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With one game to go, here’s how the Olympic groups shake out

Aug 5, 2012, 1:54 AM EDT

James of the U.S. hugs teammate Durant after their game against Lithuania at their men's preliminary round Group A basketball match at the Basketball Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games Reuters

There is one more round of games to go on Monday, but you don’t really need to call the Psychic Hotline to see how the medal round is shaking out. It’s pretty clear, save for one big Spain vs. Brazil game on Monday.

Remember how this works: There are six teams in each group and the top four after Monday advance. One other key point — the tiebreaker is not head-to-head results but rather cumulative score. So, for example, if you win a game by 83 points you have a big advantage.

Here is what we know:

Group A:

The United States is going to win Group A no matter if Argentina messes up the USA’s perfect record on Monday or not. Technically Argentina can catch the USA by beating them by 110 points. Which is going to happen right around the time Sammy Hagar becomes cool again. All because point differential is the tiebreaker. Thanks to that 83-point win over Nigeria, the USA is +162 through four games. Argentina is +53.

But if the Argentinians can beat the USA they would finish second in Group A because they would tie France at 4-1 but would win on point differential (France is -8).

By far the most likely outcome is France is the two seed after they beat Nigeria while Argentina falls to the three seed with a loss to the USA.

Lithuania is pretty much locked into the four seed and will face rival Russia in the first round. The only way they can be out is a loss to Tunisia followed by Nigeria beating France. That will happen in one of the infinite parallel universes out there, but not in this one.

So barring a major upset will end USA, France, Argentina, and Lithuania.

Group B

Russia is in charge of its own destiny — all they need to do is beat Australia to get the top seed. However, if the Russians lose and Brazil beats Spain then Brazil will have the better point differential and win the group.

But most likely Russia beats the Aussies, which means Spain and Brazil are playing for second place in the group. Losing has its advantages here — you go to the other side of the bracket and get to avoid the USA until a gold medal game.

Australia is pretty much locked into the four seed. Assuming Russia beats the Aussies, host Great Brittan could catch Australia and take over the four seed — all it needs to do is beat China by about 80 points. Not happening. The British had their chance on Saturday but they lost to Australia and that ended any real shot.

So the first round of the medal round likely looks like this:

USA vs. Australia
Argentina vs. Spain/Brazil winner
France vs. Spain/Brazil loser
Russia vs. Lithuania

  1. saint1997 - Aug 5, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    Come on Aussie come on, come on!

  2. aec4 - Aug 5, 2012 at 6:09 AM

    They would only need to beat the us by 55 since that’ll bring us to +107 and them +108. Not going to happen

  3. jthammerstix - Aug 5, 2012 at 8:15 AM


  4. bossabomdia - Aug 5, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    On what lines or text did you based your following statement: “One other key point — the tiebreaker is not head-to-head results but rather cumulative score”?

    Because on the official olympic site there isn’t anything written about the tiebreaker criteria (btw it’s quite strange, isn’t it?), but according to the related wikipedia pages the tiebreaker criteria are head-to-head records, then the goal average of the games involving the tied teams etc., so the Russians are already first in the Group B, even if they lose against Australians, and Brazil gonna win against Spain on Monday.

  5. ihavenonickname - Aug 5, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Sammy Hager joke fail…
    parallel universe joke fail…

    why do I still read this awful blog?

    • raysfan1 - Aug 5, 2012 at 11:21 PM

      …to annoy people with whiny comments?

  6. brenenostler - Aug 5, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    I like Sammy Hagar….

  7. tharoostah - Aug 5, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    In what world is sammy Hagar not cool?

  8. rgf1982 - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    hagar sucks dlr for life

  9. mavajo - Aug 6, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    “Technically Argentina can catch the USA by beating them by 110 points. […] Thanks to that 83-point win over Nigeria, the USA is +162 through four games. Argentina is +53.”

    Math fail. It’s a moot point, but Argentina would only need to beat the US by 55 points. That would put the US at +107 and Argentina at +108.

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