Olympic quarterfinals set, USA faces Argentina on Wednesday

RIO DE JANEIRO — The quarterfinals of the Men’s Olympic basketball tournament are set after the final day of pool play. And we’re looking at what should be the best tournament we’ve ever seen.

Hosts Brazil beat Nigeria in Monday’s first game to stay alive, but didn’t get the help they needed from rival Argentina, who lost to Spain in the day’s second game. Spain’s win eliminated Brazil, but there was still some sorting out to do in the day’s final game.

And appropriately, we ended up with a four-way tie after Croatia’s win over Lithuania. Argentina, Croatia, Lithuania and Spain all finished at 3-2.

Croatia won the tiebreaker with a 2-1 record against the other three teams and a win against the other team (Spain) that went 2-1.

Here’s how the Group B seeding sorts out…

1. Croatia (2-1 vs. the other three, beat Spain)
2. Spain (2-1)
3. Lithuania (1-2, beat Argentina)
4. Argentina (1-2)

And that sets up the following quarterfinal matchups for Wednesday…

Australia (A2) vs. Lithuania (B3) – 10 a.m. ET
Spain (B2) vs. France (A3) – 1:30 p.m. ET
USA (A1) vs. Argentina (B4) – 5:45 p.m. ET
Croatia (B1) vs. Serbia (A4) – 9:15 p.m. ET

The winners of USA-Argentina and Spain-France will meet in the semifinals on Friday. The winners of Australia-Lithuania and Croatia-Serbia will meet on the other half of the bracket.

It’s truly a wide-open tournament. All eight teams have shown the ability to beat anyone, as well as the ability to lose to anyone. No result in any of the next eight games would be a shock. And with the USA and Spain on the same side of the bracket, we’ll definitely have a different gold-medal-game matchup than we did in the last two Olympics.

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