In a game with everything on the line, the USA team led by UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl overcame Argentina by a wide enough margin of victory to earn the medal round slot out of their bracket. Previously, Argentina had beaten Russia 72-66 and Russia had beaten USA 73-71. With a USA win, the three teams were placed into a 3-way tiebreaker. (Click here to search for all scores.)
Because of the 97-89 win, USA had a +6 point differential between the two games. Argentina had a -2 point differential and Russia stood third with a -4 differential.
In the Russia game, USA's big man Seth Hauben had to leave during the second half due to a finger in the eye. The loss of his interior presence had allowed Russia to climb back into the game and win on a buzzer beater shot. Had USA beaten Russia, today's game would still have been for everything, as a loss to Argentina would have send the South American squad to the medal round, but the margin of victory would no longer have mattered.
The game to pay attention to is Canada / Israel; both squads are undefeated in the A bracket and the winner will likely be the stiffest competition that USA may face on their way to a possible gold medal.
And if Pearl wins, perhaps he can sport a gold-medalled chain the next time he decides to go topless at a Lady Vols game...