Olympic Basketball 2012: Schedule and Prediction for Quarterfinals

Michael DulkaContributor IAugust 7, 2012

Olympic Basketball 2012: Schedule and Prediction for Quarterfinals

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    The quarterfinals for the men's Olympic basketball tournament have been set and are scheduled to take place on August 8th. The top four teams from each group have advanced and been matched up with the opposite seeds from the other group.

     

    First Side of the Bracket

    Brazil vs. Argentina

    Australia vs. United States

     

    Second Side of the Bracket

    Spain vs. France

    Lithuania vs. Russia

     

    The semifinals will played on August 10th, while the bronze and gold-medal games will be on August 12th.  

Argentina vs. Brazil

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    How They Got There

    Argentina finished third in Group A with three wins and two losses. It beat Lithuania in its first game of the tournament but lost its second game against France. Two wins against Nigeria and Tunisia got Argentina back on track. The team lost to Team USA in the fourth and final game of the group stage

    Brazil started the tournament strong with two wins against Australia and Great Britain. The team didn't play particularly well against the weaker opponents but did enough to record wins.

    In the third game, they were beat by Russia 75-74 on a game-winning three-pointer with less than five seconds left. They closed the group stage out strong with a big win over China and six-point victory over Spain.

     

    What To Expect 

    Argentina has been solid in the tournament, behind the strong play of Manu Ginobili, but failed to beat a top team in the group. They have been good in stretches, for example, the second half against Tunisia and the first half against the United States. They are capable of beating any team in the tournament, but they need to put a full 40 minutes together. 

    Brazil has been inconsistent in the tournament as well. They have struggled at times offensively but were a last-second three-pointer away from sweeping the group stage. 

    The guard play in this game will likely determine the outcome. Manu Ginobili has played inspired basketball throughout the tournament. Brazil will rely on Leandro Barbosa to try to slow down Ginobili, which is a tough task for the less-than-stellar defensive player.

    If Brazil can slow down Ginobili and allow point guard Marcelinho time to operate, Brazil has a chance. 

     

    Prediction: Argentina 82-74 Brazil

Australia vs. United States

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    How They Got There

    Australia started off the tournament with a four-point loss to Brazil and a two-point loss to Spain in its first two games. Despite the poor start, they finished group play rather strong, with three victories against China, Great Britain and Russia. In the final game, Australia dealt Russia its first loss of the tournament.

    The United States swept the group stage of the tournament. They beat France, Tunisia, Nigeria, Lithuania and Argentina. The Americans have done well to blow out most of their opponents, including beating Nigeria by 83, but were played tough by Lithuania and escaped 99-94.

     

    What to Expect 

    Outside of the United States' huge victory against Nigeria, the team hasn't played very well for a full 40 minutes. They were sluggish at times in every game except for the Nigeria game. Despite that fact, they are still blowing teams out of the water. 

    This game is the most outmatched of the quarterfinals, and Team USA should roll right through Australia to the semis. It's possible that the Australians can hang with the Americans for a while in this game, but by the end, it should be all USA on the scoreboard. 

     

    Prediction: USA 109-73 Australia 

Spain vs. France

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    How They Got There

    Spain finished third in Group B, despite entering the tournament as favorites to win the group. They were billed as the top contender to the United States, but after winning their first three games of the tournament, they lost to Russia and Brazil in the final two games. 

    France finished second in Group A behind the United States, winning four games and losing one. They opened the tournament with a 27-point loss to the U.S. but finished group play with four straight wins, against Argentina, Lithuania, Tunisia and Nigeria. 

     

    What to Expect

    Spain's size has been the dominant talk of the early tournament, but they haven't lived up to the hype. The Gasol brothers have played well at times, but foul trouble has been a problem as well. Serge Ibaka has been underwhelming. If Spain can't get its big men going, they could be in trouble against a talented French team. 

    France will need a great performance from Tony Parker, who has been solid most of the tournament. A big game from Parker alongside Nicolas Batum will give France a chance in this game, but Spain is the definite favorite.

     

    Prediction: Spain 77-71 France  

Lithuania vs. Russia

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    How They Got There

    Lithuania finished fourth in Group A, after losing three games and winning two. It opened the tournament with a loss to Argentina but rebounded with a win against Nigeria.

    Lithuania lost the next two games to France and the United States, surprisingly playing Team USA very tough throughout the game. The team beat Tunisia in the last group game to ensure its spot in the quarterfinals.

    Russia has been the surprise team in the tournament, finishing first in Group B. Spain and Brazil were supposed to be the top teams to beat in the group. and Russia did in fact beat them both.

    Russia opened the tournament with four straight wins, beating Great Britain, China, Brazil, and Spain. They lost to Australia in the final group game.

     

    What to Expect  

    The Russia team has been firing on cylinders, playing great basketball as a team. The team got contributions from a bunch of different players during its hot streak to start the Olympic tournament.

    Four players for Russia have averaged over 10 points per game, Andre Kirilenko (18.2), Aleksey Shved (12), Timofey Mozgov (11.8) and Vitaliy Fridzon (10.8). The core group of players will likely overpower an inferior Lithuanian team. 

    Lithuania has played tough, despite not having the same type of talent the top-tier teams in the tournament do. While Lithuania has played hard, they will be outmatched against a Russian team that looks to be contending for a medal. 

     

    Prediction: Russia 79-65 Lithuania