Olympics Basketball 2012: 3 Teams with Absolutely No Chance of Advancing
If you've been following Olympic basketball, chances are, you've already seen, heard and read plenty about Team USA, Spain, Argentina and the handful of other nations with legitimate hopes of escaping the group stage and competing for medals.
But what about the rest of the field?
And by "the rest of the field," I'm referring, of course, to those poor, helpless squads that are about to have their hats handed to them on the court in London. After all, someone has to be served up as fodder for the favorites' inevitable floor-wipings.
Still, with eight of 12 entrants bound for the knockout rounds, it takes some serious effort (toward some seriously terrible basketball) to not advance out of the group stage.
So which teams in the field are most likely to get walloped in the weeks to come?
Nobody makes for fresher butt-whoopin' fare in Olympic basketball than a team that's making its debut in the Summer Games.
Tunisia is one of two such squads in London, and the one out of 12 most likely to go winless before bowing out. The Tunisians sport nary a single player with NBA experience.
Their closest facsimile? Salah Mejri, a seven-footer who plays for a club in Antwerp and took part in the Orlando Summer League with the Utah Jazz in early July.
Still, give the Tunisians credit for winning the 2011 African championship with a team that's played together for quite some time now.
Just don't expect them to win anything this year, not in a group that features the likes of Team USA, Argentina, France and Lithuania.
The other newcomer of these 2012 Games, Nigeria, managed to sneak into the London Olympics by way of a late qualifying tournament in Venezuela.
D'Tigers can actually boast a few names that American basketball fans might recognize. Most notably, the Nigerian squad features former NBA Draft lottery pick Ike Diogu, former Seattle SuperSonics forward Olumide Oyedeji and current New Orleans Hornets swingman Al-Farouq Aminu, who'll be joined by his brother Alade Aminu.
College basketball diehards might also recognize names like Tony Skinn (George Mason), Chamberlain Oguchi (Oregon) and Ekene Ibekwe (Maryland), among others.
That collection of talent helped Nigeria to beat global powerhouses Greece and Lithuania on the way to the Olympics and should be enough to earn the African nation at least one victory abroad, even if it's against the lowly-and-aforementioned Tunisia.
Another win over the Lithuanians isn't exactly out of the question, either, though Nigeria still faces an uphill battle to finish in the top four of Group A.
Congratulations to London for getting to host the Olympic Games. Too bad Great Britain's basketball team isn't likely to do much on the basketball court to acquit itself of the honor.
Not that the Brits won't try their darndest. Great Britain hasn't partaken in Olympic hoops since 1948, when London last played host to the Summer Games.
This time around, NBA All-Star Luol Deng is putting off wrist surgery to represent the home country with soon-to-be Portland Trail Blazers big man Joel Freeland, former Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Hornets forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu and one-time NBA vet Robert Archibald joining him with the Union Jack.
With those players on board, Team GB figures to have at least some chance of advancing out of Group B.
Or would've, rather, if not for sharing a group with Spain, Russia, Brazil and Australia. The Brits will have home-court advantage on their side, along with the support of all those pulling for a knockout-round matchup with Team USA.
Against which Team GB lost by 40 in an exhibition in mid-July.
But, in all likelihood, the hosts will have to make way for four of the world's other basketball powers when all is said and done.