A3 (France) defeats B2 (Brazil), 92-81
Brazil got the short end of the stick in this draw, facing a team that will have it's number from start to finish.
France doesn't have as much height or talent in their front court, but their guards' ability to score and create their own shot will create problems for the porous Brazilian defense. Nando de Colo in particular could have a big day with Leandro Barbosa focusing primarily on Tony Parker.
Team Brazil relies on its offense to simply outscore the opposition, but they won't be able to do that against France. Not only do the French have too much experience and defensive polish, but France's ability to slow down the pace on offense will keep Brazil out of the transition game early and often. It will be an interesting game, but the world's 12th-best team will have the edge over No. 13.
A1 (USA) defeats B4 (Russia), 85-62
This game won't even be close. It's as easy as that.
Russia can't defend all of Team USA's offensive stars, especially the spattering of small forwards that includes 'Melo, LeBron and KD. Kirilenko can only be in one place at one time, which won't be enough for the Russians.
Expect the Americans to get their points early and often, pulling away before the Russians even get a chance to get comfortable. This game will give the benchwarmers like James Harden and Anthony Davis, who could be starters at the 2016 Brazil Olympics, a chance to get some serious game action in a game that matters.
A2 (Argentina) defeats B3 (Australia), 80-73
The new de facto home team with GBR out of the equation, I expect Australia to give Argentina quite the run for their money.
If Argentina can't set up the half-court set with efficiency against the Aussie's press defense, things could get ugly early and the final score could be something like 52-50. I shudder at the thought.
Argentina usually plays to the competition, and competition is exactly what they're going to get down low from forward Matthew Nielsen. If Luis Scola can't work the up-and-under or any of his regular low-post moves on offense, the Argentines will have to rely too heavily on guards Manu Ginobili and Carlos Delfino.
On the flip side, if Patty Mills doesn't get things going in a hurry, Australia's already poor offense could be quite stagnant. They won't be able to get open and they'll start "chucking and praying" midway through the second quarter.
All in all, Argentina's star power will be the difference. In crunch time, Ginobili has the offense that Australia doesn't. They don't have anyone to count on late in the game, which will force them into tough situations defensively as Argentina pushes the transition game.
B1 (Spain) defeats A4 (Lithuania), 89-71
And Group B has a winner! The Spaniards avoid an 0-4 run for teams from Group B by eliminating Jonas Valunciunas and the Lithuanians.
But it won't be easy, to say the least. Group B only has one team in the top five, while Group A has three, including Lithuania. The depth disparity is shocking.
Valanciunas and Kleiza will make things miserable for the Gasol's down low, but the game will be won at the point guard position where Jose Calderon faces off with veteran guard Sarunas Jasikevicius. Calderon and Jasikevicius are both great floor generals, but who can find their teammates in a more efficient manner will lead their team to victory.
Lithuania has had trouble with athletic teams, and Spain's inability to run the floor could make things difficult if the game is still close late. But with Calderon and Fernandez patrolling the backcourt, I see Spain's offensive excellence being too much for Lithuania to handle.