The United States as expected went 5-0 in their pool and will move into the medal round as the favorites to bring home gold. They were extremely impressive in some games then stumbled more recently.
The surprise of pool play was Spain losing two games and finishing as the 3-seed from Pool B. They pretty much threw their final game vs. Brazil though so as to avoid Team USA until a potential gold medal game.
Here is the schedule of the medal round:
Quarterfinals – Wednesday, Aug. 8
B1 Russia (4-1) vs. A4 Lithuania (2-3) – 9:00 a.m. EST
Russia was the surprise team of the Olympics starting out 4-0 and beating Brazil and Spain in the process. Led by Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved they earned the top seed in their pool despite losing to Australia on a last-second buzzer-beater by Patty Mills. Lithuania was a little bit of a disappointment but did play Team USA very close. This game should be a close one but Russia has earned the right to be favored and picked to win.
A2 France (4-1) vs. B3 Spain (3-2) – 11:15 a.m. EST
After losing their first game of pool play vs. Team USA, France won their next four to earn the 2-seed from the pool, including a big upset win over Argentina in the process. France is led by some NBA talent, most notably Tony Parker, and should give Spain a good game here. Spain is the favorite in this matchup despite being the lower seed. They wanted to lose their final game vs. Brazil to get this seed and it was smart because now they avoid Team USA and Argentina. Spain is much more balanced and will have a huge advantage inside with the Gasol brothers which should be too much for France to handle. But expect a big game from Parker who will be tough for Spain to stop with their guards.
B2 Brazil (4-1) vs. A3 Argentina (3-2) – 3:00 p.m. EST
Brazil didn’t want to lose as bad as Spain did and now draws Argentina and possibly the U.S. if they win here. Brazil has a little more size than Argentina and a great backcourt in Marcelinho Huertas and Leandro Barbosa. Argentina will have the best player on the floor and maybe the second best in Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola. Argentina has been less consistent than usual in these Olympics but expect them to turn it on a little more now that we’re in the medal round. The edge goes to Argentina here in a close one.
A1 USA (5-0) vs. B4 Australia (3-2) – 5:15 p.m. EST
Team USA should have no trouble disposing of Australia here, who is probably the weakest team that advanced to the medal round. They will be a pesky opponent though that won’t back down led by their point guard Mills. They haven’t showed enough in pool play to be taken seriously against the U.S. Team USA has been lax of late but finally got their act together in the second half of their last game vs. Argentina. They really turned up the defense and looked like the gold medal favorites they should be. The tough tests will resume for Team USA after they beat Australia.
Semifinals – Friday, Aug. 10
Winner of France/Spain vs. Winner of Russia/Lithuania – 12:00 p.m. EST
Winner of Brazil/Argentina vs. Winner of USA/Australia – 4:00 p.m. EST
Finals – Sunday, Aug. 12
Bronze Medal Game – 3:00 a.m. EST
Gold Medal Game – 10:00 a.m. EST