2015 FIBA Continental Championships: Fearless ForecastJuly 16, 2015

It will be one summer to remember for international basketball fans, as the FIBA continental championships will be held this season. It will determine which countries will compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Brazil, as host nation, is guaranteed a place. USA clinched a spot after winning the FIBA World Cup last year.

Australia will play New Zealand from August 16-18. It's not a foregone conclusion yet. (The German men's national basketball team, led by Dirk Nowitzki, edged out the Kiwis for the bronze medal in the 2002 World Championships.) History is on the Boomers' side, as the Olympics is where they perform well. (Australia finished fourth in three occasions, the last one during the Sydney Games.) The remaining slots are up for grabs.

Let's take a look:

2015 Eurobasket (September 4-20). All eyes will be focused here. The two teams who make it to the finals qualify for the Olympics, while the ones who reach the quarterfinals must play a qualifying tournament next summer. The Top 3 teams will go to Rio de Janeiro, and Europe often ends up in the podium. This edition of EuroBasket is intriguing, as four countries will host the round-robin games. It will be a single-elimination format afterwards. France, who won their first EuroBasket title two years ago, will be the slight favourite to win the tournament. The knockout stage will be held in Lille. This will be Tony Parker's final appearance in the tournament. History is against French team's side, though. (Germany was the last home team to win the EuroBasket title, which happened 22 years ago.) Spain, the host nation's traditional foe, is a strong contender. A France-Spain finals is a salivating thought, but both teams might meet earlier. Lithuania, a powerhouse in the sport, is another team to watch. Serbia, winner of the silver medal in the 2014 World Cup, will be the dark horse of the tournament.

2015 FIBA Americas Championship (August 25-September 6). US and Brazil are the two best teams in the region, and both won't play in Mexico City. The finals of the 2013 championships saw Mexico edged Puerto Rico by two points. Argentina has wealth of experience, but Mexico can count on the home fans. Puerto Rico, led by José Juan Barea, is a dangerous team. Fans can expect another match-up between Mexico and Puerto Rico. They might see them play against each other in Rio.

2015 FIBA African Championship (August 20-30). Angola and Tunisia have been competing for the top spot for years. Tunisia will be hosting the event, so home fans will witness their team securing their second appearance in the Olympics.

2015 FIBA Asia Championship (September 23-October 3). The event will be held in Changsa, China. The home team is a strong favourite, but watch out for Iran.

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