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FIBA Americas: What you need to know for Olympic basketball qualifier

The Canadian men’s basketball team is looking to do what the nation’s women accomplished more than two weeks ago: qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The men will get their first chance to claim an Olympic spot at the FIBA Americas Championship tournament in Mexico City as they open against Argentina on Tuesday.

The last time the Canadian men took part in an Olympics was at the 2000 Sydney Games, where a Steve Nash-led squad finished seventh.

But an influx of young and talented players, including NBA rookie of the year Andrew Wiggins, has many believing Canada is on the road to bigger things.

Here’s what you need to know for the FIBA Americas tournament:

The format

A total of 10 nations will compete in two groups in a round-robin format, with each team playing its group opponents once.

Group A: Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic, Uruguay

Group B: Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Argentina Venezuela

After each team has played its four round-robin games, the top four teams in each group move on and play the top four from the other group in the second round. The win-loss records from the opening round will carry over, excluding the games against the teams that failed to advance.

The top four nations will then advance to the semifinals.

How to get to Rio

The two finalists at the FIBA Americas tournament will secure berths for the Rio Olympics. However, Brazil already has an automatic spot as the host nation, so if it places first or second the bronze medallist at this event will also qualify for Rio.

The qualification doesn’t end in Mexico City, as the next three countries in the standings will get other chances to qualify for the Olympics in one of the three FIBA Olympic qualification competitions next July.

1st-round schedule

  • Canada vs. Argentina, Tuesday (3:30 p.m. ET)
  • Canada vs. Cuba, Wednesday (3:30 p.m. ET)
  • Canada vs. Venezuela, Thursday (7 p.m. ET)
  • Canada vs. Puerto Rico, Friday (7 p.m. ET)

Canada’s roster

  • Anthony Bennett, 6-8″ forward, Brampton, Ont., Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA)
  • Aaron Doornekamp, 6-7″ forward, Odessa, Ont., Braunschweig (Germany)
  • Melvin Ejim, 6-6″ forward, Toronto, Orlando Magic (NBA)
  • Brady Heslip, 6-2″ guard, Burlington, Ont., Pallacanestro Cantù (Italy)
  • Cory Joseph, 6-3″ guard, Pickering, Ont., Toronto Raptors (NBA)
  • Andrew Nicholson, 6-9″ forward, Mississauga, Ont., Orlando Magic (NBA)
  • Kelly Olynyk, 7-0″ centre, Kamloops, B.C., Boston Celtics (NBA)
  • Dwight Powell, 6-9″ forward, Toronto, Dallas Mavericks (NBA)
  • Robert Sacre, 7-0″ centre, Vancouver, Los Angeles Lakers (NBA)
  • Phil Scrubb, 6-3″ guard, Richmond, B.C., AEK Athens (Greece)
  • Nik Stauskas, 6-6″ guard, Mississauga, Ont., Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)
  • Andrew Wiggins, 6-8″ forward, Vaughan, Ont., Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA)

CBC | Sports News

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