Calipari, Dominican Republic can advance to Olympics with weekend win

On Saturday, John Calipari and the Dominican Republic will play a game with an automatic bid to the 2012 Olympics at stake.

The winner of the semifinal game between the Dominican Republic and top-seeded Brazil in the FIBA Americas tournament will automatically qualify for the 2012 Olympics, which the Dominican Republic has never qualified for.

The Dominican Republic beat Brazil 79-74 in a first-round game — that win advanced the Dominican Republic to the semifinal — and remains the only team to have beaten Brazil in the tournament.

In that win, Al Horford had 22 points, Francisco Garcia had 14, and Luis Flores and Jack Michael Martinez each had 10.

Three Brazil players scored at least 16 points in that game. A full box score can be seen here.

However, the Dominican Republic has lost twice to Brazil in recent weeks — once in an exhibition and once in a tune-up tournament. All three games were played when Edgar Sosa was available for the Dominican team (he suffered a leg injury three games ago that will sideline him for several months).

If the Dominican Republic loses to Brazil, they would still advance to a last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament that will be played in the summer of 2012.