Olympic Basketball 2012: Countries in Danger Early in Tournament
The men's Olympic basketball tournament has only had one day of games, but certain nations find themselves in danger. Team USA and Spain opened up strong with big victories against France and China respectively.
Just one game into the tournament, the rest of group play is starting to take shape. Team USA will likely finish atop Group A with France and Argentina competing for second. Lithuania will most likely to finish fourth, with Tunisia and Nigeria being eliminated.
In Group B, Spain is the favorite to finish at the top. Group B has more competition throughout, as China, Brazil and Russia all looked strong in their opening games, but Australia and Great Britain are formidable opponents.
Tunisia was never likely to advance, but they are in danger of leaving the tournament without a win. They had their best chance against Nigeria in the opening game, but lost 60-56.
Up next for the Tunisians is the tournament favorite Team USA. As one of the worst teams in the tournament, Tunisia doesn't stand much of a chance against the potent American squad. Following the United States, Tunisia plays Argentina and France in two more games; the Tunisians will be heavy underdogs.
They will likely get their last chance at a victory against Lithuania in what should be the team's last game of the tournament.
Lithuania is in serious trouble after losing to Argentina 102-79. They looked completely outmatched against Argentina and fell more and more out of contention with every minute. They hung around through the first quarter, but the second quarter onward was all Argentina.
Nigeria and Tunisia are the two likely teams that will be eliminated after the group round. Lithuania should still advance to the quarterfinals, but unless they can take down either France or Team USA, they are likely to finish in the fourth spot. The team in the final spot in Group A will have a matchup with gold medal contender Spain.
Lithuania needs to beat Nigeria on July 31st and then continue that momentum into their Aug. second matchup against France.
When Great Britain plays their second game of the tournament, they are likely to still have nightmares of Andrei Kirilenko. Recently signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves after time away from the NBA, Kirilenko dominated the Brits for 35 points and shot 14 for 17 on the way to a 95-75 Russian win.
Great Britain faces what could be an even tougher task in their second game against Brazil. Leandro Barbosa will likely be the attacking nightmare that Kirilenko was against Great Britain.
If Great Britain loses to Brazil, they face an uphill climb trying to advance. They would still have tough games against not only Spain and China but also against an Australian team that played Brazil tightly.
The Australians played a valiant game against Brazil in their opener, but they will need results if they intend on advancing past the group stage. The plays of Patty Mills were bright as he finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.
Spain and China are beatable, but Australia would need an incredible game to beat one of the two. Russia would seem to have a more likely chance at an upset, but they have to figure out how to stop a rejuvenated Andrei Kirilenko.
They do have a winnable game, against Great Britain on Aug. fourth. Australia needs a win in this game and in likely one of the others in order to advance. Even if they sneak in as the fourth seed, they would face the nightmare U.S. team.