The Road to Rio: Nations Compete for 2016 Olympics

The Road to Rio: Nations Compete for 2016 Olympics by Wes Kosel

Road to Rio

Untitled Documentfree basketball drills and plays

Although baseball is in full swing and football season is about to start, there is still some basketball to watch for the die-hard basketball fans. The Road to Rio is underway with nations competing for spots in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. Team USA has already locked in a spot by winning the 2014 FIBA World Cup, but several spots are still available for teams to fill. As Fall approaches, there are still several tournament to be played that will have an impact on Olympics berths. These tournament include EuroBasket 2015, FIBA Americas Championship, FIBA Asia Championship, and the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament next July.

Olympic History

During the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the draw for the United States put them in Group A with Argentina and France. Team USA would go 8-0 beating Spain in the Gold Medal Match, 107-100. This was a rematch of the 2008 Olympics Gold Medal Game in Beijing, China where the United States won 118-107. There is no doubt that Spain will be looking for revenge in Rio. Russia took the Bronze Medal in 2012 with Argentina taking the fourth spot in the final standings.

The United States has history on its side, as they have won 6 Gold Medals in the Last 8 Summer Olympics. In 2004, Argentina won the gold edging out Italy in the final game. In 1988, the Soviet Union won gold against Yugoslavia. Only 4 nations have ever won the gold medal in the Men’s Basketball Summer Olympics (USA, Argentina, Soviet Union, & Yugoslavia). USA will be looking to make it three-straight Olympic gold medals with a tournament championship in Brazil. Spain will be looking to finally beat the United States in a gold medal match.

Qualifying for Rio

Four teams have already qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games (Brazil, USA, Australia, and Nigeria). There are still eight spots available in the tournament with championships continuing as we approach fall. Here’s the breakdown on how nations qualify:

Host Nation (1 qaulifying spot): Brazil

2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup (1 qualifying spot): USA

2015 FIBA Oceania Championship (1 qualifying spot): Australia

AfroBasket 2015 (1 qualifying spot): Nigeria

2015 FIBA Americas Championship (2 qualifying spots) – August 31 – September 12

EuroBasket 2015 (2 qualifying spots) – September 5 – September 20

2015 FIBA Asia Championship (1 qualifying spot) – September 23 – October 3

2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament (3 qualifying spots) – July 5 – July 11, 2016

Qualifying Tournament

Once the 2015 Championships are complete, 3 spots will remain for the 2016 Summer Olympics. 18 teams will then compete in the Qualifying Tournament for these final 3 positions. So far, New Zealand has qualified after finishing second place in the Oceania Championship and from the AfroBasket tournament Angola, Tunisia, and Senegal have qualified.

2014 FIBA World Cup

Team USA won the 2014 FIBA World Cup going 9-0 and blowing out Serbia in the Gold Medal Game. Serbia won Silver, France won Bronze, and Lithuania took fourth place. Spain went 6-1 but a loss to France in the Quarter-Finals ended Spain’s chance of facing off against the United States. James Harden led team USA in scoring and Kenneth Faried had an outstanding tournament averaging 7.7 rebounds per game.

Highlights from the 2014 FIBA World Cup

If this is any indication of how competitive the 2016 Olympics will be, we are in for an exciting tournament in Brazil.

Teams to Watch


Here are two set plays from Team USA used during the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

Horns Hand-Off Jumper

Road to Rio

Horns Point Loop

Road to Rio


As the host nation, Brazil will have an advantage against visiting teams. Here is a Horns play used by Brazil in the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship.

Horns Shooter Option

Road to Rio


Led by Luis Scola, Argentina will look to make a deep run in rival territory. Here is a Wheel Action play used in the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship.

Wheel Slip

Untitled Documentblocker mover offense

Road to Rio


Angola finished second to Nigeria in AfroBasket 2015, but will have a chance to earn an Olympic berth in the 2016 Qualifying Tournament. In addition, here is an article on the Angola Man Offense team that was posted on the website earlier this week – Click here: Angola Man Offense

Down and Out

Road to Tio


Maybe the favorite team behind the United States, Spain will look to get to a third straight Gold Medal Game in the Olympics. This time, Spain hopes to win its first ever Men’s Basketball Olympic Gold Medal.

Wing Rub

Road to Rio

Highlights from USA vs. Spain – London 2012 Gold Medal Game

Download the Plays

  • Road to Rio Playbook – This playbook features plays from Argentina, Brazil, and the United States. Most teams are using horns actions in international play, and in this playbook you get 3 horns sets (1 from Brazil, 2 from USA).
    • Argentina – Wheel Slip
    • Brazil – Horns Shooter Option
    • USA – Horns Hand-Off Jumper
    • USA – Horns Point Circle

  • Angola Man Offense – This playbook includes three plays from Angola used in FIBA World Cup Action and AfroBasket 2015. As mentioned before, Angola might be a team to watch out for in the qualifying tournament.
    • Angola – Down and Out
    • Angola – Horns Post Lob
    • Angola – Reverse

  • Spain National Team Playbook – The Spain National Team Playbook has three plays from Spain’s run in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. As you will see, Spain did a great job of utilizing Marc Gasol into screening actions. His ability to stretch the floor in conjuction with his size made these plays hard to guard.
    • Spain – Wing Rub
    • Spain – Double Cross
    • Spain – Corner In PTP

  • 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup Playbook – If you want plays from all 24 FIBA World Cup Tournament teams, click the link above to download this playbook. It includes 76 plays used during the tournament from coaches like Mike Krzyzewski, Mike Fratello, Andrej Lemanis, and Vincent Collet.

Road to Rio

Follow the Action

Follow all of the upcoming action on the following websites. FIBA does a great job of covering the events, and you can watch live games by subscribing to LiveBasketball.TV. You can choose from montly to yearly subscription options to watch international play including additional leagues and championships.

And of course, be sure to follow the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro next summer. The basketball championship can be followed online on the official Rio2016 website. Click here to follow Rio2016 Basketball!



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