USA vs. Spain: Why This Projected Matchup Will Decide the Gold Medal Winner
The United States and Spain are the two dominant forces in international basketball and one of these two teams will win the gold medal.
The United States opens its tournament with a difficult matchup against France at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 29. Spain will play its first game against China at 11:45 a.m. ET on the same day. All scores and schedules can be found at NBCOlympics.com.
The two teams are not in the same group, and would only meet in a knockout game.
A few other teams will field competitive squads. Tony Parker will ensure that France plays tough, while Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola and the Argentina will be solid. Brazil’s frontcourt trio of Anderson Varejao, Nene and Thiago Splitter will also do damage.
But Spain can counter Brazil with Serge Ibaka and the Gasol brothers, while also having excellent guard play. The United States may lack size, but they are the most athletic team in the tournament, and no other team even remotely comes close.
Team USA is the obvious favorite and showed that by beat beating Brazil, Argentina and Spain during exhibition games. France is the only noteworthy team it has yet to prove itself against, and that will change in the opening match.
The Americans will likely put their dominance on display and blow out the French. In the men’s basketball tournament, there is Team USA and then there is everyone else.
Still, the team's size is a serious concern. Tyson Chandler is the only center on the team, with Kevin Love and Anthony Davis as the only true power forwards.
Davis is occupying the “token college player” role and will likely only get meaningless minutes. This leaves Chandler as the only big man who plays decent post defense.
Spain’s frontcourt is ideally built to take advantage of the United States’ most glaring flaw.
Which team has the best chance to knock off the Americans?
Pau and Marc Gasol are both skilled offensive players who can score inside and out. When Chandler is in the game, they can use their midrange game to draw him out of the lane. When he is on the bench, they can go to the low block and take advantage of smaller players.
When the Americans are on offense, Chandler is not an offensive threat in the post. This will allow Serge Ibaka to focus his energy as a help defender, thereby maximizing his elite shot-blocking ability.
Neither Brazil nor Argentina’s frontcourts have this kind of size and skill, and perimeter players have no shot at outplaying the Americans.
The United States is dominant, but not invincible. The team’s only weakness is inside, and Spain is the only team in the tournament with the personnel to fully exploit them.
Both teams are better than the other contestants in the competition and one of these squads will walk away with the gold medal.
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