At Sportsbook.com, the current odds for USA hoops to win the FIBA Championships is -200, meaning if you placed 20 dollars on the team you would profit $10 if they were to win in the coming weeks.
Second to USA is Spain at +300($10 bet/$30 profit). Spain recently lost to the USA in an exhibition 86-85. If the US run into another altercation with Spain, there is great question as to whether they will once again be able to overcome them.
There is no doubt that the US has a star studded cast. Kevin Durant is finally living up to his NBA billing, going seven of 11 for 25 points against Spain and scoring 14 points in their first round game against Croatia on Saturday.
It is arguable that Rajon Rondo's absence could cause a dent in USA's shield, but there is plenty of star power at the point guard position to make up for it.
Derrick Rose is likely to assume the reigns in hopes of guiding the US to their expectations.
USA suffers from size deficiencies with Tyson Chandler being the team's tallest player and the only true center on the team. Height will only be the beginning of our problem in a more physical rematch against Spain with five players listed at 6'9” or above, but there is much more to it than that.
THIS Team USA has had only mere months to prepare themselves for what they will have to face at FIBA. Amidst their sea of talent lies that inexperience.
With not one player from the 2008 team that accomplished gold making the trip to Turkey, USA is riddled with many players not accustomed to the international game. Several of them have already discovered that it is not the game they are used to playing at home.
Spain is not short of talent, which is more noticeable when you see first-round pick Ricky Rubio coming of the bench.
Rudy Fernandez and Marc Gasol(Jose Calderon out with injured leg) highlight the current NBA players on Spain. But with almost half of the roster playing together on FC Barcelona or Real Madrid's teams in Spain, their familiarity proves advantageous.
This familiarity, however, is nothing compared to the unity of the entire squad. With eight players returning from the Beijing team that finished second to the latest Dream Team of a US squad, Spain is much more in sync than the US could possibly be.
There is a much greater underlying reason here, however.
Amar'e Stoudemire was advised against playing in the FIBA Championship, guided by his new home in New York and his $100 million contract. The rest of the team that conquered in Beijing had their own reasons to not show up. Whether it was due to advisement, rest, or lack of motivation, USA is clearly not exhibiting its greatest warriors(regardless of whether I agree with it or not).
Besides a couple M.I.A.'s, Spain is throwing their best cards onto the table and are determined to once again prove that international basketball is no joke. They have shown a great deal of pride in all of their tournaments and it will not stop here.
The second match up with Spain is merely a hypothetical, but USA would have their hands full.
Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski brings a fighting college mentality, which for the densely young squad, might be exactly what they need to overcome their inexperience. They are boosted by their first victory against Spain while proving to themselves that they can get it done in close contests. Coach K has been a success since obtaining the position and has proven very serious when it comes to his intent on winning the championships at all costs.
USA has many things working against them, and although my heart believes in the team, my intellect sees a team of kids that may not fully realize the strength and pride-filled determination of their competition.