NBC Olympic 2012 Schedule: Preview for Every Day 12 Men's Basketball Game
Group play is over in the 2012 Olympics men's basketball tournament, with the four quarterfinal games taking place on Day 12 of the Summer Games. Only four teams will be left at the end of the day, with each victor moving one step closer to a gold medal. Here is your preview for all four quarterfinal games.
Russia vs. Lithuania
Lithuania made its mark in the group stage for coming just six points short of defeating the United States, and this team will need to find that same fire in order to defeat Russia.
The Russians defeated fellow quarterfinalist Spain and embarrassed Great Britain and China in group play. Not too shabby of an Olympic Games so far for the team lead by Andrei Kirilenko. Lithuania, on the other hand, has failed to win against top competition like the U.S., Argentina and France.
Kirilenko had himself a 35-point game against the Brits earlier in the tournament and 13 in the tough 82-80 loss to Australia. If he can record a total somewhere in between those two numbers, Russia should move on to the semis.
Prediction: Russia 77 Lithuania 72
France vs. Spain
If it wasn't for the dominant presence of Team USA, France might be the most talked-about men's basketball team in London right now. The French have defeated both Lithuania and Argentina by double digits in group play, and Tony Parker has been lights out for his team so far.
Parker had 27 and 17 points, respectively, against Lithuania and Argentina, with another 22-point contest against Tunisia. The French have worked incredibly well together through out this tournament, and have looked imposing in each bout with the exception of their blowout loss to the United States.
Spain, on the other hand, hasn't quite lived up to its gold medal game expectations. The Spaniards lost against two of their more difficult group play opponents in Russia and Brazil.
Both contests were decided by just six points or less, but it doesn't instill confidence having two prior losses against teams that are still in the hunt at this point in the tournament. Spain has the talent it takes to win this quarterfinal game, but it doesn't have the confidence right now.
Prediction: France 85 Spain 78
Brazil vs. Argentina
If you had told me Brazil would have more victories in group play than Argentina before the Summer Games began, I wouldn't have believed you for a second.
That is the case, however, as Brazil enters with just one loss to Russia, whereas Argentina has two against the United States and France.
Manu Ginobili leads his Argentinian squad against San Antonio Spurs teammate Tiago Splitter and Brazil.
Splitter has been a near-lock for double-digit points for his team through out the Olympics and his decade of experience playing in the Spanish league gives him an advantage over his opposition.
Ginobili is no stranger to the international basketball scene, spending his early days in the Euroleague, but Splitter has played on that scene more recently than his NBA teammate or Luis Scola.
It's not the most likely scenario, but the Brazilians can pull this off if they can keep Ginobili in check while getting the ball inside the paint to Splitter. Brazil's big man is as tall or taller than the two centers on Argentina's roster, which could be trouble for the latter unit in this game.
Prediction: Brazil 84 Argentina 83
United States vs. Australia
While some readers may have wanted to see this matchup discussed a little earlier on in this piece, this contest poses the least chance to see an upset.
Australia is arguably the weakest team left competing in the tournament, with two straight losses against Brazil and Spain to start the Summer Games.
While it should be noted the Australians ran the table afterward and haven't lost since July 31, only one of their last three victories came over an opponent still in the tournament.
After watching the Americans demolish a French team that could take home the gold if not for them and their historic game against Nigeria, it's hard to see any other team defeating them.
Team USA has the top five players in this tournament on their starting roster while Australia has just one NBA player on its entire squad.
The United States is going to win big as it has all tournament long (with the exception of the Lithuania game) and everyone who has been watching knows that.
Prediction: United States 105 Australia 75
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