Argentina will take on Brazil today at 3:00 p.m. EST in the third quarterfinal game of the day. Russia beat Lithuania in the first one and will play Spain, who beat France in the second one, in their semifinal.
The winner of Argentina-Brazil will go on to play the winner of USA-Australia in the semifinal round on Friday.
Brazil is the 2-seed from Pool B and Argentina the 3-seed from Pool A in this matchup. Brazil lost to Russia in pool play then beat Spain in the final game of pool play in a game that no one wanted to win.
Argentina was upset by France early in pool play and then lost their final game of pool play vs. the U.S.
Each of these two South American teams has a large cast of NBA talent on their rosters. Argentina is led by Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino and Brazil Nene, Anderson Varejao and Leandro Barbosa.
Argentina has had more success in international play in the past, winning the gold medal in the 2004 Olympics and beating the United States in the process. Brazil is yet to have that kind of success but this may be their year as they are as talented as ever.
Both teams play a similar style reliant on the pick-and-roll game to get most of their offense. Brazil’s point guard Marcelinho Huertas is a magician in the pick-and-roll and combined with Brazil’s size advantage should have a nice game today.
Brazil will have trouble matching up with Ginobili and Argentina is the better outside shooting team, which they will need to rely on to win this one.
Scola has been a monster in the Olympics so far averaging 20.2 points per game to lead Argentina and he will need to be big vs. Brazil. Brazil has the bodies to contend with Scola but he is good enough to get them in some foul trouble and still have a big game.
If Argentina can get hot from deep it will open up the lane some where they can hurt Brazil with their great interior passing and Scola’s ability to finish with crafty shots in the paint.
Brazil would also like to shoot well from three and Barbosa is the most likely man to do it. He is shooting just .348 percent from three so far in the Olympics but is capable of a much better night at any time.
This game will be as good as any we’ve seen in the Olympics so far. It’s a rivalry with two teams who are playing pretty good basketball right now.
The edge in experience may go to Argentina but Brazil is more than capable of winning this one and it should go down to the wire.