On April 26 FIBA conducted the draw that set the preliminary groups for the upcoming Olympic Games Basketball tournament in Beijing from August 10-24. The USA men's and women's teams learned not only what groups they would be in, but what teams would comprise those groups as well.
On the men's side, preliminary play is scheduled for August 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18, with the quarterfinals action taking place on August 20, the semifinals on August 22 and the men’s gold medal game on August 24.
The 2004 Athens Games bronze medallist will be in Group B and so far they'll have their work cut out for them if they want to bring home the gold. In addition to having the host Chinese (and Yao Ming) in their group, they will have the defending FIBA World Champion Spain, the perennial Africa Zone champs Angola, and two teams yet to be determined after the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying tournament being held July 14-20 in Athens, Greece is completed.
Group A will consist of the defending Olympic champion Argentina, Lithuania, European champion Russia, Australia, Iran and one team that will be determined through the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The men's teams hoping to grab one of the final three Olympic spots at the tournament are Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Korea, Lebanon, New Zealand and Puerto Rico.
On the women's side, the three time defending Olympic champs will be seeking their fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal. Like the men, they'll also be in Group B and have the hosts from China in their group as well. They'll also have Africa Zone champ Mali, New Zealand and two teams that will be determined through the FIBA Women's World Olympic Qualifying Tournament that will take place June 9-15 in Madrid, Spain. The women's teams playing to grab one of those final five spots are Angola, Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Czech Republic, Fiji, Japan, Latvia, Senegal and the host Spaniards.
Group A for the women will consist of the 2004 silver medallist and FIBA world champion Australians, the 2004 bronze medallists Russia, South Korea and three teams from the FIBA Women's World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The women's tournament at the Beijing Games will run from Aug 9-23 with preliminary play scheduled for August 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17. The women's quarterfinals action takes place on August 19 and women's semifinals play is slated for Aug. 21. The women's gold medal finals will take place on August 23.
The WNBA will start play May 17 and take a break for the Beijing Games. As of yet the final lineups for the USA men's or women's teams have been set. The men are being coached by Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, the women by Anne Donovan.
Hopefully both teams will be bringing gold medals back to the States when the Beijing Games are concluded.