Now the matchups are set for the round of 16:
USA vs. Angola
The famous Barkley quote comes to mind. Snoozefest.
Serbia vs. Croatia
ten-fifteen years ago this would've meant bloodshed. Probably still pretty fraught. Serbia should win. Best players on each are probably the PGs, Ukic vs. Teodosic, but Serbia has better depth.
Turkey vs. France
This time Turkey will get revenge after losing this matchup in Euro '09. Probably easily. Turkey has been as dominant as any team, and their defense amazing. France is sputtering. Best player for either team is probably Ilyasova, and I say that as a Batum fan. Annoyingly, Hedo continues to step up when it counts, after shooting atrociously when it doesn't.
Spain vs. Greece
This should have been a semi-final game - it was the final 4 years ago. It's anyone's and should be amazing. Neither side has looked great, but Greece has been rumored to have been tanking. Gasol vs. Baby Shaq should be dubbed from the Japanese. Greece's big veteran guards will give Spain all kinds of trouble. Or should. Unlike last time they met, Greece plays uptempo now.
Slovenia vs. Australia
Patty vs. Dragic. Advantage Dragic. Slovenia might be the best team from old-Yugoslavia.
Russia vs. New Zealand
David Blatt, the Russian coach, has been a hot name in coaching circles for a while, but I really like the New Zealand coach, who has produced a team that's amazingly fun to watch, and which dispatched a France team that was actually trying to win today. This will be closer than it should be and NZ might even spring an upset. Our old friend Sergei Monya has been playing good defense for Russia, but Viktor has been injured for most of the tournament. Abercrombie from NZ is a real high-flyer, while Penney was leading the tournament in scoring last time I checked. (Scola might have passed him now.)
Lithuania vs. China
Ridiculously small population plays ridiculously huge. Advantage to the minnows, who have been great with young no-name players. Lithuania has easily the best fans in the tournament, and have shown that they can come up big in the fourth, coming from 17 down to beat Spain.
Brazil vs. Argentina:
ANOTHER game that should've been a semi-final. Brazil's coach was the Argentina coach when they beat team USA TWICE. Scola has been the player of the tournament [yes, I am aware of Kevin Durant] and I love Prigioni, but Brazil should win this, because of greater depth and athleticism, and finally great coaching. Huertas is another fave PG of mine, particularly after his performance against the US. Remember, Brazil were without Varejao when they lost to the US, but he's back now.
The US really lucked out that it will not have to face two out of Spain, Greece, Brazil and Argentina, two of whom have beaten better USA teams, and the other two of whom have just recently lost by a bucket to them.