Could Losing in Olympics Actually Pay Off?
The United States and Argentina are ready to rekindle one of the fiercest rivalries in international basketball. But no game will be scrutinized more than Monday’s Spain-Brazil contest, which precedes Team USA’s Group A finale.
That’s because Spain and Brazil both appear to have great incentive to lose in their final installment of men’s Olympic basketball pool play.
The winner of the Spain-Brazil encounter would finish second in Group B and advance to a likely quarterfinal matchup with Argentina, with Team USA looming in the semifinals.
The loser, by contrast, would fall into a quarterfinal matchup with France and likely see Russia in the semifinals if it can get past the French, thereby avoiding the Americans until the gold-medal game.
Obsessing over such permutations is a staple of top-level international basketball competitions. But the spotlight on Olympic tanking has never been brighter after the Badminton World Federation expelled eight female badminton players from the Summer Games last week for trying intentionally to lose matches to set up more favorable matchups.