The first two days of the FIBA World Championships have passed without hindrance. Two games, two victories and a very confident USA squad heading into its match-up with Brazil today.
The Brazilian squad is expected to put up more of a fight than Team USA's first two opponents. They have a group of players who can keep pace with the speed and athleticism of the Americans.
The 2010 Brazilians are also a much improved squad from the 2006 club that finished 17th in the 2006 FIBA games. This current edition has four players with NBA experience: Leandro Barbosa of the Toronto Raptors but mostly known for his Phoenix Suns days, Anderson Vareajao of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Tiago Splitter of the San Antonio Spurs, and Alex Garcia.
Also on the team for Brazil is Marcelo Machado, a guard/ foward who's a bit of a legend in Brazil. And though he is 34-years-old, he will be one to watch.
The Brazilians are coming off a 2009 FIBA Americas Championships were they went undefeated to capture gold by defeating Puerto Rico.
Both teams are basically the same size from a positional stand point but the USA squad actually has the edge as they have four players considered 6'10" or taller. Brazil only has two.
This game will be played at a frantic pace because neither squad is particular sound in the half-court setting. Expect a lot of shots to be put up and a lot of points.
Look for the USA squad to come out on top by 10 to 12 points… I don’t see a huge blowout.
Derrick Rose is due for a breakout game, as is Chauncey Billups. I also expect Rudy Gay to continue his strong play against a physical Brazilian squad.