The second group stage of the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship in Mar del Plata, Argentina, has been set after Saturday's official elimination of two teams: Cuba and Paraguay. In the second group stage, wins by the remaining eight teams over those eliminated are removed from consideration. The final eight will now play four games apiece, with the top four teams in composite points at the conclusion of that round moving on to knockouts.
Argentina, as expected, is on top of the table, now at 3-0 after going unbeaten in the first group stage. Three teams are now tied at 2-1 after the elimination of Cuba and Paraguay: Puerto Rico, Brazil and the Dominican Republic. In addition to holding off the next four teams -- Venezuela, Canada, Uruguay and Panama -- those three will want to avoid a semifinal clash with Argentina.
Why? The two teams that land in the championship game win automatic bids to the 2012 London Olympics. The other two semifinalists and No. 5 team from this second group stage will be added to the last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament to be held next July.
The games for the second group stage begin Monday. Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico is the most intriguing match-up, assuming Canada vs. Argentina ends up as a big win for the host nation.