Team USA Basketball: Why Kevin Love Is Key to Victory over Brazil
Putting aside all of the Dream Team comparison talk for a few minutes at least, the 2012 version of the USA basketball team is in the midst of preparing for the quarterfinal match against Australia on Friday.
Barring the fellows from Down Under becoming a team full of Michael Jordans, the Red, White and Blue should cruise right on to the semis.
A trip to the semifinals would most likely mean a date with Brazil (possibly Argentina).
This article will take a look at three reasons why Kevin Love would be the key to victory in a potential semifinal matchup vs. the Brazilians.
Brazil Can Play More Than Just Soccer
Believe it or not, the Brazilians actually do bring a lot of talent to the hardwood and could present a formidable challenge for Team USA.
Led by their trio of NBA players in Leandro Barbosa, Tiago Splitter and Nene, Brazil posted a solid 4-1 record during the preliminary stage.
The four victories included two rather impressive wins over quarterfinal opponents Argentina and Spain.
The two main reasons Brazil could give the US some trouble are the strong post presence of Nene and Splitter, along with the scoring ability of Barbosa.
The big men could cause plenty of disruptions for the thin front line of Coach K's squad.
Sure, the star power is nowhere near that of Team USA, but that's not what will win you a gold medal.
Inexperience of Anthony Davis
As dominant as Davis's famous unibrow was at Kentucky this year, he still has minimal experience on the international level.
I'm not faulting him for it, after all the guy hasn't played a single NBA game, but it will be an interesting test to see how he handles the scoring and rebounding ability of Nene and Tiago Splitter.
Any inexperience that Davis shows is part of the reason why Kevin Love is such a big key to victory. One of the NBA's best rebounders, Love may need every one he can get against the Brazilians.
He has played at a high level thus far in the Olympics and that will need to continue in order for the United States to capture their second straight gold medal.
Inside Scoring Ability
There are a multitude of scoring options for the Stars and Stripes, that's not where the problem lies.
Counting on Lebron, Kobe and 'Melo to score some points is almost as much of a sure thing as Christmas falling on December 25 each year.
However, in a game against a quality opponent such as Brazil, putbacks from a guy like Love could be key.
His willingness to crash the boards and get those second-chance points could be very important for the team, especially if the outside shots aren't falling.