This quarterfinal matchup of USA vs Spain in men’s Olympic basketball is what some people assumed would be the Championship game of the entire Olympics.
These two teams were given the two highest odds at winning the Olympic Gold and the highest odds to medal in these Olympics.
But with both of these teams failing to win their respective groups, one of these teams will not end up on the podium and will be falling far short of their expectations for these Olympic Games.
These two teams are familiar with each other, as they met for an exhibition match against one another prior to the Olympics starting on July 18th. The United States had lost two exhibition games prior to this matchup against Nigeria and Australia. However, they were able to bounce back with a solid win versus the Spaniards by a score of 83-76.
Even though the team ended up losing the top seed in their Group Stage round-robin to the French, they were able to find their way of basketball and execute in their next few games versus Iran and the Czech.
Despite the rough start in their exhibition play and their rough start in Olympic play, the United States team has proven that they can come back strong and prove they are still a top team in the world.
They have proven that when they had their bounce-back wins in the exhibitions versus Spain and Argentina, as well as bounce-back wins in their group stage versus Iran and Czech Slovakia, they are a resilient team that has not gotten enough credit.
Their past two demolition wins versus the Iranians and Czech have shown that they are starting to round into the beast of a team that they were supposed to be coming into the Olympics.
Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant have paved the way for the United States on the offensive end, along with smaller outbursts from Damian Lillard. But, on the defensive end, Jrue Holiday has been an absolutely stellar defender in the group stage, and his performance will be pivotal in this game versus Ricky Rubio of Spain.
Jrue Holiday is an invaluable lockdown defender on a team that is filled with hot rod scorers. He will be the biggest key of this game by far.
Spain is an absolutely dominant force on the international stage of basketball, but their one kryptonite has been the United States Men’s Basketball team. They have suffered losses to the United States in the past two Summer Olympics in Rio and London. Spain has never beaten the United States in an Olympic matchup, going 0-12, and have suffered three of those losses in the Gold Medal game.
Spain also failed to win their group after losing a game to the dominant force of Luka Doncic and the Slovenian National Team. In that game, their age really shined through and showed that this team might be in need of a younger infusion.
In Spain’s most recent game against Slovenia and Doncic, they started Ricky Rubio, aged 30, Rudy Fernandez, aged 36, Victor Claver, aged 32, Alberto Abalde, aged 25, and Marc Gasol aged 36.
And their next best players off the bench are 33-year-old Sergio Llull, Sergio Rodriguez at 35, and Pau Gasol at 41. This team needs youth, and they need it badly.
While they are one of the more consistent teams in these Olympics, scoring on average 83 points per game, they have not gone on scoring outbursts.
Without that, it may be hard to keep up with the fast and high-flying attacks of the Americans.
While it was disappointing that the United States failed to win their group in the group stage, they started to gel together late in that stage, and they have proven they can still dominate.
Spain, on the other hand, is coming off of a tough loss to Slovenia, and it may be hard seeing them bounce back in this game versus a stronger United States team on paper.
In the exhibition match between these two teams, Ricky Rubio scored 23 points for Spain, and they still came away from the game with a loss. I don’t see him matching this type of performance, especially with Jrue Holiday on him.
Take the United States on the spread in this one. Despite the large spread of 11.5, the United States has the stronger roster, and they have the potential to run away from the Spaniards, especially with the recent additions of the players in the Finals.
Final Pick: USA -11.5 (-115)