James Harden will get his best shot at highlight reel plays today....
All games are on NBC Basketball Channel, or streamed on NBCOlympics.com.
Team USA vs. Tunisia
Time: 4:15 PM CST
It's hard putting an angle or spin on this game, since it's pretty much the best team in the tournament versus the worst team in the tournament. Aside from Mehdi Jamel Hafsi, who plays in France, the entire Tunisian team plays in the Arab world, and aren't used to the level of competition they'll get internationally. They almost made a fourth quarter comeback against Nigeria yesterday, but Nigeria has had an offensive production problem before, so I'm not reading too much into their success. Admittedly, they are more powerful than the 2010 incarnation that went 0-5 in the World Championship, having more experience playing together and grabbing a few new players. But while that improvement might be enough to win the Afrobasket, it certainly isn't enough to beat Team USA.
On the plus side, we get to see Radouhane Slimane again.
Spain vs. Australia
Time: 11:30 AM CST
Spain will get what is probably their second least challenging test in Group B against Australia today. Australia presented somewhat of a challenge against Spain in the warmup games prior to the tournament by running the break and having their big men shoot, but Marc Gasol sat out that game, and Spain still won fairly easily. Australia is basically the most three-happy team in the tournament, and will go as far as their shooting takes them. Their roster is filled with marksmen, but they don't have any post scoring, and they rely a lot on Patty Mills and Joe Ingles to charge the offense. They also don't have a real distributing point guard, which can limit their offenses potential.
Spain will go with what worked against China. Their big men will get a chance to shoot from the mid-range, while their smaller guys should be able to force Australia into a few too many turnovers. the game should be pretty well done by the late third or early fourth.
France vs. Argentina
Time: 4:00 PM CST
This game is pretty much for second place in Group A (unless Team USA gets upset), and it should be a doozy. France is a very athletic and youngish team, while Argentina is old and experienced. France works from the perimeter in, while Argentina works from the post out. Argentina is arguably a slightly better team, but they're prone to slow starts and inconsistent play. France is arguably more talented, but they're adjusting to the loss of Joakim Noah. The game could be a blowout or a close game, but anybody who tells you that they have the winner nailed down is a liar.
Other Games: China vs. Russia, 3 AM CST: An easy win for Russia, as long as they can get to the line and shoot consistently. Lithuania vs. Nigeria, 8:30 AM CST: Nigeria upset Lithuania in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, but they looked weak in a win over Tunisia. Lithuania's coming off of a disastrous loss to Argentina. Great Britain vs. Brazil, 10:45 AM CST: Can Britain's big three overcome a real team? We'll find out here.
What do you think of today's games? Let us know by posting a comment!