So far, Team USA basketball is 2-0 in the 2012 Summer Olympics and looking to extend its undefeated streak against Nigeria.
That shouldn’t be too tall of a task, as the Americans are a much superior squad on paper.
Obviously, anything can happen on the court, but it would probably be considered one of the great upsets of all time if the D’Tigers came out ahead of Team USA in their Group A matchup.
Let’s take a closer look at when you can watch this one-sided affair, which players to keep an eye on and what chances Nigeria actually has of beating the United States.
Where: Basketball Arena, London, England
When: Thursday, August 2 at 5:15 p.m. ET
Watch: NBC Sports Network, NBC Basketball
Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com
Line: Not Yet Available
Rosters and Depth Chart
|Point Guard||Chris Paul||Deron Williams||Russell Westbrook|
|Shooting Guard||Kobe Bryant||Andre Iguodala||James Harden|
|Small Forward||Kevin Durant||Carmelo Anthony|
|Power Forward||LeBron James||Kevin Love|
|Center||Tyson Chandler||Anthony Davis|
|Point Guard||Tony Skinn||Ade Dagunduro|
|Shooting Guard||Chamberlain Oguchi||Derrick Obasohan||Richard Oruche|
|Small Forward||Al-Farouq Aminu||Koko Archibong|
|Power Forward||Alade Aminu||Ejike Ugboaja||Ekene Ibekwe|
|Center||Ike Diogu||Olumide Oyedeji|
Most Important Player to Watch: Kevin Durant
It’s becoming more and more clear that KD might be an even better international player than he is at the NBA level. The guy can simply score at will and nail triples from behind the shorter line.
Over the first two games, the OKC Thunder superstar has averaged a team-high 17.5 points, but he’s been no slouch in the rebounding or assists departments either. Durant has pulled down 19 boards (another team high) and dished seven dimes, proving he’s an unselfish player who just wants to win.
Even if coach Mike Krzyzewski limits his minutes against a major underdog like Nigeria, the NBA’s reigning three-time scoring champion will make his mark on this game.
Key Matchup: Al-Farouq Aminu vs. LeBron James
Al-Farouq Aminu is perhaps the best defender on the D’Tigers, and it’s likely that he’s going to be tasked with covering the best swingman that Team USA has on the floor.
Often times, that is going to be Kevin Durant or LeBron James. Fortunately for Aminu, he’s a solid matchup against the latter and even destroyed the NBA MVP in the low post during a skills camp when he was still at Wake Forest.
If Aminu can somehow find a way to consistently harness that talent, Nigeria might have a fighting chance to keep this game respectable.
X-Factor: Ike Diogu
You know Nigeria is hopeless when they are hoping that a former lottery bust plays the game of his life against the Americans.
Diogu—a former Arizona State standout—has played on seven teams during his seven-year NBA career and found almost no success. He’s got career averages of just 6.0 PPG and 3.1 RPG and just 18 starts out of 225 games played.
There is a reason this young man can’t stick with a team and often finds himself looking for a job—he’s just not any good.
However, Diogu does display flashes of talent and possesses decent size (6’9”, 250 pounds), both of which suggest he should be a better player. If he could somehow dig deep and find that skill, Nigeria might have a chance to keep this within 20.
Who Will Win?
Prediction: USA 97, Nigeria 60
The Americans are far too talented and deep to lose to a Nigerian team with barely any NBA experience. They will run away with this game early and have their bench players finish off the D’Tigers without a problem.