Jordan’s FIBA Picks: 3-2
Argentina vs Nigeria
We got burned on the first day of group play by the Nigerians losing ATS and SU against Russia. However, now they are +7 underdogs against an Argentinian team that could be beatable, let alone beatable ATS.
Luis Scola is still leading this younger and lesser-known Argentina roster. They beat down South Korea on Saturday, but the Nigerians are much stiffer competition this time around. Plus, they’ll be ready to play after coming out slow in the first quarter against Russia, and falling apart in the fourth.
Even after their loss to the Russians, I’m still bullish on this Nigerian team. As I mentioned Saturday, they have six or seven current or former NBA players on their roster and unlike Russia, they shouldn’t be pushed around this time against the smaller Argentina team.
Al Farouq Aminu will have to continue to be a force on both ends of the court, but this team is also pretty balanced. They had six players in double-figure scoring against the Russians, so if they can keep scoring and limit the three-point shooting from Argentina, I like their chances of keeping this one within two or three possessions.
My Pick: Nigeria +7 @ 5Dimes
Spain vs Puerto Rico
With J.J. Barea not participating in the World Cup due to injury, the Puerto Ricans are left with a still very solid roster. However, now against the Spanish National team, the Puerto Ricans’ lack of size is going to be on display here.
While they have some nice players like Renaldo Balkman and David Huertas, I don’t think Huertas is going to go for 34 points against the Spaniards like he did against Iran.
However, it’s another part of that game that has be pretty bearish on the Puerto Rican offense.
Hamed Haddadi absolutely destroyed the Puerto Ricans in the first game of group play. He had 28 points, 16 rebounds, and 4 assists, so if he can do that against Puerto Rico, imagine what Marc Gasol and the two Hernangomez brothers are going to do on both ends of the court.
The Puerto Ricans have one player taller than 6’8 in Jorge Bryan Diaz, but if he gets into foul trouble, or is ineffective on the glass and on defense, it’s going to be a tough one to win.
However, with the spread being so sharp, I think fading the Puerto Rican offense is a better bet. At 67 points, the under is looking quite attractive as long as Spain doesn’t let off the throttle in the second half.
My Pick: Puerto Rico UNDER 67 @ 5Dimes