2012 Olympic Men's Basketball: Odds on Every Team to Win Gold, Silver and Bronze
Now that the teams that have qualified for the Olympics have been split into two groups, it's time to start thinking about each team's chances of winning a gold, silver or bronze medal.
Here's how the teams were divided:
*Note: Three spots are still open for teams who will qualify during the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament
1. Qualified 1
5. Qualified 2
2. Great Britain
5. Qualified 3
At first glance, Group A is clearly the tougher of the two. Three of the top four teams in the tournament so far are from that group.
These Olympics will be the first games Tunisia has ever competed in.
They were able to win the Africa Championship for the first time last year, but they will soon realize the Olympic competition is on another level.
Not only do they not have the talent to compete for a medal, but they most likely won't even win a single game.
Without Yao Ming, this is not the same China team that has made it to the quarterfinals the past two Olympics.
They still have one current NBA player, Yi Jianlian, and one former NBA player, Zhizhi Wang, but they won't be enough to help China win multiple games in the preliminary round.
Even though they won't win many games, Yi is my sleeper pick to be one of the leading scorers for the tournament.
Great Britain was very fortunate they were placed in Group B and not A.
This team is playing in only their second Olympics ever and their first in over 60 years. They still may surprise people and make it to the quarterfinals anyway since their group isn't that strong.
Luol Deng will need to have the tournament of his life for Great Britain to make this run. I believe he will build on the All-Star season he had with the Bulls this year to do just that.
The Australian team has only finished in seventh and ninth the past two Olympics and now will be heading into this year's games without their best player, Andrew Bogut.
The team instead will be led by point guard Patty Mills, who has averaged almost 15 points per game with Australia since 2009.
The duo of Mills and Bogut could have made a run for a medal, but Mills just won't be able to win enough games by himself.
Now we're getting to the teams that would be worth putting your money on to win a medal.
Brazil hasn't been in the Olympics since 1996, but they do have 13 appearances in the team's history.
This team has an abundance of big men who are currently playing in the NBA: Nene, Anderson Varejao and Tiago Splitter.
They should easily make it out of the preliminary round of the weaker Group B and then should be the favorite to win their next game to advance to the medal round.
Only four of the six teams in Group A have been announced so far. Three of them are loaded with NBA talent and should be in the running to earn a medal.
Argentina is the only team other than the U.S.A. to win a gold medal since 1992. Fortunately, all of the leaders on the team now are the same players who were the leaders when the team won the gold back in 2004.
Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola are experienced enough to defeat any team, but definitely have a tough road ahead of them to earn another medal.
France will most certainly be playing in the medal rounds because their point guard and leader, Tony Parker, is playing out of his mind right now.
This will also be his first Olympics, so you know he will be excited to finally get his chance to win a gold medal for his country.
If Joakim Noah can own the paint for France, this duo might surprise some teams and sneak into the finals for a rematch with team U.S.A.
Spain is the only team that poses any real threat to win the gold, even though their odds still aren't that good.
With Dwight Howard expected to miss the Olympics for team U.S.A., Spain might actually have the best group of big men in the tournament.
The problem is their guards are way too slow to match up with the American guards.
I expect Spain to defeat every team in this tournament easily, other than the U.S.A., earning them a silver medal.
Team U.S.A. should be disappointed with anything less than a gold medal.
They are by far the most athletic and talented team in the tournament and no team is capable of defeating them when they are playing at their best.
There are only a handful of players on each of the other teams who would even make the U.S.A. roster given the opportunity.
Bet the house on Team U.S.A. to take home the gold!