The 2011 FIBA Africa Championship moves on to the knockout bracket, with new contender Senegal joining continental stalwarts Nigeria, Tunisia and Angola in the top seeds. The winner of the tournament will earn a spot in the 2012 London Olympics.
The 16-team knockout bracket has been set for the 2011 FIBA Africa Championship, with action getting underway on Tuesday in Madagascar. The teams on Monday finished a group play exercise that resulted in no eliminations but set the seeding for the knockout round.
Unlike the continental championships for Europe and the Americas, there are precious few NBA players in the FIBA Africa field; the most notable names to American fans would former Spur and Blazer Ime Udoka of Nigeria, and former UCLA Bruin Alfred Aboya of Cameroon. Players like Hasheem Thabeet (Tanzania, Houston Rockets) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Cameroon) aren't participating in this tournament. (Tanzania didn't qualify, for starters.)
Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia are the top seeds heading into the knockouts. Angola, Africa's lone 2008 Beijing Olympic competitor and the 2009 FIBA Africa champion, lost to Senegal in group play and faces a tougher path to London. Cote d'Ivoire and Tunisia finished second and third behind Angola in the 2009 tournament; Cote d'Ivoire will face Rwanda before a likely showdown with Senegal, while Tunisia draws South Africa before the winner of Mali-Morocco. Angola begins the knockouts against Mozambique.