Olympics basketball has been a place where the United States tends to shine. Everyone remembers the “Dream Team”, the modern teams and a history of excellence that stretches all the way back to 1936. The men’s USA team started things off right with a gold medal then, and found a way to win gold in their first seven tries in the Olympics.

USA Has Dominated

In fact, had it not been for an extremely controversial 51-50 last-second loss to the Soviet Union in 1972, the U.S. may have ripped off nine gold medals in a row to open up their run in the Olympics. That wasn’t to be, but Team USA has still dominated throughout Olympics history, securing 14 of a possible 18 gold medals. In the four times the United States team didn’t win first place in the Olympics, they at least placed three times, winning silver twice and bronze once.

Team USA has returned to dominance again in recent years, rostering some of the best teams in the world and claiming two straight gold medals and five of the last six. Heading into Rio’s Olympics, there was little doubt the United States would once again run through all challengers and take again what they felt was rightfully theirs. To this point, they’ve done just that, ripping through China and Venezuela by 57 and 43-point margins.

Easy Path

Wednesday night offers up United States’ first true challenge of their run through Group A run, with a showdown with Australia ahead.

The odds suggest Team USA will win again, although the win margin should be down considerably in comparison to their first two contests. From there, they’ll be tasked with taking down Serbia and France ahead of the Olympics men’s basketball tournament.

It’s entirely probably that they will get there completely unscathed and without a loss. It’s not until the tournament that the men’s basketball team will be truly tested, and then there it is fair to wonder if there is a team that could actually threaten them for the gold medal.

Biggest Threat?

At first glance, no one feels like a realistic threat to USA getting it’s third consecutive gold medal in Olympic play. Spain appeared to be one of the deeper, more talented teams, but they’ve struggled to this point in Group B, losing both of their first two games in close contests. Seeing as Spain lost to Team USA in each of the last two Olympic finals, they were once again seen as the top threat to potentially give them a fight deep into the tournament.

With that reality slowly fading, it’s looking like Australia, Argentina and Lithuania are basketball bettors best chances. Now, it’s not very USA of us to be betting against our own country, but if someone sees a betting opportunity, we can see the upside in either picking against the United States straight up or at least picking one of their upcoming opponents to beat the spread.

The former probably is asking for trouble, though, as each of their remaining threats have some very key flaws and lack the star power USA provides each time out.

Of those three 2-0 squads, however, the team that stands out the most is Argentina.

Case For Argentina

Argentina, other than Spain, may host the most talented roster behind USA, with current or former NBA stars like Luis Scola, Manu Ginobili, Carlos Delfino and Andres Nocioni powering them up as a realistic threat.

Argentina has displayed fantastic team chemistry to this point, showing their ability to dominate in a 28-point drubbing of Nigeria, as well as their clutch ability in a fairly tight 90-82 win over a solid Croatia team.

Experience is a huge factor here, as Scola, Ginobili and Nocioni specifically have all been playing together for years and also know what it takes to go up against top shelf NBA talent. This is a team with Olympic gold on it’s resume, too, as this team won first place in the 2004 Olympics and has at least placed in the top three in each of the last three seasons.

Throw in an impressive Facundo Campazzo, and there is an argument for Argentina to make a deep run yet again in 2016.

This is USA’s Olympics

Ultimately, we’re still picking the United States to win gold. Kevin Durant has been insanely unstoppable and USA didn’t even need Kyrie Irving on the court to crush Venezuela in their last game. This team is too deep, too talented and too well coached to seriously bet against.

That being said, if you’re looking for a feisty team with the talent, experience and drive to pull off the impossible, take a good, hard look at Argentina.

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