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2012 London Olympics Men’s Basketball Quarterfinals: Brazil vs. Argentina
- Updated: August 6, 2012
Start time: 3:00 p.m. Eastern, Wednesday August 8.
Brazil (4-1, #2 Group B) vs.
Argentina (3-2, #3 Group A)
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Brazil showed some national pride and went all Herman Edwards (“You Play to Win The Game!“) on Spain, thrashing the Spanish with a 31-16 second half run and earning the No. 2 seed in Group B. The win means Brazil will be on the same side of the bracket as the United States in the semifinals, but at least they stepped up like men and won their way there. That alone should earn them a medal. Brazil also defeated Australia, Great Britain and China, and lost to Russia on a buzzer-beating three. Argentina was demolished in the second half by the U.S. on Monday, and also lost to France. The Argentines crushed Lithuania, Tunisia, and Nigeria in group play.
KEY PLAYERS- BRAZIL: Brazil has an impressive collection of talent, with Pacers guard Leandro Barbosa, Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao, Wizards center Nene, and Spurs center Tiago Splitter all on the roster. Argentina will have to find a way to slow down Barbosa, who has played extremely well and went off for 23 points against Spain. Point guard Marcelinho Huertas is leading all Olympians in assists per game (6.2).
KEY PLAYERS- ARGENTINA: Manu Ginobili is all but an international legend and seems to will Argentina to wins in these types of games. The 2004 Gold Medalists have reached at least the semifinal round in every major tournament since 2002. Luis Scola (20.2 ppg) leads the Argentines in scoring, and sharp-shooter Carlos Delfino and slasher Andres Nocioni will be tough covers.
KEY TO THE GAME: Brazil will need to capitalize on a major advantage inside. The combo of Splitter, Varejao and Nene will be tough for Argentina to defend. If Luis Scola and a score of backups can hold their own inside, the Argentines will have enough offensive punch to survive.
PREDICTION: Argentina 80, Brazil 78. Argentina’s A-game is just a little bit better than Brazil’s, and the team’s experience in big international games should help it pull through. Still, this is no cakewalk. Argentina is going to have to score from the perimeter and control the pace of the game if it wants to emerge victorious. Don’t discount the fact that this is a major South American rivalry, and neither team wants to lose to its neighbor.