Out of each six team pool, the four teams with the top record advance to play in the elimination round. In the event of two teams tying, the squad that won the head-to-head contest will move on.
1) USA: Not having to battle Spain is certainly a benefit for the United States and despite the undeniable talent of France and Argentina, Team USA should have little trouble breezing through the opening round.
Their ability to crank up their defense in key moments, force turnovers and simply pile on points makes them a nightmare opponent.
France's versatility and athleticism will offer some problems, as will the size and shooting of Argentina, but America's roster, filled with elite athletes and talented passers, should be able to pick apart any opposing defense.
2) France: France has the talent to beat anyone in the pool that isn't the United States.
They have a pair of talented perimeter scorers in Nic Batum and Tony Parker that can light up a defense and a versatile big man in Boris Diaw that can create mismatch problems and draw opposing bigs out to the perimeter.
Defensively, Kevin Seraphin and Ronny Turiaf are both physical and will have to be aggressive protecting the basket, but Batum's ability to guard multiple positions thanks to his length and lateral quickness will be a huge asset.
France should certainly advance to the medal round.
3) Argentina: Argentina looked very good against the United States in their exhibition game, but I believe the younger, quicker French team will be able to run them off the floor and take them out of their game.
Still, they have scoring from all positions on the court and will take full advantage of the shorter FIBA three-point line with shooters Carlos Delfino and Andre Nocioni who can knock down shots.
The team's offense will thrive with the Ginobili-Scola pick-and-roll and the team should beat Nigeria and Tunisia handily while edging past Lithuania.
4) Lithuania: The team will undoubtedly struggle with the quicker, perimeter-oriented attack of France and the United States and have no answer for Argentina's shooting, but Lithuania should pick up a pair of wins and advance to the medal round.
They have the size to bully the undersized Nigeria in the paint and simply have more talent than Tunisia.
5) Nigeria: Though they will struggle against the four upper-echelon teams, but Nigeria's forward tandem of Aminu and Diogu should net them a win against Tunisia.
6: Tunisia: Making it into the Olympic round of 12 is certainly an accomplishment, but this team does not have the talent to hang in this tough bracket and is unlikely to register a win.