turkey:
France and Turkey – the two highest rated teams that have yet to qualify – could be “rewarded” by not having to qualify by beating a European team on their home floor – France especially given their Bronze medal win at EuroBasket 2015. If the draw takes these factors into account, then my logic dictates that France and Turkey will go to the Philippines.
Other teams that will be in the Philippines include #32 Senegal, New Zealand and the host Philippines.
Format for the single entry into the Rio games will begin with two three-team round-robin brackets. Canada’s round robin bracket includes Senegal and #8 Turkey. The other bracket will have France, New Zealand and the host Philippines.
Each team will play two games in the opening bracket with the top 2 finishers then advancing to a one-game semi-final against opponents from the other bracket. That is, 1st in Bracket A meets 2nd in Bracket B in one semi-final and vice versa.
Getting to the championship game in this tournament appears very doable although France, Turkey and New Zealand are formidable sides. One would have to believe France, depending upon who shows up, should be considered the favorites, especially after their strong standing in Eurobasket last summer. But a round-robin win over Turkey plus a likely semi-final game against New Zealand would be Canada’s easiest route to a finals match with the French – and as we found out against Venny last summer, anything can happen in a one-game showdown.
This is in my opinion a favorable draw for Canada – as good of a draw as one would reasonably hope for.