China's men's basketball team is your typical middle school bully, roughing up its inferior foes in Asian basketball.
As dominant as the Chinese were at the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship —a nine-game romp that included eight victories by more than 10 points—it's hard to put much stock in a tournament where beating Jordan counts as a signature win.
Upon meeting the more mature competition at Olympics High (aka the 2012 London Games), how will the bullies fare?
Well, the early indicators aren't promising.
Ever since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China's last major international tournament with star center Yao Ming in the lineup, the Chinese have looked second tier.
At the 2010 FIBA World Championships, the Chinese went 1-5 en route to a 16th place finish. It was China's worst-ever showing at the FIBA World Championships.
China then went winless at a five-game London Olympics test event in July 2011. Though the Chinese were without some of their top players, 30-point losses to Serbia and Croatia (8th and 19th in the FIBA World rankings, respectively) look ugly in any context.
The burden is on the Chinese to prove they can flourish outside Asia, and that this roster, one without the legendary Yao at its core, can carry China forward as a basketball-playing nation.