How each Asian country in the FIBA World Cup can still head to the 2024 Paris Olympics
With the first group stage of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 over, the focus now shifts to the next round, where berths in the quarterfinals and slots in next year's Paris Olympics are at stake.
No Asian country advanced in the tournament, so all six teams will now play in the classification round to determine the 17th to 32nd places. The team that finishes with the highest ranking will head to Paris.
Here's a refresher on how it works:
All teams relegated to the classification round will carry over their win-loss record from the first group stage. The bottom two teams in Groups A and B will merge to form Group M, the bottom two in Groups C and D will form Group N, E and F form Group O, and G and H form Group P.
Teams will play the two teams from the other group, i.e. Teams A3 and A4 will play Teams B3 and B4, giving each team a total of five games. All 16 teams will then be ranked according to their final win-loss record. In case of ties, point differential will be used.
Asian teams went a combined 1-17 in the first round, with Japan being the only country to get a win. In 2019, China was in the same position, but lost to Iran for the Olympic slot after going 0-2 in the second round. Iran beat the Philippines by 20 to advance via point differential.
With those details in mind, here's a breakdown of each Asian team's path to Paris.
China (Group M)
Will play: Philippines (0-3) and Angola (1-2) Record: 0-3 Point differential: minus-80
China's first round performance has been dismal. They lost by an average of 26.7 points and now need to beat at least one of the Philippines and Angola by a large margin and hope Japan drops both its games. China has always had Gilas' number, but Angola might prove to be as formidable an opponent as South Sudan, which routed them by 20.
Iran (Group P)
Will play: France (1-2) and Lebanon (0-3) Record: 0-3 Point differential: minus-63
Iran was on the verge of claiming a win against Cote D'Ivoire, only to lose near the end by 2. Now they might have a difficult time booking back-to-back Olympic appearances. They're in the same position as they were in 2019, but with a much larger point differential. Lebanon is beatable, but France might be a mountain too high to climb.
Japan (Group O)
Will play: Cape Verde (1-2) and Venezuela (0-3) Record: 1-2 Point differential: minus-28
The co-hosts are in pole position, having been the only Asian team to score a win in the first round. Their path is the clearest: Win both Group O games and the Olympic ticket is theirs. Cape Verde and Venezuela are no pushovers, but after beating world No. 13 Finland, Japan's confidence is sky high.
Jordan (Group N)
Will play: Egypt (1-2) and Mexico (0-3) Record: 0-3 Point differential: minus-77
Like Iran, Jordan narrowly missed a chance to win a first round game, losing to New Zealand in overtime. Because of their 48-point loss to the United States, their huge point differential likely means they'll need to beat both Egypt and Mexico to stay in the hunt.
Lebanon (Group P)
Will play: Cote D'Ivoire (1-2) and Iran (0-3) Record: 0-3 Point differential: minus-100
Lebanon needs to win two games, and win them big to overcome their minus-100 point differential. The good news is, on paper both Cote D'Ivoire and Middle East rival Iran look beatable.
Philippines (Group M)
Will play: South Sudan (1-2) and China (0-3) Record: 0-3 Point differential: minus-23
Of the six teams, Gilas has the lowest point differential (minus-23), which puts them in a good position in Group M. But their two opponents in the group possess the traits that gave Gilas so much trouble in the first round: height and length. South Sudan has several tall and athletic players down low, while China's wings and guards are taller on the average. Gilas can afford to win just one game and still make it, just as long as they don't lose big and Japan drops both its games. A sweep is obviously preferable but likely a tall order.China (Group M)Iran (Group P) Japan (Group O) Jordan (Group N) Lebanon (Group P) Philippines (Group M)