The 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup semifinals possess a wide-open feel after the United States and Serbia, the tournament favorites, were eliminated from championship contention in the quarterfinal round.
Argentina, Australia, France and Spain are the four teams still standing in pursuit of the World Cup title. Argentina and Spain each have captured one gold medal in the event, while Australia and France are looking to finish atop the podium for the first time.
Let's check out all of the important information for the tournament's penultimate round in China. That's followed by a preview and prediction for each of the semifinal games.
World Cup Semifinal Schedule and Odds
Friday, Sept. 13 at 4 a.m. ET: Spain (-3.5) vs. Australia
Friday, Sept. 13 at 8 a.m. ET: Argentina vs. France (-5.5)
Spain vs. Australia
Spain's terrific balance was on display once again in its quarterfinal win over Poland. La Roja had five different players reach double figures in scoring, led by 19 from Ricky Rubio. The Phoenix Suns point guard, who's averaging 15.3 points in the tourney, added nine assists and five rebounds Wednesday.
Rubio's defense will enter the spotlight Friday as he attempts to slow down Australian point guard Patty Mills, who ranks third in the tournament at 22.2 points per game. He's shooting 51.2 percent from the field, including 40.5 percent from three-point range, through six games.
The Boomers are likely going to need more production from their secondary contributors, a group featuring Joe Ingles of the Utah Jazz and Matthew Dellavedova of the Cleveland Cavaliers, to keep pace with the deep Spanish side. Veteran NBA center Andrew Bogut will also need to make an impact.
If Spain is getting the type of numbers they received from the Hernangomez brothers, Willy of the Charlotte Hornets and Juan of the Denver Nuggets, in the quarterfinals (32 combined points), it should assume favored status with the U.S. and Serbia getting knocked out.
So Australia, which has been on a roll since beating the Americans in a warm-up game, is going to need its best effort to date to reach the final.
Prediction: 83-78 Spain
Argentina vs. France
The United States was most vulnerable to a dominant post player. Sure enough, the Jazz's Rudy Gobert rose to the occasion with 21 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks in the quarterfinals. Add in 22 points from Orlando Magic point guard Evan Fournier and the French upset came to fruition.
France is likely to employ a similar game plan against Argentina, which also doesn't possess formidable post defense. Gabriel Deck and Luis Scola (both 6'8'') are each undersized when it comes to trying to match up with the 7'1'' Gobert.
So the Argentine squad will be forced to decide between a double team on Gobert, which is going to leave open shots on the perimeter for Fournier and Co., or letting the Jazz center control the game down low and doing their best to limit the French role players.
The good news for Argentina is that it can watch France's victory over the U.S. to get a good idea of what to expect in the semifinal. Whether they have the weapons to slow down Les Bleus is up for debate.
Argentina is going to need another strong showing from beyond the arc after knocking down 12 threes on 27 attempts (44.4 percent) in its upset of Serbia to keep its long-shot championship run alive.
Prediction: 86-82 France