United States vs Japan
Thursday, September 5, 8:30 a.m ET
United States Should Have Lost
I watched the entirety of the U.S.’s overtime win over Turkey, and after yelling at the television about a dozen times through the game, and nearly having multiple heart attacks, the men representing the stars and bars came away with a win.
I was suspicious of the United States’ ability to win this tournament before it started and those fears have only been multiplied since the exhibition loss to Australia and after Tuesday’s game.
Turkey is a solid basketball team. They have three good to very good NBA players on their roster and a ton of other international talent. Looking back on it the 20-point spread was a joke and I feel really bad for those who were sharp enough to bet Turkey as a moneyline underdog. You were right, but it just didn’t fall your way.
It is almost without question to me now that someone else is going to win this tournament. However, that team is not the nation of Japan.
The Japanese have some players, however. America and its capital city are about to get a good look this upcoming NBA season at what Rui Hachimura can do on a basketball court, and Thursday might be a little taste of that.
Add in the shooting of Yuta Watanbe and it’s a nice, very young one-two punch for the Japanese.
Japan didn’t shoot the ball well against Turkey at all in their first game, but still scored 68 points on a very good Turkish squad. They followed that up with 76 points against the Czech Republic where they shot 55% from the floor.
While this team is a severe underdog against the United States, I don’t think that means they don’t be able to score on them.
The Sharp Pick
This U.S. team has shown that only a few of their starters can truly be difference makers defensively. However, if they are knocking down shots and pouring in 90 to 100 points on offense in a 40 minute game, I think the Japanese will have little problem getting to 75 or 80 points.
Japan has also been out-paced by both of their first two opponents, so if the U.S. is pouring in 50-plus first half points and this one gets out of hand, you can bet defense will take a step back on both ends in the second half.
If the U.S. can force Japan early to play its style of pace, while also getting out on the break on missed shots and turnovers, the U.S. will be in triple digits when this one is over, while Japan will likely have 75 or more.
My Pick: OVER 173 @ 5Dimes
Jordan’s FIBA Picks: 5-7