2012 Olympic Basketball Qualifying: Nigeria and the Dominican Republic Play For the Last Spot

It's showtime for the Dominicans. Was getting this far a fluke, or are they for real?

Game Will Be Live on NBATV and Streaming on FIBATV.com, Time is CST

7:00 PM: Dominican Republic vs. Nigeria

Dominican Republic's Record: W 95-85 vs. KOR, L 69-84 vs. RUS, W 86-76 vs. MKD, L 109-83 vs. LTA

Nigeria's Record: L 69-71 vs. VEN, W 86-80 vs. LTU, W 80-79 vs. GRE, L 85-77 vs. RUS

This is it, win or go home. Both teams have had their ups and their downs, but both deserve to be in the position that they're in by defeating some of the best teams FIBA Europe has to offer. If they win tonight, they get a ticket to London. If they lose, they go home and get another shot next year. Neither team has ever achieved an Olympic berth in their entire history, and it will be a huge swoon for whoever the winner is destined to be. If Nigeria wins, it will be the first time two African teams have been in the Olympic Basketball tournament since the beginning of the professional era in 1992. If the Dominican Republic wins, they will only be the third Carribean basketball team ever in the Olympics, after Puerto Rico and Cuba.

The Dominican Republic are the clear underdogs here. They haven't beaten a team better than Macedonia yet, and have gotten just near creamed by Lithuania and Russia. But they have the tools to win this game. They can control the boards against most teams, and do an excellent job of scoring second chance points. They have one of the best players in the tournament in Al Horford, who is a pretty dynamic scorer and finisher around the rim. They also have a good array of shooters, with Francisco Garcia, Juan Corondo, Elipidio Fortuna, and Josh Asselin all able to stroke it from beyond the arc. Their main weakness is the long offensive droughts they seem to go through, and an inability to guard the perimeter.

Nigeria have had a hard road to the third place game, but they've definitely earned their spot. After an initial disappointing loss to tournament host Venezuela, they managed to beat basketball powerhouses Lithuania and Greece in thrillingly close finishes. They like to run the floor, going to guys like Al-Farouq Aminu and his brother, Alade Aminu, for easily finished baskets. In half-court sets, they usually dump it down to Ike Diogu or defer to one of their scoring guards in Anthony Skinn, Ade Dagunduro and Derrick Obasohan. Their main weakness is their inability to distribute the ball, often relying on their players to overcome the opponent in isolation sets. Their defense works well in terms of stealing the ball, but they often can fall into disorganization, leaving shooters wide open or letting the opposition waltz through the paint.

But in the end, I feel like this is Nigeria's game to lose. They have a better top-to-bottom roster than the Dominican Republic does, and their guards have proven that they can be comfortable in more of a distribution role than the Nigerians were initially using. I just think that there are times when the Dominicans have to rely on their stars too much to produce, leading to periods of long drought when they're not on the floor distributing the ball. Considering that this will be their fifth game in the last six days, I also think that depth will play more of a factor than people might think.

Prediction: Nigeria 80, Dominican Republic 78

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Welcome to Loud City

You must be a member of Welcome to Loud City to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Welcome to Loud City. You should read them.

Join Welcome to Loud City

You must be a member of Welcome to Loud City to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Welcome to Loud City. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker