Olympic basketball bracket, explained: How group play, standings work for 2021 tournaments

The Olympic basketball setup will look a little bit different when teams begin tournament play at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

The 2021 Olympics will debut a new format that breaks teams into three groups of four instead of two groups of six. That means the gold-medal winning team will play fewer games this time around, but the path to the stand won’t be easy.

So, how does this whole thing work? Here’s an explanation of the basketball tournament format at the Tokyo Olympics.

MORE: Full day-by-day Olympic basketball schedule

How does Olympics basketball tournament work?

This year’s competition will split 12 teams into three groups of four. Each team will play the other three teams within its group for a total of three games. The first- and second-place teams from each group and the two best third-place teams overall will advance to the knockout round.

A draw will then determine quarterfinal matchups. The three first-place teams and the best second-place team will be placed in one pot, and the rest of the teams will be placed in another. (Teams from the same original group cannot play each other again in the quarterfinals.)

Once those matchups are set, the tournament follows a typical single-elimination structure.

Olympics men’s basketball groups

  • Group A: Czech Republic, France, Iran, United States
  • Group B: Australia, Germany, Italy, Nigeria
  • Group C: Argentina, Japan, Slovenia, Spain

Olympic women’s basketball groups

  • Group A: Canada, Serbia, Spain, South Korea
  • Group B: France, Japan, Nigeria, United States
  • Group C: Australia, Belgium, China, Puerto Rico

Olympics men’s basketball schedule

  • Group play: July 24-Aug. 1
  • Knockout stage: Aug. 2-Aug. 7
  • Gold-medal game: Aug. 6
  • Bronze-medal game: Aug. 7

Olympic women’s basketball schedule

  • Group play: July 25-Aug. 2
  • Knockout stage: Aug. 3-Aug. 7
  • Gold-medal game: Aug. 7
  • Bronze-medal game: Aug. 7

FIBA men’s basketball rankings

(Last updated March 2021)

  1. United States
  2. Spain
  3. Australia
  4. Argentina
  5. Serbia
  6. Greece
  7. France
  8. Lithuania
  9. Russia
  10. Italy

FIBA women’s basketball rankings

(Last updated March 2021)

  1. United States
  2. Australia
  3. Spain
  4. Canada
  5. France
  6. Belgium
  7. Turkey
  8. Serbia
  9. China
  10. Japan

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