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Pau Gasol.

Four non-USA games to watch at the 2016 Rio Olympics

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Football News
24/7

The Olympic basketball competition starts on Saturday with 12 nations doing battle in their pursuit to claim the gold medal.

In reality, the United States are the odds-on favourites to win it all, and barring any catastrophic slip-ups should succeed in their goal without breaking too heavy a sweat.

However, there are still some enticing games to look forward to once the tournament tips off. Here are four matchups not involving the US to whet the appetite of basketball fans.

Spain vs Lithuania

A matchup between the two nations who pose the biggest threat to the United States' chances of winning gold in this competition, and a game that could decide who wins the group.

Spain has been a contender on the international basketball stage for some time having won three silver medals, including the London and Beijing games. The US have bad memories of Lithuania; they were one of three teams that defeated them in the woeful 2004 games; they haven't won a medal since Sydney 2000.

A number of NBA players will be on show as the two biggest teams in Group B collide. Pau Gasol of the San Antonio Spurs is the leader for Spain, he will be joined by Ricky Rubio, Nikola Mirotic, Jose Calderon, Sergio Rodriguez, Willy Hernangomez and Alex Abrines. Lithuania boasts Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas, Domantas Sabonis and Mindaugas Kuzminskas.

BASKETBALL-OLY-2016-RIO-TRAINING

Argentina vs Croatia

FIBA's fourth best team, Argentina, play their third game against the Croatians, who are rank outsiders heading into this tournament. However, the Europeans cannot be underestimated and showed some great team basketball during qualification.

Argentina is one of only four nations to claim gold and capitalised on America's poor showing in Athens to stand atop of the podium. They will be wanting to avoid any slip-ups in the group, but Croatia is a potential banana skin.

Dario Saric, who will finally be playing for the Philadelphia 76ers next season, will be looking to impress after winning MVP in the qualifying tournament. Bojan Bogdanovic will also line up alongside Mario Hezonja, who had a tough rookie season in Orlando. The South Americans call upon the experience of Manu Ginobili in his last international competition, while Luis Scola and Nicolas Brussino are also involved.

Argentina v United States - USA Basketball Showcase

Australia vs France

Two of the better teams in Group A begin the tournament on Saturday and will be hoping to send a message to the United States.

France is ranked sixth by FIBA and is chasing the first medal since their silver in Sidney while Australia has never reached the podium but have some very experienced players to call upon.

In his last Olympics, Tony Parker will be hoping to go out with a bang. Charlotte Hornets man Nicolas Batum, the Utah Jazz duo Rudy Gobert and Boris Diaw, and Joffrey Lauvergne make up the French NBA contingent. The Boomers can call upon Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles and Aron Baynes, although Ben Simmons is not available.

Australia v Pac-12 College All-Stars

Brazil vs Argentina

No matter what sport it is, these two nations do not like to lose to each other. The stakes could be huge as these South American powerhouses meet in the fourth round of games in Group B.

With it all to play for, the teams could be going head-to-head in a potential knockout classic. Neither nation will give an inch and it could prove to be an enthralling battle.

The Brazilians Leandro Barbosa, Anderson Varejao, Nene, Marcelinho Huertas and Cristiano Felicio will come up against a number of their NBA counterparts, but there will be no loved lost on the hardwood.

BASKETBALL-OLY-2016-RIO-TRAINING

Topics:
San Antonio Spurs
Southwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
Pau Gasol
Chicago Bulls
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
Manu Ginobili
Tony Parker

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