The United States men’s basketball team has taken care of business so far and those who have them in futures for FIBA odds are pretty happy. Next up is Slovenia in the quarterfinals.
Slovenia Can Win Because…
The Slovenian team is carrying itself like a team that believes it can achieve well, and it is going about this tournament with an appropriately businesslike attitude. Slovenia easily handled Korea by 17 and whipped Mexico by 21, scoring 89 points in both instances. In its toughest preliminary round matchup, Slovenia handled the world-class Australians, 90-80, beating a nation that has produced a number of NBA role players and a few stars. Slovenia might have struggled with Angola in its final preliminary game, but that six-point win came only after three victories. The team was trying to pace itself in advance of the knockout stages. Slovenia didn’t score well in its round-of-16 game against the Dominican Republic, but the team showed it could play a very different style of game, getting into a defensive battle before getting out alive, 71-61. The ability to adjust and also win when everything hasn’t been going well marks Slovenia as a dangerous team, one that could either engage the United States in a shootout or possibly create a high-scoring game in the 90s.
The United States, as has been known for a while, has come to Spain for this World Cup of Basketball without some players it was counting on. Paul George got injured. Kevin Durant withdrew from the team to rest up in preparation for the NBA season. This team doesn’t have as many guaranteed sources of production, giving Slovenia a genuine chance to stay close in this game and steal it in the end.
USA Can Win Because…
The Americans are still the much better team in this game. They are coach by Mike Krzyzewski, one of the foremost tacticians and motivators in the sport, an all-time legend on the bench. This team will come to the court equipped with whatever solutions it might need to advance. The Americans have also shown the ability to handle difficult circumstances in the tournament. They coasted by Finland, New Zealand, and Ukraine, but they were in a nip-and-tuck battle with Turkey for most of the way before being able to pull away late. That burst in the final 10 minutes against the Turks showed that this team will not be intimidated, and that it won’t give ground when an opponent pushes back and shows more resistance than it is initially conditioned to expect.
What was especially encouraging about that win over Turkey is that the Americans got a lot of production from sources you wouldn’t expect to be so prominent. Kenneth Faried scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds. James Harden is a big scorer, but you probably would not have expected him to hand out seven assists. Stephen Curry is a great shooter, but he was great on defense with five steals. With these balanced contributions, the Americans will be tough to beat.
The Americans might struggle with Spain if the two teams meet in the final, but they don’t seem ready to lose to any other team – including Slovenia. The United States should win fairly easily in the end. We recommend you place your FIBA picks at trustworthy sportsbook like 5Dimes.
FIBA Pick: United States -24.5