Wednesday may as well be a regular season January night in the NBA with how much basketball hoops fans will be exposed to at the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
There are 12 games on tap, including two contests featuring the tournament powerhouses in the United States and Spain. Before we dig into the games to watch and some predictions on the schedule for Wednesday, let’s look at the Day 4 group results.
|United States||New Zealand||98-71|
Here is a glance at the entire Day 5 schedule with broadcast information and predictions.
|Matchup||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream||Predicted Winner|
|Philippines vs. Puerto Rico||7:30 a.m.||ESPN Deportes||WatchESPN||Philippines|
|Mexico vs. Australia||7:30 a.m.||ESPN3||WatchESPN||Australia|
|New Zealand vs. Ukraine||9 a.m.||ESPN3||WatchESPN||Ukraine|
|Egypt vs. Iran||9:30 a.m.||ESPN3||WatchESPN||Iran|
|Senegal vs. Argentina||11:30 a.m.||ESPN3||WatchESPN||Argentina|
|Turkey vs. Finland||11:30 a.m.||ESPN3||WatchESPN||Turkey|
|Slovenia vs. Angola||11:30 a.m.||ESPN3||WatchESPN||Slovenia|
|Serbia vs. Brazil||12 p.m.||ESPN3||WatchESPN||Brazil|
|Lithuania vs. South Korea||2 p.m.||ESPN3||WatchESPN||Lithuania|
|Greece vs. Croatia||2 p.m.||ESPN3||WatchESPN||Greece|
|United States vs. Dominican Republic||3:30 p.m.||ESPN 2||WatchESPN||United States|
|Spain vs. France||4 p.m.||ESPN3||WatchESPN||Spain|
Games to Watch
Spain vs. France
If there is a team in the World Cup other than the United States that is going to walk away with a title, it is likely Spain.
Spain destroyed Iran, Egypt and Brazil in its first three games and completely had its way down low against Anderson Varejao, Nene Hilario and Tiago Splitter in that third contest. In fact, the game was virtually over after the first quarter, thanks to a brilliant display from Pau Gasol versus that Brazilian front line.
Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press framed that game through an NBA perspective:
If LeBron is seeing what Pau is doing to Varejao, he might ask for a rewrite to delete him from the letter.— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) September 1, 2014
Between Gasol, his brother Marc and Serge Ibaka, nobody outside of the Americans is going to be able to match Spain down low, including France. Throw in Ricky Rubio setting the table on the outside with creative ball-handling skills and the ability to get out in transition and Rudy Fernandez drilling three-pointers, and this Spain team is loaded across the board.
In fact, Fernandez is benefiting the most from the extra defensive attention the big guys get and is hitting 70 percent of his three-pointers thus far.
France did find a way to beat Spain recently on its way to its first-ever Eurobasket, but that was with Tony Parker leading the way. With no Parker, it will turn to Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw and Joffrey Lauvergne Wednesday.
It is a solid trio that can beat many of the teams in the World Cup, but not Spain. Talent and a strong interior game will carry the day, as the Gasols and company tack on another victory in front of the home crowd.
Prediction: Spain 91, France 75
United States vs. Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic brings a solid team to the table with Francisco Garcia leading the way in the scoring department and Eulis Baez handling the rebounding down low, but this is simply an unfair matchup on paper. Yes, Dominican Republic outlasted Finland in a gritty defensive struggle that came down to the wire Tuesday, but the United States dismantled that same Finland squad 114-55.
The Americans are loaded with NBA superstars to the point that a 21-point victory over Turkey was cause for serious concern because they trailed early in the third quarter.
For all the discussion surrounding the guards entering this tournament with Derrick Rose and his health, James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry, this team has been dominating because of its big guys. Anthony Davis is leading the team in scoring at 19 a game, and Kenneth Faried is second at 14.3.
Faried is also grabbing 8.3 rebounds a game, while Davis has tallied 6.3. Were it not for Faried’s 22 and eight performance against Turkey in the comeback victory, things may have been a bit dicey for the United States down the stretch.
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski discussed Faried, via NBA.com:
He’s a different player than the other players we have…His specialty has been rebounding, energy, good defense and running. He did that every day and he did that in the scrimmage. Guys like playing with him.
He’s capable of being a great defensive player because he has the energy, the toughness, the foot speed, strength and quickness. Defense should be one of his strengths.
Faried, Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond should have an easy go of things against a Dominican Republic squad that simply cannot match up down low with a group of NBA stars. Having Garcia on the outside is one thing, but the Americans should grab plenty of rebounds and get out in transition throughout the game.
It will be far too much for an outmatched Dominican Republic squad.
Prediction: United States 99, Dominican Republic 77
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