USA Olympic Basketball 2012: How Does Australia Stack Up Against Team USA?

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USA Olympic Basketball 2012: How Does Australia Stack Up Against Team USA?
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As we enter the knockout stage of men's Olympic basketball, we have to ask ourselves the same question we have before every other Team USA game: can (insert team here) really compete with the Americans? In Australia's case, the answer is probably not.

They have no NBA players of note and are going up against a team filled with the best players in the world. 

Their star so far has been San Antonio Spurs backup Patrick Mills. Mills has been fantastic throughout the Games, including a 39-point explosion against Great Britain, but he doesn't even get minutes on the Spurs.

How can a team whose best player doesn't even get NBA minutes compete with what is essentially an NBA All-Star team?

The answer is they won't. Team USA is going to win this game handily.

Australia is at a major disadvantage because of health. Star center Andrew Bogut isn't playing in the Olympics because of an injury.

He is their one player who could have given Team USA serious headaches. Their main weakness is size. That's why Spain and Brazil are projected to be their toughest matchups. 

But since Bogut isn't playing, the onus is going to fall on Aleks Maric, David Andersen and Joe Ingles. Andersen is the only player out of that group that has any NBA experience.

In fact, he and Mills are the only players on the entire Australian team who have ever played professional basketball at the highest level.

I think my point is clear: Team USA is going to win this game by between 20 and 40 points. So, why bother watching?

Because this will be a tuneup game for Team USA. They will get a much tougher test against either Brazil or Argentina in the semifinals, and then either a rematch with Spain or a tough game against upstart Russia in the gold-medal match.

We're going to see Coach K set his lineup. We'll see if he has any last tricks to pull out of the bag before getting to the two games that really matter.

Are we going to see any experimentation with LeBron James at center? Or perhaps a three-guard lineup with Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Kobe Bryant?

Anything Coach K wants to use later on, he'll try in today's game. That alone is reason enough to watch this projected blowout. 

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