The Olympic Basketball Tournament's leading scorer will look to take down Team USA....and blind us all with this blurry photo.
After a wild Day 4 in which fates were decided, Day 5 will mostly be jockeying for position in the upcoming tournament. The only team with any mathematical shot at climbing out of elimination is Nigeria, and they'd have to overcome the 100+ point deficit they racked up or hope Tunisia beats France in order to do so. Yeah, it's not likely.
Still, there's some intriguing matchups set for today. Brazil will fight Spain for second place in Group B, and Australia will fight Russia for a potential move to third place in the group. The rest of the games are foregone conclusions or meaningless, but our beloved Team USA will fight Argentina for national pride.
All games are on
Team USA vs. Argentina
4:15 PM CST
Argentina mounted a fourth quarter comeback against Team USA in a preliminary, and stopped the comeback due to the pointless nature of the game. But Argentina is still fighting to secure second place, so the game still means something to them. Argentina is a well rounded team, able to score from both inside and out, but they face problems concerning age and depth. As we all know, Argentina is a very old team and, as such, can struggle out the gate or down the stretch. Their bench has been with them for a long time, but the team is still hesitant to trust them outside very limited roles in limited minutes. This means that Team USA will basically try to run them off the floor, and could be rather successful at it if they can prevent the ball from getting into the hands of Luis Scola. Argentina should be able to handle themselves in the back court, that is, if Pablo Prigioni has recovered from a nasty kidney stone that forced him to sit out the game against Tunisia.
Spain vs. Brazil
2:00 PM CST
Oddly enough, Spain will be fighting for second place in Group B, after being much ballyhooed as the leading challengers of Team USA. But even though they lost to Russia, I doubt Brazil will be taking them lightly. In the game against Russia, they showed that they couldn't defend very well against the break or defend smaller guys who can shoot in big positions, but Brazil can exploit neither of these things. They will, however, try to use crafty passing and quickness in the half-court to get around Spain, and they will probably hope that Nene and Splitter can find ways to score offensively, but I really doubt that their style of offense will work well against Spain. They're going to get killed on the boards, and they're going to fire up too many threes. But threes were a problem for Spain against Russia as well, so we'll see.
Below: The Rest of Today's Matchups!
Russia vs. Australia
3:00 AM CST
Australia gets a crack at Group B's leaders. Given that Russia's position at the top of Group B is secure, I doubt they'll waste too much energy here, so Australia could potentially upset here. As long as they keep Russia on the break, they have the athleticism to beat them. They're also surprisingly good at rebounding the ball, so they'll be able to compete with Russia there too. Really, it all comes down to how well they're able to shoot.
Lithuania vs. Tunisia
5:15 AM CST
After a strong showing against Team USA, Lithuania now has to turn around and face the worst team in the tournament. Tunisia would have a chance of upsetting them, but they don't really....complete games.
France vs. Nigeria
8:30 AM CST
Lots of athleticism to be seen in this game, but Nigeria doesn't stand a chance. Think Team USA vs. France, except with France in the oppressor's role. Nigeria has no point guard, and I don't think Diogu and Aminu have the tools to hold it down for them in the post. As long as Skinn and Dagunduro keep jacking up shots, Nigeria will have to live and die by the jumpers.
Great Britain vs. China
10:45 AM CST
The game between the last two Olympic hosts, and this time it's purely for national pride. Both teams don't want to finish winless, and Team GB especially doesn't want to do so, as they're playing on their home court. Look for lots of play in the paint and epic battles between guys who have had to (unsuccessfully) carry their team through the Olympics. But, you've gotta say that the home team wins. This is the Olympics, after all.
What do you think of today's games? Let us know by posting a comment!