Basketball at the Tokyo Games will feature a 12-team men’s tournament and a 12-team women’s tournament.
The men’s and women’s tournaments will feature the same formats, which see the 12 teams divided into three pools of four.
Teams will play in a round robin format, during which each team will play all the other teams in its group (for a total of three games per team). Teams earn two points for a win, one point for a loss, and zero points for a loss by forfeit.
The top two teams in each group and the two best third-place teams will advance to the quarterfinals. The remaining teams will not continue the competition and will be classified as placed 9th through 12th based on results from the group phase.
If there is a tie for placement within a group to decide which teams will advance (i.e., teams have the same win-loss record), the result of the game between them will decide which team advances. Further tiebreaking criteria are followed in this order (i.e., if three teams are tied with the same record):
- Higher game points difference of the games between the tied teams
- Higher number of game points scored in the games between the tied teams
- Higher game points difference of all games in the group
- Higher number of game points scored in all games in the group
- If these criteria still cannot decide an order at the end of the group phase, a draw will decide on the final classification.
If there is a tie for placement to advance among teams in different groups (i.e. for the two best third-place slots), one group table of all the teams in question will be created and ranked by the following tiebreaking criteria, in this order:
1. Better win-loss record of all games played in the new group standings
2. Higher game points difference of all games in the new group standings
3. Higher number of game points scored in all games in the new group standings
If these criteria still cannot break the tie, a draw will decide final classification
The eight qualified teams will be divided into two pots, called pots “D” and “E” per FIBA’s naming convention. Pot D will consist of the three group winners plus the best second-place team. Pot E will consist of the two remaining second place teams and the two third place teams that advanced. A draw will determine the pairings for the quarterfinal games (with a team from Pot D against a team from Pot E for each game). Teams from the same group from the group phase cannot be drawn against each other in the quarterfinals.
The four quarterfinal winners will qualify for the semifinals. The four losing teams in the quarterfinals are eliminated and will be classified as 5th-8th.
The winners of the two semifinals will play for gold, while the two losing teams will play for bronze.
Basketball at the Olympics is similar to the NBA/WNBA, with a few notable differences:
- Game duration – Olympics: 40 minutes (10-min quarters)
- Game duration – NBA: 48 minutes (12-min quarters)
- Court dimensions – Olympics: 91 feet, 10 inches X 49 feet, 2.5 inches
- Court dimensions – NBA/WNBA: 94 feet X 50 feet
- 3-point line – Olympics, WNBA: 22 feet, 1.75 inches
- 3-point line – NBA: 22 feet along sideline; 23 feet, 9 inches elsewhere
- Player foul limit – Olympics: 5
- Player foul limit NBA/WNBA: 6
The United States has dominated Olympic basketball, winning six consecutive women’s gold medals and six of the past seven men’s gold medals (2004 bronze).