Team USA's Olympic basketball campaign begins Sunday, July 31st, at 9:30 a.m. EDT when it takes on France. The games continue every other day through the completion of group play on Monday, Aug. 6th, at 5:15 p.m. EDT.
The quarterfinals will be played on Wednesday, Aug. 8th; the semifinals on Friday, Aug. 10th; and the bronze- and gold- medal games will be played on Sunday, Aug. 12th.
Team USA gets its Olympic campaign started against San Antonio Spurs' point guard Tony Parker and France. The French enter the tournament with medal hopes, but face a likely speed-bump against the Americans. With a successful beginning to its tournament, France will likely find itself fighting for second place in Group A with Argentina.
The French team has a good amount of NBA talent with Nicolas Batum (Portland Trailblazers), Boris Diaw (San Antonio), Ronny Turiaf (Los Angeles Clippers), Nando De Colo (San Antonio), and Kevin Seraphin (Washington Wizards). While the team has more NBA players than other teams in the tournament, Parker would prove to be the only player who could compete successfully against the USA roster.
Tunisia is making its Olympic debut in Men's Basketball. The team features no NBA players, and is expected to go winless. Despite its limited experience, Tunisia is coming off a 2011 African Championship victory.
This game is little more than a formality for Team USA. Against Tunisia, all the Americans really have to do is show up. The Tunisian squad is fairly small, but its center, Salah Mejri, stands 7'1".
Another team making its Olympic debut, Nigeria faces an almost impossible task against the USA. The squad features New Orleans Hornets' Al-Farouq Aminu, and Ike Diogu, who played college basketball with Team USA and Oklahoma City Thunder's James Harden. Diogu was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 2005, but left the NBA this year to play in China.
Team USA should also roll in this game. This game should be over shortly after it begins, as the Nigerians just don't have the athleticism, experience, or skill to match Team USA.
Team USA takes on the Toronto Raptors' pair of Olympians, Linas Kleiza and Jonas Valanciunas, and Lithuania in their fourth Olympic game. According to FIBA rankings, Lithuania enters the tournament ranked fourth. It lost in the bronze- medal game four years ago in Beijing, but will look to advance towards another shot at a medal.
Team USA shouldn't have a problem with Lithuania, though it is significantly better than the USA's earlier opponents. Expect Lithuania to compete early, but the USA to pull away shortly thereafter.
The USA completes its group play against a formidable opponent in Argentina. The team features four NBA players, including Manu Ginobili (San Antonio), Carlos Delfino (free agent), Luis Scola (Phoenix Suns) and future New York Knicks' point guard Pablo Prigioni. The team is athletic and has strong leadership, but far from enough to really give the USA enough problems to be worrisome.
Team USA should benefit from playing a decent opponent in its last game before the knockout round. Argentina shouldn't be taken lightly, though, as it lost to the Americans, 86-80, in an exhibition game. But the USA is definitely the favorite.