Olympic basketball is officially drunk. Group B yesterday went completely off the rails with Spain falling to 0-2 after losing to host nation Brazil. For Spain, they remind me a little bit of our 2004 team, which was a disaster. They don’t have any spacing on the court with Ricky Rubio, who looks completely lost. Teams are just sagging off of Rubio daring him to shoot, which is completely disrupting their offense. For Rubio, this shouldn’t be that tough. Either you have the space to see the whole offense develop or he needs to take the running start and get into the lane. Once he’s in the lane he can finish with crafty layups or kick out to a shooter. If Rubio isn’t going to do that then you can’t play him and Spain needs to go with a lineup of Sergio Rodriguez, Llull, Rudy Fernandez, Pau and Mirotic – essentially surrounding Pau with four shooters so no one can play safety in the paint. There’s a legit chance Spain misses the knockout stage because of that loss. In the middle game, Lithuania struggled against Nigeria, but ultimately got the win setting themselves up where they need to be after two games. Then in the late game Croatia fell apart in the third quarter as Argentina used three-point shooting to blow open the game. Right now Argentina looks to be the class of this group, but something to watch is how these teams will play the game to avoid falling on Team USA’s side of the bracket.
Today we’re back with Group A and at least get one good game in France vs Serbia. Again we’ll breakdown each game with a pick at the end. Agree or disagree with them? Let me know @barstoolreags
France vs Serbia – 1:15 pm
Line: Serbia -3.5 (-165), France (+135), 158.5
Preview: The best game of the day comes between two teams who are sitting at 1-1 thanks to Australia. France had a slow start on Monday against a weak China team, but ultimately used a huge second quarter to right the ship. They only shot the three 13 times, but did shoot it at a 46% clip against China. The most important thing for France is getting Nicolas Batum going. He did have 10 rebounds against China, but he hasn’t scored or shot the ball well at all in the first two games. Batum is one of the best wing players in the tournament and can’t continue to not show up. For Serbia their big guys showed up against Australia with Radujica scoring 25 and Jokic putting in seven points. However, their wings and guards struggled staying in front of Delly and Patty Mills, most notably Milos Teodosic, who is one of their better players. I expect France to attack Teodosic with either De Colo or Parker as there’s nowhere to really hide him today. On the offensive side though, Serbia has been clicking and France hasn’t looked that interested in playing defense just yet this tournament. Serbia will try to spread the floor with one of the bigs in the middle and look to attack Tony Parker.
Pick: This line opened at Serbia -.5, so you can see where money came in early. I’m still torn on this game and will likely stay away from playing it as if Batum shows up, it’s hard to see France losing. Personally the over looks enticing as France hasn’t played much defense as of late and Serbia has struggled against guards – which is where France has plenty of talent. If I have to pick a side I’ll lean on France to win just for the value.
USA vs Australia – 6:00 pm
Line: USA -28, 187.5
Preview: It’s absolutely insane to think this game will be what decides the group, but here we are. The USA hasn’t necessarily looked great in the two wins, despite by winning by an average of over 50 points. They only outplayed Venezuela for two quarters and haven’t gotten a good start in either game. The thing with that first group though is if they hit a couple threes to start the game, it’s over right then. The starting five for the US lives by the three-point shot and then Boogie in the paint. When the second group comes in they like to attack the rim more, play tougher defense and shoot a little more midrange jumpers. This is a matchup that’s tough for Australia though. The Boomers like to go big, starting Aron Baynes and Andrew Bogut. I’m not sure how they’ll be able to use that lineup today as Baynes will have to guard Melo or Kevin Durant. That will be a massacre. This is the first team since Argentina in exhibition play that actually has some NBA talent for the US to go up against, which is another reason the slow starts could have been there. If Australia plays the two bigs at the same time, look for them to attack the post on the offensive side of the ball. FIBA officials have called it tight – especially against Cousins – and Australia can play through Bogut in the post.
Preview: I’m not going to bet against the USA. There’s too much of a mismatch for Baynes and Australia’s stretch player in Joe Ingles will go up against another stretch player in Durant or Melo too. I think we finally see Klay get going early and the US hitting some threes to break the game open. This can be the statement game the US finally gets after two sluggish first games.
China vs Venezuela – 9:30 pm
Line: Venezuela -7.5 (-335), China +270, 135.5
Preview: No one gives a shit about this game. These are the two worst teams in the competition and it will be an ugly game. Frankly, I’m surprised the line is this high as Venezuela can’t score and China can’t really dribble the ball. For China, they need Yi to have a big game and will likely be able to use its size against Venezuela. The key player for Venezuela here is John Cox, did you know he’s Kobe’s cousin? They hardly talked about that in the US game.
Pick: I’d prefer not to make one here, but I’m going to make a pick for every game of this tournament. I’ll take China +7.5 and gouge my eyes out watching this game.
Daily Fantasy Plays:
If you stacked Argentina or Lithuania yesterday you probably did fairly well. For today’s games there isn’t a non-USA stack to really target, so we’ll spread some wealth around here.
Milos Teodosic $4800 – If he’s going to continue to be this cheap you have to play him. He gets a ton of minutes despite being a liability defensively and when he’s in the game, he looks to attack. If he gets Tony Parker on him today, he should have another big day.
Yi $7500 – One of the more expensive plays, Yi is a great international player. In fantasy points he’s averaging 34 per game so far and has played over 30 minutes in both games. Against Venezuela he should be able to take advantage of his size.
Miroslav Raduljica $4500 – Another cheap Serbian play here for me. Rudujica is averaging 21.5 points per game including 18 points in 15 minutes against Venezuela in the first game. France does have Rudy Gobert, but after him the paint should be fairly easy to attack.