Road to Rio: Men's Basketball Edition

Many Canadians woke up this morning and went to work as usual, but the Canadian Men's Basketball team was putting in work before many of Canada's 33 000 000 were even awake. Entering the second day of group play action in the Philippines, Team Canada needed to beat Senegal to advance to the knockout stage. In an odd format, the final Rio 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament saw three different tournaments field two pools of three nations. Canada fell into the tournament hosted in the Philippines, matched with Senegal, the Philippines, France, Turkey and New Zealand.

Canada opened play Tuesday night with a win over Turkey, which allowed the Canucks a chance to seal their own fate by beating Senegal the following evening. The Canadian's did just that, knocking off their opponents 58-55 in a defensive battle. Without Andrew Wiggins present at the tournament, Toronto Raptors guard Corey Joseph led the way. Joseph dominated in Canada's first match against Turkey and proved to be clutch against Senegal, nailing three free-throws in the final 11 seconds to seal the deal.

Moving forward, the Canadian's will play the second place team from group B (France, New Zealand, Philippines), in the tournament's first semi-final. At some point moving forward, Canada will have to face this tournament's best team, France, if they are to qualify for Rio. In order for Canada to beat the French, they must work the inside and attack the smaller Frenchman. Canadian bigs, Anthony Bennett and Tristan Thompson, can both use their NBA experience to their advantage against the French interior players who are not at the same level. Containing San Antonio Spurs veteran, Tony Parker, and NBA All-star Nicolas Batum, will surely be Canada's toughest task.

The Canadians missed a great chance to qualify for these same Olypmics in the fall, when they lost a crucial third place game to Venezuela in Mexico City. As Canadian basketball is on the rise, the best way to show off young talent to the world is to make the Olympics. With a young and determined group on the hardwood, the Canadian Men's Basketball team is only a few wins away from achieving greatness.