The Spanish men’s basketball team didn’t have it the easy way, but they finally booked a spot in the Rio 2016 Men’s Basketball Quarterfinal by seeing off the then-undefeated Lithuania by 50 points, and then dispatching the pesky Argentina team in a classy performance on Monday night. Spain will be joining obvious favorites Team USA, winners of the last two Gold Medals, along with Australia, Lithuania, France, Argentina, Croatia and Serbia in the quarterfinals that are set to take place on Wednesday, August 17. Here is a brief look at the quarterfinals schedule, complete with free olympic basketball picks for the games.
Let’s Take a Look at the Rio 2016’s Men’s Basketball Quaterfinals Betting Pick
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) August 16, 2016
Australia vs. Lithuania (10 a.m. ET)
Winning Pick: Australia
Australia has arguably been the second-best team in the tournament so far, going 4-1 in the Group Stages, with all the wins coming by double digits. The only blemish in their run was the 98-88 loss to Team USA; a game that saw Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving step up late to pull away from the spiritedly-fighting Australians. Lithuania, meanwhile, started the tournament decently on a three-game winning streak, before falling to Spain in a humiliating 109-59 loss, and then suffering a 9-point loss to Croatia in the final group meeting to finish with a 3-2 record. Given a choice between these two teams, Australia should be the easy winning pick. Lithuania has some decent talents like future Knicks forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas, but this is a team that failed to measure up to its two quality opponents in Spain and Croatia, so things shouldn’t be that different against the very balanced and strong Australians.
Spain vs. France (1:30 p.m. ET)
Winning Pick: Spain
Spain and France were considered as two of the biggest threats to USA’s Gold ambitions prior to the start of the Olympics, so the fact that they will be playing against each other must be a welcomed relief for the Americans. Spain, as was glimpsed in the intro, struggled at the start and went just 1-2 in its first three games, before roaring back with the blowout win over Lithuania and the rather comfortable win over Argentina that saw them lead the game from nearly start to finish. Like Spain, France finished its group with a 3-2 record, though their CV probably looks better on paper, given they lost to USA by just three points (100-97) despite not having Tony Parker in that game. The other defeat came against Australia, and that was early in their opening game of the Tournament when they were probably not that well prepared for the Australian onslaught. Whatever happens on Wednesday, this game between Spain and France should be the biggest highlight of the quarterfinals, with Pau Gasol leading the Spanish side against Parker and the French. With players like Rudy Gobert making life difficult for Gasol and gang, the Spanish side will certainly have their work cut out. Even so, Spain—the two-time silver medalists in the last two Olympics—has seemingly picked momentum at the right time, with both the offense and defense gelling efficiently, and that should predictably prove to be the difference in a highly-likely tight contest against France.
United States vs. Argentina (5:45 p.m. ET)
Winning Pick: United States
From Irving to Melo, Deandre Jordan to Draymond Green, the Americans easily have the most star-studded roster. Add that to Klay Thompson heating up from beyond the arc (like he did against France) and winningest Coach Mike Kryzewski patrolling the sidelines, there is really no excuse for USA to underperform. Yet in spite of all that, and the fact that USA was the only team to finish the group games with a flawless 5-0 record, the USA team has been far from indomitable, as was largely expected to be the case prior to the Olympics. The Americans nervily beat France 100-97 in their final group game, and that three-point win came two days after another lucky three-point victory over Serbia, and four days after an unconvincing 10-point win over Australia in which the USA team trailed in the fourth quarter. At this rate, you can’t help but feel that a loss could be in the offing for the Americans sooner rather than later, and given a chance, the Argentines could very well be the team to do so. Argentina’s veterans in Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola don’t need an introduction and star point guard Facundo Campazzo is the kind of player that caused problems to USA’s defense in the group stages. Still, it is really hard to make a case against an American team that has survived the toughest of challenges against the likes of France and is riding on a streak of 50 straight wins in major FIBA events, so we have no option but to go with Team USA as our winning pick here.
Croatia vs. Serbia (9:15 p.m. ET)
Winning Pick: Serbia
Don’t look now, but Croatia finished Group B as the No. 1 seed, and that was above powerhouses like Spain, Lithuania, Argentina and even home darlings Brazil. After beating Spain in a thrilling 72-70 victory in their opening group fixture, the Croats fell by 9 points to Argentina, and then bounced back with a 4 point win over Brazil before splitting the last two games against Nigeria and Lithuania. Bojan Bogdanovic, Krunoslav Simon and Dario Saric—the owner of that viral game-saving block against Gasol in the upset win over Spain—have been the stars of this young Croatian team. And with nothing but their young pride to lose, Serbia should be very careful and avoid taking the Croats lightly. Speaking or Serbia, they had the worst record of the quarterfinals qualifying teams (at 2-3). Those two victories over Venezuela and China, two teams that finished 1-4 and 0-5 in the group stages, respectively, no wonder very few people are giving the Serbs a chance against the Croats, on paper. But then again, after losing by just one point to France and suffering a hearty 97-94 defeat to All-world favorites USA in the group games, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Milos Teodosic, Nikola Jokic and the Serbians deliver an upset in over France.