Olympic Basketball Schedule 2012: Ranking Best Matchups Left in Group Play

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IAugust 2, 2012

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JULY 22: LeBron James #6 of the US Men's Senior National Team drives to the basket against Facundo Campazzo #7 of the Argentina Men's Senior National Team during a Pre-Olympic Men's Exhibition Game between USA and Argentina at Palau Sant Jordi, on July 22, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Men's basketball at the London Olympic has seen it's share of exciting moments, but the best is yet to come. 

The best nations will meet late in group stage matchups, in games that will likely decide who the favorites are in the medal chase. 

Here are the most intriguing match ups remaining in group play:


Russia vs. Spain

Two of the powerhouses in Group B will meet in a pivotal matchup on August 4th. Both Russia and Spain are undefeated two games into the tournament, so they are almost guaranteed to advance to the knockout stage. 

Russia, led by sharpshooter Andrei Kirilenko and a slew of other impressive forwards, have steamrolled competition so far. They beat China and Great Britain by a combined 39 points. 

Spain, the No. 2 nation in the FIBA World Rankings, have also claimed two double-digit wins against Australia and China. 

The Spanish are led by their formidable combination of big men, such as the Gasol brothers, and guards Juan Carlos Navarro and Victor Claver. 

This matchup could decide the winner of Group B, and it will be interesting to see how both nations perform against top-notch competition. 


USA vs. Argentina

The United States and Argentina are widely regarded as the two best teams in Group A, despite the latter's surprising loss to France. 

Team USA are largely considered the heavy favorite to capture gold in London. They are led by a boatload of NBA All-Stars, including defending MVP LeBron James and reigning scoring champion Kevin Durant. 

Argentina are a different story. They are not the most athletic team in the world, but they have a ton of experience and they make the most of every possession. The Argentinians are led by Spurs star shooting guard Manu Ginobili and veteran Luis Scola. 

It will be interesting how the two teams match up on August 6th. The game could decide which team wins Group A.


Spain vs. Brazil

Spain have another tough challenge in Group B in Brazil.

The Brazilians have squeaked out two unimpressive wins over Australia and Great Britain thus far, but on pure potential, they are most likely to defeat the Spanish.

Brazil can match Spain's outstanding big men, as they boast NBA veterans Nene and Anderson Varejao to help control the inside.

The two nations have similar strengths and weaknesses, so it will be riveting to see how they matchup on August 6th.

Brazil and Spain is the must-watch game of the group stage.