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Next Up - Argentina, 5:15 EDT

The U.S. plays Argentina Monday afternoon and after that, win or lose - and they'd have to lose by a lot - they'll enter the medal round as the top team from Group A, where they'll open with Australia.

The good news for the U.S. is that Lithuania likely punctured any illusions they had about inevitability: the U.S. has the best talent, the best coach and the best defense, but you still have to win it on the floor.

As we said before, the Argentinians have a good/bad reality: the good side of it is that they've got a core that's been together for over a decade; the bad is that all but two of them are over 30 (there may be one guy who's 29, but that's close enough). They're banking on experience and unity against youth and superior talent. It's a formula that has worked plenty of times in the NBA, although there's usually less of a difference in talent.

Not that we're knocking the Argentines. We love watching Manu Ginobli play, and he's the heart and soul of that team. They often have played a purer brand of basketball than their American opponents, and quite often they have managed to put a dual pressure on the Yanks with a highly accurate three point attack and drives from pick-and-roll plays or backdoors. They just do things the right way.

In the past though, they've seen American teams with less unity and less defensive desire than the U.S. brought pre-Krzyzewski.

The nicest thing about this team? No one really seems to care who gets the points or minutes. LeBron James is perfectly willing to subordinate his game to the rest of his team. Kobe Bryant doesn't mind focusing on defense. And if Carmelo Anthony only gets 10 minutes, he's fine.

It's been clear that this group is focused more on winning and a team ego than individual egos.

Now though, things start to get real: after this game, it's what we in the States call single elimination and what the rest of the world calls the knockout round.

The U.S., after the grueling NBA playoffs, has had the luxury of resting James and Kevin Durant and to a lesser extent Bryant, whose Lakers went out early and so is presumably a bit fresher than the others.

We'll soon see what this group is made of.