Olympic Basketball Bracket 2012: Current Standings in Gold Medal Hunt
Entering the sixth day of Olympic competition in London, the men's and women's basketball brackets are gradually taking shape.
All teams are guaranteed several more appearances before group play concludes. It's becoming increasingly apparent, though, that only certain countries are legitimate contenders for the gold medal.
Let's begin with the guys.
Which country has the best chance of upsetting the U.S. men in group play?
The United States, the lone undefeated team remaining in Group A, has cruised to easy victories over France and Tunisia. Neither Kobe Bryant nor LeBron James (both 7 PPG) have taken many shots, but the team has excelled. Coach Mike Krzyzewski's adoption of the Princeton offense is producing more than 100 points per game.
Despite suffering a loss already, Argentina, led by NBA veterans Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola, has emerged as the next best threat in the group.
France, Lithuania and Nigeria have also filled their respective win columns. From the site of Tunisian players chasing down Americans for autographs, I'd say they're just glad to have qualified.
Spain was expected to dominate Group B. However, Brazil and Russia have also maintained spotless records. It still seems that every opponent will be at a size disadvantage against the second-ranked Spanish and their frontcourt of Serge Ibaka and the Gasol brothers.
Host nation Great Britain is represented on the hardwood in the Summer Games for the first time since 1948. Hopefully, the home fans can find something to cheer about.
Thus far, five of 14 men's matchups have been decided by single digits.
Which country has the better chance of upsetting the U.S. women in group play?
The lead story with the gentler gender is no different—Team USA is a heavy favorite. It took more than three quarters for the American women to shake free of Croatia in the opener, but don't count on them starting so slowly again.
Center Candace Parker recorded double-doubles in each of the first two contests. Angel McCoughtry leads the United States in scoring (13.7 PPG).
Three-win China has punched its ticket to the quarterfinals, too. Barring shocking collapses, Turkey and the Czech Republic will also be advancing.
Group B's scariest teams include Australia and Russia. The Opals were recently upset by France in this tournament's only overtime period. Liz Cambage will be the key to their success going forward.
Unfortunately, the British women have struggled as much as the men. I'll be rooting for them until the final buzzer.
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