Old Power Rankings: Day 1, Day 2
Teams in GREEN are guaranteed to advance to the tournament stage, teams in RED are eliminated, teams in BLACK are to be determined.
1. Team USA (3-0, Def. France, Tunisia, Nigeria)
Last Ranking: 1
Again, Team USA dominates the power rankings with a convincing victory over Nigeria. The easy part is over though, as they'll have to pass the tough challenges of Lithuania and Argentina if they're to emerge from Group A unscathed.
2. Russia (3-0, Def. Great Britain, China, Brazil)
Last Ranking: 3
Yeah, they needed a miracle three from Aleksey Shved to win against a overrated Brazilian team. But, they did have control of the game most of the time, and most of their problems were offensive, rather than defensive. They still look pretty strong heading into Day 4, but they'll need to find a better way to get the ball in the paint consistently.
3. Spain (3-0, Def. China, Australia, Great Britain)
Last Ranking: 2
Spain didn't look nearly as strong as the United States, struggling against a Great Britain team that's haunted them for a couple of years now. They came out with the win, but the game revealed Spain's true weakness: big men that can stretch the floor with threes. The Gasols are terrific offensively and in the post, but they're too slow-footed to keep up with guys who can shoot from beyond 12 feet, which could spell trouble against the two other undefeated teams.
4. France (2-1, Loss to Team USA, Def. Argentina, Lithuania)
Last Ranking: 4
France is a strong fourth after an impressive win over Lithuania. They managed to shut down Lithuania's strong offense totally in the third quarter, along with using their quicker guards to their full advantage. They're a gimmicky team during some stretches, but how they fare against Argentina will speak for itself.
Below: Rankings 5 to 12!5. Argentina (2-1, Def. Lithuania, Loss to France, Def. Tunsia)
Last Ranking: 5
Can't really fault them for their performance on Day 3, as they thoroughly dominated Tunisia and emptied the bench. How they do against France on Day 5 will be really telling for how good they are.
6. Brazil (2-1, Def. Australia, Great Britain, Loss to Russia)
Last Ranking: 7
Perhaps this team is more legitimate than I previously thought. Even though Game 3 was a loss for them, they strongly challenged Russia for the win, and still have a decent chance at grabbing second place in the group, if they are able to upset Spain. If they can balance their offense as they did and exploit other team's weaknesses, they'll find some level of success in this tournament.
7. Australia (1-2, Loss to Brazil, Spain, Def. China)
Last Ranking: 8
They solidly handled China by using areas they don't normally don't do well at, like rebounding and post scoring. It was also interesting to see them ween themselves off of the three, a shot which is usually their calling card. They haven't beaten a good team yet, but they've still got the potential to pull off an upset.
8. Lithuania (1-2, Loss to Argentina, Def. Nigeria, Loss to France)
Last Ranking: 6
Lithuania looked horrible against France, just as they did against Nigeria. Right now they seemed destined as a lock for fourth in Group B, as a win against Team USA is doubtful, a loss to Tunisia is doubtful, and a win from Nigeria is even more doubtful. But they seem to have no answer for athleticism at this point, and Valanciunas hasn't been the answer for the loss of Robertas Javtokas in the post. They're looking to players like Darius Songaila and Antanas Kavilauskas, but neither has been terribly effective.
9. Great Britain (0-3, Loss to Russia, Brazil, Spain)
Last Ranking: 10
They haven't won, but they have taken Spain to the brink, and nearly pulled off the best win in British basketball history. Of course, they'll have to sweep their remaining games in order to advance. But against Australia and China, it looks like they've still got one final shot at making Britain proud.
10. China (0-3, Loss to Spain, Russia, Australia)
Last Ranking: 9
When you lose to Australia by a huge margin, you know you've hit rock bottom in the Olympic tournament. They'll have to defeat Brazil and Great Britain in order to advance, but at this point, it looks like a pipe dream. The team has no bench, no ball movement, and no ability to rebound despite starting two seven footers in the starting lineup and a 7'3" guy on the bench. Sheesh.
11. Nigeria (1-2, Def. Tunisia, Loss to Lithuania, Team USA)
Until they can play against a serious opponent, no one is going to take this team seriously, no matter what they did to get to this point.
12. Tunisia (0-3, Loss to Nigeria, Team USA, Argentina)
Look at Wikipedia's entry for Tunisian cuisine. Damn, I'm hungry.
Who tops your power rankings? Are my rankings terrible? Let us know and post a comment!