1. Team USA (Group B) vs. 2. Russia (Group D)
Time: 10:00 AM Central Standard Time
Analysis/Prediction: Aside from Brazil, this is probably the toughest matchup Team USA has faced so far. But, Russia is probably the weakest team in the Quarter-Finals, so it's not like Team USA is in huge danger. Nevertheless, they should be careful. The player that will cause fits down low for them is known as Timofey Mosgov, who has scored the most points for Russia and averaged a block a game. Then, they'll have to watch out for Sasha Kaun, who is more of a double double guy, but also a guy who can occasionally stretch the defense and shoot a three. I could easily see Tyson Chandler getting minutes this morning. And on the perimeter they'll have to watch for Sergey Monya, who is a spot-shooting fiend. And keep in mind, they still haven't played former Chicago Bull Viktor Khryapa, who is considered the best player on the team, and he could escalate the team to another level. Now okay, I know I've just gone on about how good Russia is, and, for the record, I do think they have a shot at winning. But Team USA will, most likely, win this matchup. Russia has had problems against quicker teams in the past, as they lost by only 6 Points to the Ivory Coast, and were absolutely burned by Sun Yue in the China game. So, as long as Team USA can keep the pace quick, this should be an easy win. But, needless to say, this is a game of pace, so if Russia turns this into a game of half-court sets, then Team USA may very well play themselves into a loss.
1. Lithuania (Group D) vs. 2. Argentina (Group A)
Time: 1:00 PM Central Standard Time
Analysis/Prediction: In my opinion, this is the weakest of the Quarter-Final matchups, but I might be a bit bias, since I'm angry at Argentina for beating out Brazil, my pick to win it all, in the Round of 16. Argentina is a undertalented team, but they are one that uses the talent that they do have well. Luis Scola has been an absolute monster for them in the paint, averaging 30.3 Points for them, and scoring 37 in their victory against Brazil. Carlos Delfino does a good job for himself as well, averaging 17.8 Points, 5 Rebounds, and 3 Assists. Pablo Prigioni is the orchestrator of the team, averaging a whopping 6.7 Assists, and Fabricio Oberto, who has only played in the last two games, but could go off for a good score at any time. Meanwhile, Lithuania is similar in that they have their star in Linas Kleiza (19.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG), but different in that the rest of their team consists of very similar players, who, for the most part, do the same thing. It will be interesting to see the styles clash, but I think that Lithuania is a bit over-rated, so Argentina will be able to pull out a win, especially with their ability to score inside. It will be a close one, though.
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