Australia the Second Team to Beat in Rio
The Australian Men’s Basketball team came to the XXXI Olympiad with three NBA players in Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova and Andrew Bogut in tow; becoming the second team to beat in Rio. The Boomers gave Carmelo Anthony & Co. a scare, losing only by 10 points to the U.S. in the 88-98 loss but the Aussies are definitely in silver medal contention with their scrappy play and defensive prowess on the hardwood. The Aussies led the Americans by eight points in the first half and stayed in the game by one or two possessions in the second, “They can go pretty far,” Kevin Durant commented. “I’m pretty sure we’ll probably run into them again.” (ESPN)
But legendary collegiate and Olympic men’s basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski fears the Australian men could contend for gold against the Americans, calling them one of the best teams in the Olympics, adding that they could vie for the gold medal. (ESPN) According to ESPN Senior Writer Marc Stein the Australians have garnered attention for their mental and physical toughness on the court during the first Olympics in South America. The Aussies routed Tony Parker and the French National team in convincing fashion by a jaw-dropping 21 points on the first day of play and toppled Serbia by a 15-point margin; they played a great game against the USA but didn’t snap the 71-0-win streak.
So do I think Australia will win gold? No. The United States is poised and essentially built to capture the gold medal, but with that said the Australians have utilized their NBA players to build a formidable national team that should medal in Brazil. If Australia had a starting line-up of NBA players they may have had a better chance, but with only three league players to lead the team, it’s just not enough to dethrone the Americans.