After slamming Tunisia in a 110-63 win, team USA faces a more challenging but still very beatable opponent in Nigeria. During pool play, Nigeria has defeated Tunisia and lost out to Lithuania. Remarkably, they were able to do something the US could not by never trailing in their game against Tunisia. While not a great shooting team, Nigeria is arguably stronger and longer than both France and Tunisia which could present some problems for the US.
Chris Collins, a U.S Workout coach and scout believes the US will have to be more aggressive rebounding as Nigeria “are one of the teams that just get it up on the boards and go get it.” With that in mind look to continue to see more of Anthony Davis. His 7’4 wingspan and shot blocking skills will be instrumental on the defensive end. If fans are lucky we will also get to see another dazzling display of alley oops for the Brow.
Another question coming into today will be if the starters will show more energy right away or if the second unit will once again be forced to play a more prominent role? Against Tunisia, the bench was required to reestablish defensive intensity and distribute the ball better. Look for the starters to try to set a standard during the first quarter- a feat they have yet to accomplish.
It is difficult to predict who will be the high scorer in today’s game. If we see another blowout, scoring may be more evenly distributed as seen against Tunisia. Coach K has said that he will “try to get minutes for everybody so we’re developing everybody as we go into the latter stages of pool play.” Unfortunately, this may mean audiences will have to wait to see a one-man-show from Lebron James or Kevin Durant. However, look for Durant to try to be more assertive as he continues to be commanded to do so by coaches and teammates alike.
Expect more sensational play in what very well could turn out to be team USA’s biggest rout during the Olympics. The US will have to handle Al-Farouq Aminu and his brother Alade but otherwise should have any easy road to victory.
Final Score: USA-102 Nigeria- 66
Line of the Night: Davis 19 PTS, 6 REB, 4 BLKS
Highlight of the Night Prediction: Westbrook Windmill Dunk