The first three days of hoops in the 2014 Asian Games are done. Four teams have bid adieu (Hong Kong, Maldives, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia), while four others joined the eight pre-qualified teams in the second phase of the competition, which is also called the Preliminary Round. In this round, the twelve remaining countries are divided into four different groups, and each group will go through a single-round-robin format of play. This means each team only has two games to play before either moving on to the quarterfinals or packing their bags for home.
Needless to say, each game is going to be huge in this round. One loss puts a huge amount of pressure on any team, while it’s also very possible to have a three-way 1-1 tie in a group.
It can definitely get pretty wild.
What makes this round even more interesting is that many of the teams are relatively on the same level (perhaps with the exception of FIBA Asia champion Iran). Heck, even defending Asian Games champion China didn’t send its deepest possible team. Even the Koreans aren’t clear-cut favorites to win gold in spite of the fact they’re playing on home soil. Not having their ideal naturalized players has also gutted teams like Jordan, Taiwan, and the Philippines. In general, we should see a lot more unpredictability starting in this round.
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(image from FIBA)