With the knockout stage set to begin on Wednesday. What are your predictions? Which countries will take home medals?
USA (A1) vs. Argentina (B4)
Spain (B2) vs. France (A3)
Croatia (B1) vs. Serbia (A4)
Australia (A2) vs. Lithuania (B3)
AC: Even though we’ve seen some close calls, there is still no reason to believe that the Americans don’t bring home the gold medal. They have the most talented roster by far, and even if their defense has been suspect at times, the tools are certainly all there to bring home a gold medal.
As far as the other countries go, Australia has looked like the most complete team of the tournament, demolishing France and giving the US a run for their money. They also have the luxury of not having to face the US until a potential championship game by virtue of their second place pool finish. They’ll have their work cut out for them against Lithuania and Croatia, but if what we’ve seen so far remains true, Delly and the Aussies have a good shot at finishing with silver.
A bronze medal match would then come down to Croatia against either France or Spain, and although Croatia may have looked more impressive thus far, the experience of Spain tells me they would have the edge should such a match arise.
JT: There’s been nothing reassuring about Team USA’s performance in their last few games in the group stage, but I still do think they come away with the gold medal, even if it looks uninspiring and unimpressive. I’m not as confident that Australia will take home the silver medal like I thought a little under a week ago and their challengers are hardly a cakewalk either, but they have certainly played like the most complete team so far in the tournament. With that said, I think Australia eventually faces the U.S. in the gold medal game and I think it’s a toss up between Spain and Serbia for the bronze medal game.
AM: Unless the US figure something out in a pretty big way, I don’t think there’s any reason to have real confidence in their upcoming results. They’re going to be almost assured of stern tests from their opponents from now on in, and unless they can take it to a level beyond what they’ve shown up to now, eventually it’s going to be tough for them to keep pulling through these close games.
I really like Australia’s chances as they seem to be one of the most united and passionate teams in the tournament. A USA and Australia final seems most likely at present, and in that scenario right now I think it would be a very close game. Maybe too close to call. To get there though, the US will have to overcome some savvy veteran teams.
TW: The group stage has shown that Team USA is far from invincible, however they’re still the obvious favorite.
The Boomers have a tough road ahead with Lithuania and possibly Croatia/Serbia, but they’ve played some really high-quality basketball so far and are extremely well coached with a ton of team chemistry. Why does the run have to end now?
For the record: Words can’t describe how nervous I am for the Quarter-Final/all future games in this tournament. Australia came into Rio as an outside chance at winning their first Olympic Men’s Basketball medal with the most talented national team ever assembled, now we’re so close to something really special.
My predictions: Australia is taking home Gold, over Team USA in what will be the greatest moment in Australian sporting history.
As for Bronze, the field is wide open, but I think Spain and Croatia will battle it out.