Jul 30, 2021
Jul 30, 2021

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Basketball preview

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Basketball schedule

Tokyo 2020 basketball: Tournament format

Tokyo 2020 basketball: Men’s and Women's tournaments favourites

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Basketball preview

Basketball is traditionally one of the most eagerly enjoyed sports at the Olympics and thus far the Men’s and Women’s tournaments at Tokyo 2020 have been no different. Will the United States defend their title in both events, or can another country claim Olympic basketball gold for the first time since 2004? Read on for our Tokyo 2020 basketball preview.

Tokyo 2020 basketball: Men's tournament schedule

All dates listed as according to Japan Standard Time (UTC+9).

Sunday, July 25 – Sunday, August 1: Group stage.

Tuesday, August 3: Quarter-finals.

Thursday, August 5: Semi-finals.

Saturday, August 7: Gold medal and bronze medal matches.

Tokyo 2020 basketball: Women's tournament schedule

All dates listed as according to Japan Standard Time (UTC+9).

Monday, July 26 – Monday, August 2: Group stage.

Wednesday, August 4: Quarter-finals.

Friday, August 6: Semi-finals.

Saturday, August 7: Bronze medal match.

Sunday, August 8: Gold medal match.

Tokyo 2020 basketball: Tournament format

Both tournaments will feature 12 teams divided into three groups of four. The top two teams from each group plus the two best third-placed teams will progress to the quarter-finals. From that point, the tournament is a straight knockout bracket, with the two losing semi-finalists also playing a bronze medal match.

Tokyo 2020 basketball: Men’s tournament favourites

As is custom, the United States are favourites to win the Men’s tournament. The defending champions will be aiming to win their fourth successive gold medal in this event, having topped the podium at each of Beijing 2008, London 2012, and Rio 2016.

The latest incarnation of the ‘Dream Team’ naturally features several NBA stars, including Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant, Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, and Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine. While they commenced their tournament with a surprise 83-76 defeat to France, their subsequent resounding 120-66 win against Iran offered a firm reminder that the sheer world-class talent at their disposal renders them capable of dismantling any opponent when on form.

Spain claimed bronze in the Men’s tournament at Rio 2016 and have since maintained their strong form by rising to second in the FIBA Men’s World Rankings and winning the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Their squad for Tokyo 2020 includes NBA stalwarts Marc Gasol (LA Lakers) and Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves), who have helped their country commence Group C with back-to-back wins.

In the absence of Serbia, who were runners-up at Rio 2016, France could prove a value bet for a medal. Vincent Collet’s team finished sixth at both London 2012 and Rio 2016, and more recently took bronze at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. As mentioned, their opening match win against the US turned heads and their 97-77 triumph over the Czech Republic confirmed their progression from Group A.

Tokyo 2020 basketball: Women’s tournament favourites

The United States’ women’s basketball team have enjoyed even more dominance than their male counterparts at the Olympics, winning the gold medal in every edition of this event since Atlanta 1996. The WNBA continues to get stronger every year and the American squad seems thoroughly difficult to beat.

Players to look out for include Breanna Stewart, who led the Seattle Storm to the 2020 WNBA title, and the Phoenix Mercury shooting guard Diana Taurasi, who is now the second-highest ever points scorer for her national team behind just Lisa Leslie. Even more ominously, the US women have not lost an international tournament since 2006 and their 86-69 victory over Japan this week extended their winning streak at the Olympics to a formidable 50 matches.

As the team currently second in the FIBA Women’s World Rankings, Australia are arguably the only outfit possessing a plausible chance of denying the US team of gold. The Opals medalled in this event at every Olympics between Atlanta 1996 and London 2012, and lost the 2018 FIBA World Cup final to the US.

Their key players include small forward Rebecca Allen, who recently returned to New York Liberty, and six-foot-five center Marianna Tolo. However, the team will be without Liz Cambage, who was Australia’s points and rebounds per game leader at both Rio 2016 and the 2018 FIBA World Cup.

Get great odds and bet on numerous Olympics markets with Pinnacle.

Odds subject to change

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