As per usual, the United States Men’s National Team will be the favorites to take home the gold medal in competition at this summer’s London Olympic Games.
One thing’s for certain, however, they will have to earn it given the draw they have been handed by the International Olympic Committee.
The U.S. will face off in pool play against Argentina, France and Tunisia during its first three contests. The Argentines have been highly competitive in past international competitions, and should play at a high-level in London led by a re-charged Manu Ginobili and a healthy Luis Scola.
Of the three opening games, the Americans should have the least problems with Tunisia, but a loss to either Argentina or France could easily slide them to second in pool play and an unenviable position against another favorite, Spain.
The Spanish, led by Pau and Marc Gasol, have been one of the best teams in international basketball in recent years, winning the 2011 European Championships, and the silver medal at the 2008 Sydney Olympic games. With a wealth of NBA talent on the roster– although they will be missing Ricky Rubio– Spain has the chance to run the table and matchup with the US in the medal round.
The Americans are best served to win out in pool play to avoid a matchup with Spain earlier than they would like during the course of the tournament.
Other teams like Germany, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Lithuania, and Greece are darkhorses and could make things interesting, but for now, it’s an American and Spanish tourney.