Nigeria Beats Dominican Republic, Becomes Final Team To Qualify For Olympics

Nigeria will advance to the Olympics after beating the Dominican Republic for the final spot on Sunday. Lithuania and Russia also qualified for London.

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Nigeria Wins Final Olympic Men's Basketball Bid

In a minor upset, Ike Diogu and Al-Farouq Aminu who were able to outplay Al Horford as Nigeria secured the final spot in the field of 12 for London.

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Olympic Basketball Qualifying, Lithuania Vs. Puerto Rico: Two European Teams Head To Final Four

Four European teams were able to advance out of pool play and into the single-elimination tournament at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying tournament in Caracas, Venezuela. Heading into the final game of the night Friday, however, the Euros were upset in two out of their three games heading into the Lithuania-Puerto Rico nightcap.

Lithuania looked like it might suffer the same fate, but the tournament favorites were able to hold on with a 76-72 victory to advance to Saturday's semifinals. The Lithuanians will now be fighting with three other teams -- Dominican Republic, Nigeria and Russia -- for the final three berths in the 2012 London Olympics.

Toronto Raptors draft pick Jonas Valanciunas was limited to just six minutes of court time due to foul trouble, but Lithuania had enough talent to make up for the loss of their talented big man. Former journeyman NBA point guard Sarunas Jasikevicius took over down the stretch to finish with 11 points while current Raptors forward Linas Kleiza and Mantas Kalnietis led Lithuania with 14 points each.

On the losing side of the basketball, Alex Galindo led the way with 17 points, but Puerto Rico was unfortunately unable to get enough from their NBA stalwarts. J.J. Barea struggled his way to 13 points on 15 shots and a few bad decisions down the stretch while Carlos Arroyo had a more efficient 13 points, but also struggled during crunch time.

Puerto Rico's Olympic hopes are now dashed while Lithuania moves on to play the Dominican Republic in the semifinals. The winners of Saturday's games will both be assured Olympic bids -- and therefore no final game will be played -- whereas the final berth will be decided on Sunday in a third-place game featuring Saturday's losers.

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Olympic Basketball Qualifying, FYR Macedonia Vs. Dominican Republic: Francisco Garcia Moves Dominicana Closer To London

Francisco Garcia has become an NBA afterthought ever since an unfortunate exercise ball injury in 2009, but the man was amazing on Friday night at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Garcia's Dominican Republic team pulled off an upset, sending FYR Macedonia home as Domincana moved within one game of an Olympic berth.

Garcia played in 49 games for the Sacramento Kings this past season, but none were as impressive as the 28 points he put up against Bo McCalebb and the rest of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Garcia made eight of his 14 shot attempts -- including 4-of-7 from beyond the 3-point arc -- to help move the John Calipari-coached team in to the semifinals.

Aside from Garcia, fellow NBAer Al Horford scored 14 points and added 15 rebounds after a very slow first half while the inimitable Jack Michael Martinez scored 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds himself.

On the other side of the basketball was McCalebb, a naturalized citizen and a beloved player by all of those on the Internet. The point guard scored an impressive 35 points -- the highest thus far in the tournament -- but they all came in defeat. Only two other Macedonians were able to score in double-figures, however, in a game that featured sloppy play and foul trouble through the first 30 minutes of action.

The Dominican Republic team will now play the winner of Friday night's late game (featuring Puerto Rico and Lithuania) on Saturday afternoon for one of two automatic Olympic berths -- no championship game will be held. The semifinal winners will both receive an automatic bid to London 2012 while the two losers of Saturday afternoon's semifinals will play a third-place game on Sunday for the third and final bid to this year's Olympics.

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Olympic Basketball: Qualifying Tournament Enters Knockouts

The 2012 London Olympics are coming up on us rather quickly, and by the end of the weekend, the world will know which teams they'll be watching go to work on winning a gold medal. The FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament has completed pool play, leaving eight teams to play a single-elimination tournament over the next few days that will see the top three teams advance.

The top two teams won't play a championship game -- they'll just head straight to the Olympics -- while the third team getting the automatic bid will be decided with a traditional third-place game. Friday's action will get us to that point, too, because all four first-round games will take place on the same day (it's like March Madness, except in July and in Venezuela!).

Russia vs. Angola (11:30 a.m. ET)

The Russian national team looked outstanding in pool play, handily taking care of its games against the Dominican Republic and Korea -- though the latter wasn't expected to be much of a challenge. The odds are with Andrei Kirilenko and Russia again on Friday, though, because Angola -- who upset Macedonia to make it this far -- is likely going to be too small to match up well with Russia's length.

Greece vs. Nigeria (2 p.m. ET)

Aside from Russia, Greece is the only team that was able to escape pool play without a loss. Vassilis Spanoulis and Georgios Printezis, both former NBA draft picks, have looked really solid thus far in the tournament. Nigeria has NBA talent of its own, too -- Hornets wing Al-Farouq Aminu and Ike Diogu were instrumental in leading an upset over Lithuania to keep Nigeria's Olympic hopes alive.

FYR Macedonia vs. Dominican Republic (5:30 p.m. ET)

This might very well be the most exciting game on the first day of the tournament -- at least as far as our fan favorites are concerned. The "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" as they're referred to for now is led by naturalized citizen Bo McCalebb whereas Dominica is led by Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari and features NBA All-Star Al Horford (and the always-entertaining Jack Michael Martinez).

Lithuania vs. Puerto Rico (8 p.m. ET)

While the heart strings of yours truly are going to be pulled earlier in the evening, Lithuania and Puerto Rico will probably be the game international basketball fans want to tune in to on Friday night. Lithuania has continued to struggle following last summer's showing in the original Olympic qualifiers, but the team featuring Linas Kleiza, Sarunas Jasikevicius and former Duke wing Martynas Pocius seems too talented to fail. Puerto Rico is a worthy adversary, though, featuring Jose Barea, Carlos Arroyo, Renaldo Balkman and Peter John Ramos.

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Olympic Basketball Qualifying Tournament Continues Pool Play Tuesday

The Olympic Qualifying Tournament got off to a quality start on Monday, but there are still two days of pool play left until the eight-team single-elimination tournament gets underway. Tuesday's schedule again features quite a few mismatches on paper, but there's a little added pressure as Macedonia, Jordan and Korea could all be eliminated with a loss in their second game.

The top two teams from each three-team pool (groups listed here) will advance to Friday's tournament, and from there, the top three teams will advance to the 2012 London Olympics. None of that can happen with teams that struggle with poor pool play, however.

Korea vs. Dominican Republic (10:30 a.m. ET)

Korea was overmatched on Monday as it dropped a 91-56 decision to Russia, and unfortunately it looks like a similar result will be in store against the Dominican Republic. Dominica, led by Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari, features NBA players Al Horford and Francisco Garcia playing alongside solid international players such as Jack Michael Martinez, Edgar Sosa and former Bemidji State center Ely Guzman.

Macedonia vs. New Zealand (1 p.m. ET)

Though commonly referred to as Macedonia, Bo McCalebb's team is actually the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." After a great showing last summer, McCalebb and his teammates got off to a bad start at this year's qualifying tournament with an 88-84 loss to Angola. Following Monday's loss, Macedonia will need to take out New Zealand to keep its Olympic hopes alive -- a feat that got easier when Kirk Penney and Tom Abercrombie were both forced to withdraw due to injury.

Jordan vs. Puerto Rico (4:30 p.m. ET)

Jordan was stomped on by Greece to put a damper on its Olympic hopes, but the team still has a chance if it's able to upset Puerto Rico on Tuesday afternoon in Caracas. Unfortunately for Jordan's hopes, Puerto Rico is a pretty good team featuring current NBA players J.J. Barea and Renaldo Balkman along with also-rans such as Carlos Arroyo, PJ Ramos, Ricky Sanchez and Daniel Santiago.

Venezuela vs. Lithuania (7 p.m. ET)

This game is going to be the one to watch if people are planning to tune in to only one of Tuesday's games. Not only will the homecrowd be backing Venezuela after Monday night's big win over Nigeria, but Lithuania is a very talented team and one of the favorites to earn an Olympic berth. The recognizable names on Lithuania's roster for NBA fans include Linas Kleiza, Darius Songaila, Jonas Valanciunas and Sarunas Jasikevicius.

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FIBA Olympic Qualifying: Angola, Greece Get Monday Wins

The 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament will take place all week in Caracas, Venezuela, but it was one of the Dream Team's original victims that scored the biggest triumph of the tournament's first day on Monday. Angola got an 88-84 win over Macedonia in Group D action, with Eduardo Mingas dropping 24 points, dishing six assists and adding four rebounds to lead the African nation to victory.

Greece had the day's most lopsided win, with a 107-63 romp over Jordan; five Greek players finished in double figures, and Jordan had just 23 points at halftime.

In other action, Russia, led by Andrei Kirilenko and Timofey Mozgov, thumped South Korea 91-56, allowing just one Korean player to reach double figures, and Venezuela got a win in front of its home crowd in a 71-69 win over Nigeria that was engineered by Greivis Vasquez' 24 points.

Action will continue on Tuesday as the third teams in Groups A through D all play their first games.

For more on the 2012 London Olympics, check out SB Nation's Olympics hub.

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Olympic Basketball Qualifying Tournament Tips Off With Angola Vs. Macedonia

The 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament tips off on Monday in Caracas, Venezuela, with eight teams taking the first step at moving their country closer to playing in the London Olympics. It's only pool play, but a pretty important step considering just one loss could be enough to dash a team's Olympic hopes.

Each team will play the other two members of their group (pairings available here) from Monday through Wednesday with the top two finishers in each advancing to the actual eight-team tournament taking place beginning Friday. Monday's schedule includes the following games:

Russia vs. Korea (11:30 a.m ET)

Korea hasn't made an appearance at the Olympics since 1996 in Atlanta, where it lost all seven of its games. This year doesn't look like it'll be the Koreans' year, either, considering they'll likely have to upset either Russia or the Dominican Republic just to make it to the tournament. Their odds of an upset on Monday are bleak, too, considering Russia's roster contains NBA-level talents like Andrei Kirilenko, Timofey Mozgov, Alexey Shved and Viktor Khryapa.

Greece vs. Jordan (2 p.m. ET)

Greece is a favorite in this tournament due to its size and a good mixture of national team veterans and young up-and-coming talent. NBA fans might recognize the names of Nick Calathes and Vassilis Spanoulis, but Antonis Fotsis and Georgios Printezis are also very good at this level. Jordan's roster features Osama 'Sam' Daghles.

Angola vs. Macedonia (5 p.m. ET)

This game is likely going to be the best of the day as Bo McCalebb attempts to put Macedonia on his back -- as he did last summer -- to upset 15th-ranked Angola. Angola finished as the runner-up in last summer's Afrobasket tournament and is trying to keep alive a streak of making it to the Olympics ever since its run at Barcelona in 1992.

Nigeria vs. Venezuela (8 p.m. ET)

Venezuela, the tournament's host team and coached by Eric Musselman, is a young team that put together a solid showing at last year's FIBA Americas tournament. Its only NBA player is Greivis Vasquez, though Gregory Echenique is an interesting player to keep an eye on as he just finished up his junior year at Creighton. Nigeria's roster includes Hornets forward Al-Farouq Aminu (and his brother Alade) along with former NBAers Ekene Ibekwe,Ike Diogu, Koko Archibong and Olumide Oyedeji.

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